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Infiniti M35h: Test Drive Review

Date: 02 December 2011   |   Author:

Infiniti M35h
Category: Executive
P11D price: £46,630
Key rival: BMW?5-series

The executive class M35h is an early example of the direction many premium brands are looking to go in terms of using eco, in this case, hybrid, technology to enhance performance while still reaping environmental benefits.

Mated to the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, it offers a 0-62mph time of just 5.5secs, but still has a combined consumption figure that scrapes over 40mpg. However, the M35h falls agonisingly short of the 160g/km capital allowance write-down boundary many fleets use as a CO2 limit, offering an official 162g/km.

The M35h sibling to the petrol and diesel versions of the saloon is an interesting paradox because the hybrid system itself impresses greatly, while the way it interacts with the car doesn't. For example, the wooden feel to the brake pedal is a result of the system's need to regenerate energy for the hybrid battery under deceleration, but has an unpleasant and non-progressive solid feel, while the power delivery is disjointed in the way it switches between battery and petrol operation. The amount of power also causes the rather brutal traction control system to kick in surprisingly early under acceleration on damp roads.

But the flip side is, in isolation, this is the most impressive hybrid system we've tried. The car can be driven harder and faster in full hybrid mode than anything yet produced, with frequent cruising at 40-50mph possible.

Unfortunately, an establishing brand won't match the established premium competition, which works against Infiniti, with a 29.7% residual value against a predicted 33.1% for the BMW 5-series Active Hybrid launching next year. The BMW will also be more efficient, at an official 44.1mpg versus the Infiniti's 40.4mpg. That puts the BMW rival, which is admittedly 25hp less powerful, at 98.9p per mile, according to KwikCarcost, and the M35h at 104.0ppm.

Infiniti M35h GT?Premium
P11D price£46,630
Model price range£38,580-£47,700
Residual value29.7%
Service, Maintenance
and Repair
Vehicle Excise Duty£495
National Insurance£4440
Cost per mile104.0p
Fuel consumption40.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 162g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% per month£171/£342
Service interval9000mls
Insurance (1-50)group 45
Warranty3yrs/60,000 mls
Boot space350 litres
Engine size/power3498cc/306hp
Top speed/0-62mph155mph/5.5secs
On sale August 2011
VerdictImpressive and
frustrating technology,
and not cheap


Impressive and frustrating technology, and not cheap