Being the fastest Hybrid vehicle is a bold claim. Yes, the upcoming Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 hyper cars also have hybrid drivetrains and near 1,000 combined horsepower? They also cost more than a million dollars. In the meantime, Infiniti M35h sedan rules over all hybrids at the drag strip. Can it beat all competition in other areas as well? Lets look at the details.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2013 Infiniti M35h||$54,200||$66,245||360/457|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||27/32 Combined 29||Combined 28.3|
The 2013 Infiniti M35h feels like a Infiniti the moment you get in. What does it mean? There is a unique sense of luxurious style with a fair dose of sportiness mixed in. It’s not better than other high end brands from Japan, Germany, or United States – but it is definitively Infiniti. The interior is also surprisingly roomy.
The M35h Hybrid looks nearly identical to the non-electrified M37 and M56 sedans. It differentiates itself by unique wheels and a couple of “Hybrid” badges. It has an imposing appearance with a tall hood line, wide stance, and large 18 inch wheels. It has voluptuously sculpted front venders and a unique silhouette. Its styling is not for everybody, and I wish that it looked lower to the ground and a little more aggressive. It may look bulky and a bit ordinary in this white color, but it still stands out from the crowd.
The interior is very roomy, extremely comfortable, and is very well executed. All materials are of high quality and are fitted together with fine precision. The driver’s area is one of the best. The main gauges are large and crystal clear. The Hybrid maintains the large tachometer, but adds a little “power/charge” meter which is a little confusing. I think Lexus does a better job with its gauges to let the driver know exactly what’s going on with the hybrid drive.
The Bose tweeters built into the front seats near the occupant’s ears are a unique noteworthy feature and are also conversation starters. This Hybrid’s trunk is rather small, but Infiniti provide you with a special graphic mounted inside the trunk instructing you precisely how to rotate and arrange the golf bags and fit four of them in. I did not have four golf bags to try game of tetris, but Infiniti is obviously concerned about the golfing population.
Infiniti focused on all out performance when tuning this Hybrid system, and they just happened to get a respectable 29 MPG combined rating in the process. It uses a 3.5 liter V6 engine that works in conjunction with a beefy electric motor for a combined 360 horsepower. But the more impressive number is the combined torque of 457 lb-ft (199 of those provided by electricity). Yes, you don’t get the full 457 pounds of twist at all times as it depends on battery charge and V6 rpms. When you do get it – you can feel it! Acceleration is very strong and the car seemingly wants to keep rocketing way past legal speed limit.
This car will brake the rear wheels loose under hard acceleration and cause the mean traction control to interfere. You push the traction-off button, but you cannot fully defeat the system. This Infiniti also won’t let you rev the engine past 3,000 rpm while in park, and it also won’t let torque load the launch by using both brake and accelerator at the same time. This car is way too smart for its own good. However, this car is not targeting young hooligans. It’s more for the calm and measured older demographic, who still like the power under their right foot.
The hybrid system on this car is not as refined as the one on the Lexus GS. Lexus had more time to perfect their system which includes the regenerative brakes. M35h’s brakes cannot be modulated very well, they have an on/off character. Nonetheless, Infiniti was able to best its rival on acceleration performance.
This large and heavy sedan has sporty aspirations, but you can still feel the heft during spirited cornering. The M35h does lean a bit, but it’s very controllable and it’s able to put down the power very effectively exiting a turn. It strikes a good balance between a comfy luxurious ride and a competent handler. Infiniti combines both electric and hydraulic steering components to get create an efficient and direct steering feel. They succeeded with this system. The steering is direct and provides very good feedback, although it can feel a little over-boosted in some instances. It fits the sporty character that Infiniti is going for with this Hybrid.
|Starting Retail Price||City/Hwy MPG||HP / Lb-Ft||Seconds 0-60 mph|
|2013 Infiniti M35h||$55,545||27/32||360/457||5.2|
|2013 BMW ActiveHybrid5||$61,100||23/30||335/330||5.7|
|2013 Lexus GS 450h||$59,845||29/34||338/254||5.6|
|2013 Mercedes-Benz E400 Hybrid||$55,800||24/30||329/||TBD|
|2013 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid||$96,150||24/30||380/428||5.7|
The Infiniti M35h is the rocket ship of the group. It has the highest combined torque figure and has the quickest acceleration time to prove it. At a mile above sea level this Hybrid is even a hair faster than its M56 V8 powered relative. The Infiniti also has a reasonable starting price for the segment.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2013 Infiniti M35h a Buy It!
Infiniti’s first attempt at a Hybrid car is good one. Although the powertrain and the brakes are not quiet as polished as on the Lexus GS Hybrid, the M35h put a smile on my face every time I drove it. It wants to go fast, and I was still able to average 28.3 MPG. The $66,245 price for this fully loaded test car is a little steep, yet it’s still undercuts the competition. I am willing to overlook the slightly rough around the edges drivetrain and give it a Buy It rating simply because this car wants to have fun.
Please enjoy this fun TFLcar video where 2013 Infiniti M35h goes up against the 2013 Lexus GS 450h:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or scouring the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.