Infiniti must be really excited about the new M, as they spent a lot of money developing an admittedly pretty cool virtual reveal, and now they’ve dropped the development dollars on creating the first-ever Infiniti hybrid car to spice up their mid-sized BMW 5-series fighter. The regular M goes on sale in spring of 2010, and this hybrid version should come out about a year later. Under the hood you can expect to find a version of that ubiquitous Nissan VQ 6-cylinder, coupled to a parallel hybrid system and putting power down through the rear wheels. The hybrid drive is an in-house design, so apparently they wiped the slate clean after borrowing Toyota technology for the Altima hybrid, and consists of a single electric motor paired with a twin clutch system (no, not a DSG unfortunately, the clutches simply mesh the gasoline and electric motors to the transmission). However, the new arrangement is allegedly smoother than the sometimes jerky gas-to-electric transition in other hybrids.
Also, unlike Lexus’ “electric supercharger” implementation of their hybrid system, where the motor is really just an efficient way to increase power, the Infiniti M hybrid should be able to move on its electric motor alone. Finally, Infiniti is utilizing some high-tech lithium-ion batteries employing a “lamination” technology that apparently enhances cooling and temperature stability … you know, so it doesn’t burst into flames or anything, as apparently li-ion batteries are wont to do. It’s maybe not as glamorous as the news of the FT-86 concept, but if the price, performance, and MPG numbers are good, this could be an interesting competitor to diesel BMWs and those aforementioned Lexus hybrids.