Mention the phrase “hybrid car” to most enthusiasts, and their eyes glaze over before they nod off to sleep. By definition, hybrid cars contain two propulsion systems, which makes them heavy and overly complex. Worse, most are built simply to get you from point “A” to point “B” using as little fuel as possible, so typical hybrids are slow, lumbering beasts with the acceleration of moped and the handling of an economy car, Carrying a load of bricks on the hood.
Infiniti wants to dispel that myth, so to commemorate the European launch of its M35h hybrid sedan, the automaker brought the car to Britain’s Santa Pod Raceway. There, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records certified the M35h as the “world’s fastest accelerating full hybrid.”
How fast was it? Fast enough to run from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, on its way to an average quarter mile time of 13.9 seconds, at just over 100 miles per hour. That’s not too shabby, especially when you consider that the M35h gets rated at 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway; in fact, the M35h is quicker than Infiniti’s other six-cylinder M Series sedan, the 3.7-liter M37.
The M35h uses a high-torque electric motor in conjunction with its V-6 engine, so the combined power output is 350 horsepower. Electric motors make maximum torque at zero RPM, while internal combustion engines do not. Marrying the two, if done properly, ensures the best possible performance across all engine speeds. Even though hybrids are heavier than their gasoline-only counterparts, batteries and controller units can be positioned to offset the weight of the engine and transmission.
No one has built a no-compromise, all out hybrid sports car to date, but the Infiniti M35h is a step in the right direction. In fact, the Infiniti may be the first hybrid I’m looking forward to driving, because I’m pretty sure I can improve on that 13.9 time.