2012 Infiniti M Hybrid
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Jan 3, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright When we receive a vehicle for review, we also get a Monroney (named after Almer Stillwell ‘Mike’ Monroney, US Senator from Oklahoma who sponsored the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958) to go with it. A Monroney is that piece of paper found taped to the inside of a car for sale displaying information about the car. It is very standardized, but the one that came with the Infiniti M had an extra line that usually isn’t there: “V8 Power with 4 Cylinder Fuel Economy” it read. And that was only the start. The Infiniti M looks as if it has just rolled out of the wind tunnel, with the headlights stretched way back up on the hood. The front has that aggressive-yet-gracious look to it, almost begging for you to see if it’s naughty or nice. The roofline comes down and joins the trunk in a Porsche Panamera sort of way. The Infiniti M’s trunk is a little bulkier, but then again it still has room for plenty of stuff even though the batteries are placed there as well. And it’s because of the batteries that this sedan can be naughty and nice at the same time.
Start the vehicle and you at once notice that this is a hybrid—no noise other than the whir of the air conditioning and maybe the radio. Pulling out from a parking spot and driving down the street doesn’t necessarily switch the engine on either, the M can go far without the combustion motor coming on. Getting on the 210 Freeway, the combustion chambers definitely kick in, and now this eco-friendly car turns into a roaring beast. Passengers are slapped back into their seats, anything laying on the floor mats disappears under the seats, and not too long after letting the back of the accelerator chew on the carpet you will have to let off the gas. Still on the on-ramp, probably already passing traffic, the car goes back into a nice, friendly mode. The Infiniti M changes smoothly in and out of electric mode. Even at highway speeds, I notice that the combustion engine has turned off and we are silently cruising. I rest assured that if I need it, the beast can be released whenever I please. Instead, I relax in the oasis Infiniti has created inside of the M hybrid. Comfortable seats, absolutely, but there is so much more to this luxurious drive. The entire interior oozes of comfort and convenience; the interface to the radio and other systems are easy to understand and very easy to navigate, and there are more options to make you feel relaxed than there are in most other modes of transport. The Infiniti M hybrid is one of the most technologically advanced cars we have tested. There are only a few cars on the street that can almost drive themselves, and the Infiniti M hybrid, loaded with options, is one of them.
When I say drive itself, I don’t mean that in a Google-Car way, but more in a normal-life kind of way. Sure, it won’t navigate city streets without your input, but it will keep you out of trouble in a couple of ways. With all the systems turned on, it will warn you about drifting out of your lane or approaching a car ahead too fast. And, if you still don’t heed the warnings, it will take over for you. Approaching a car too fast will make the throttle push up towards your foot and the brake will automatically engage. If you drift out of your lane, it will push you back in. All this takes a little getting used to, but you can always override the safety systems and, as sometimes might be necessary in LA traffic, push on through traffic. Of course, if you are planning on driving a little harshly, I would suggest turning the system off, and instead just leaving the audio-warnings activated. Something found in more cars is the ability for the cruise control to use an on-board radar and adjust the speed to traffic ahead. This, of course, is available on the Infiniti M hybrid as well. It will even handle stop-and-go traffic as long as the stop isn’t longer than about two seconds. So, with more than enough power, and the great fuel economy of a small compact (27 miles per gallon city and 32 highway) the Infiniti definitely is a fun, yet sensible car. You can have all the fun you want, and still not break the bank in gas money. The level of comfort and convenience that the M offers is also hard to find in a car with this gas mileage. The Infiniti seems to be able to do it all. For more information about Infiniti products, go to infinitiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid Price: $53,700(base) $65,395(as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 27 mpg (city) 32 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.5-liter V6 with Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid® utilizing a lithium-ion battery and 50 kW electric motor Horsepower: 360 hp @ 6,500 rpm (Hybrid System Net Power) Torque: Peak engine 258 lb-ft and peak electric motor 199 lb-ft Transmission type: Electronically controlled 7-speed automatic with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Steering (type): Hybrid-Electric Power Steering (H-EPS). Vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering Suspension (front and rear): Front: Independent, double-wishbone with coil springs over double piston shock absorbers, stabilizer and anti-roll bar. Rear: Independent, multi-link with coil springs over double piston shock absorbers, stabilizer and anti-roll bar. Brakes and tires: Regenerative Braking System 12.6 x 1.1-inch ventilated discs/12.1 x 0.6-inch ventilated discs; 4-wheel, 4-channel ABS 245/50R18 V-rated all-season performance tires Dimensions: Length: 194.7 in Width: 72.6 in Height: 59.1 in Curb weight: 4,129 lbs