L.A. Auto Show: Infiniti joins the hybrid parade with the 2012 M Hybrid
Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan Motors Co., unveiled the 2012 M Hybrid at the L.A. Auto Show on Thursday, an environmentally friendly version of its M35 V-6-powered luxury sedan.
It doesn't scream "hybrid car." It has none of the eco-toad visual appeal of the Prius, or hip cuteness of other hybrid offerings. In fact, if you toodled around the freeways of Los Angeles in this vehicle, no one but your wallet would know the difference.
The M Hybrid is Infiniti's answer to consumers torn between "fuel economy and performance," said Ben Poore, vice president of Infiniti's North America unit.
With 360 horsepower and 30-miles-per-gallon highway fuel economy, the M Hybrid is a full-sized sedan and the brand's first attempt at an in-house hybrid. The car can travel more than a mile and attain speeds up to 62 miles per hour on electric power alone. The electric motor kicks in up to 50% of driving time.
The lithium-ion battery goes below the trunk's floorboard, but considering that Infiniti's theme seems to be "no compromise" between luxury and fuel economy, there is no compromise in trunk space. "There's enough room in there for four golf bags," spokesman Kyle Bazemore said. "I don't know how else to put it."
The M Hybrid will roll into dealerships next spring. Bazemore declined to disclose prices, but added that "customers will pay a premium for performance. The price will reflect that."
-- Shan Li
Photo: The 2012 M Hybrid debuts at the L.A. Auto Show. Credit: Shan Li / Los Angeles Times