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Review (2/2)

Standard features include a power sliding tinted glass moonroof with one-touch open/close, tilt feature and sliding sunshade, automatic on/off High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional Xenon headlights with windshield wiper interlock, dual exhaust with polished tips, power-folding heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, rain-sensing variable intermittent front windshield wipers and courtesy lamps built into the outside door handles. An Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights is available as part of the Technology Package.

The Infiniti M Hybrid is available in seven exterior colors: Malbec Black, Liquid Platinum, Platinum Graphite, Storm Front Grey, Black Obsidian, Moonlight White and Harbour Blue.

The M35h Interior

Inside, the Infiniti M instrument panel features hybrid-unique instrument meters, meter display and IT screen displays, providing battery and other essential system information. It allows the driver to view hybrid system and available navigation system information simultaneously. Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, gear-like rings on the instrument cluster meters and Infiniti analog clock complete the elegant design.

The interior also offers standard leather-appointed, heated 10-way power driver and front passenger's seats including 2-way power lumbar support, and dual occupant memory system for the driver's seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors.

An entry/exit assist system for the driver's seat and steering wheel, heated front seats, sequential welcome lighting illuminated entry system and dual-zone automatic temperature also contribute to the M's outstanding level of standard luxury appointments. Standard technology equipment includes Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Illuminated Push Button Ignition, HomeLink Universal Transceiver and RearView Monitor.

Other interior highlights include a large center console, power windows with one-touch up/down and auto-reverse feature, power door locks with automatic locking feature, power trunk release, retained accessory power for windows and moonroof, standard XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately) and 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD, Radio Data System (RDS), USB connection port for iPod interface and other compatible devices, steering wheel audio controls and speed-sensitive volume control.

The M35h also features a standard Active Noise Control system, which generates "canceling" sound from four door speakers (and subwoofer for models equipped with a Bose sound system) to reduce unpleasant engine harmonics. The Premium Package adds an Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with 8.0-inch WVGA color touch-screen display, XM NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information, XM NavWeather with Real-Time Weather and 3-day forecast (XM subscription required, sold separately), Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide, and 9.3GB Music Box hard drive.

The Premium Package also includes a Bose 2-channel 10-speaker premium audio system, heated steering wheel and climate-controlled front seats.

The Deluxe Touring Package adds such notable features as the Bose Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 16 speakers (including two personal speakers mounted in the shoulders of each front seat), power rear sunshade, unique quilted seat pattern with contrasting piping and additional seat bolstering, suede-like headliner and a premium stitched meter hood.

The Deluxe Touring Package also features semi-aniline leather and specially developed soft touch material for the armrests, door inserts, center console and kneepads. The Deluxe Touring Package's genuine White Ash wood trim has been enhanced with real silver powder (Japanese Ash wood trim is offered on M35h models without the Deluxe Touring Package).

Infiniti M35 Hybrid Features Direct Response Hybrid System

At the heart of the Infiniti M35h is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout based around an innovative drivetrain featuring a one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid system. The technology, which was previewed in the Infiniti Essence concept, endows the M35h with linear power delivery, stirring acceleration and the responsive rear-drive handling of a true Infiniti. The system is called the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system.

Two new technologies are fundamental to the M35h's broad-ranging abilities. One is the Lithium-ion battery pack - quick to alternate between charging/discharging and, size for size, twice as powerful as conventional Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries. The second is the direct manner in which the power is delivered to the rear wheels through the 7-speed automatic transmission. This is central to providing the performance feel expected from a true luxury sports sedan.

The first of the two clutches is a dry clutch installed between the 3.5-liter V6 and the electric motor. It facilitates full decoupling of the V6 when the car is in electric drive and power regeneration modes. Decoupling the V6 reduces mechanical losses and boosts efficiency of the electric motor.

The electric motor is rated at 67 hp and peak torque of 199 lb-ft. It acts as either a propulsion unit, alone or in tandem with the V6, or as a power generator. As well as charging the battery in the normal way, the motor recovers energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking.

The 302 horsepower gasoline engine is Infiniti's proven 3.5-liter V6. It was chosen for torque characteristics (258 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm) that perfectly complement the electric motor's output.

The electric motor's high torque from zero rpm provides strong performance from a standing start and contributes to the sporting feel. As well as its fast charge/discharge response and 1.4 kWh capacity, the Lithium-ion battery pack is laminated to enhance the cooling performance. Temperature stability is further improved by the use of manganese positive electrodes, helping provide exceptional battery reliability.

Extra weight, the bane of many hybrids, is kept in check in the M35h by the lightweight batteries and features such as the single electric motor, no torque converter and innovative steering and braking systems, in addition to the strict weight-savings already integrated in the Infiniti M design (including extensive use of aluminum components). It all helps keep the curb weight of the M35h at 4,129 pounds. The technology comes together to make a high performance hybrid that's electrically powered for more of the time, and at higher speeds, than competitors' hybrids.

Infiniti M35h: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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