Infiniti’s latest new model for Europe, the M35h, has sped into the record books as the world’s fastest accelerating full hybrid. Driven by journalist Tim Pollard and overseen by Guinness World Records®, the 364PS petrol/electric sedan covered the standing 400m (quarter mile) in 13.9031 seconds (average of all runs).
The test car, a standard production model, set the record on Tuesday 23 August 2011 at the UK’s Santa Pod Raceway, home of the FIA European Drag Racing Championships. From a standing start, the M35h harnessed its combination of electric motor torque from 0rpm and V6 power at high revs to impressive effect, the car passing the computerised timing equipment at the end of each run at speeds in excess of 160km/h (100mph).
In the hierarchy of fast cars, the time puts it on a par with performance heroes like the 1982 Lamborghini Countach1 and within a few tenths of some Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins.
The result is all the more remarkable because the Infiniti M35h emits just 162g/km of CO2 and, on the combined cycle, sips fuel at the rate of 7.0 litres of fuel per 100km (40.4mpg). Now on sale across Europe, the M35h is highly competitively priced at a margin over the equivalent diesel M30d of just €1500 (depending on market).
“The Infiniti M35h proves that hybrids can be fast as well as frugal,” said Tim Pollard, associate editor of the UK's CAR Magazine. “At Santa Pod you could feel the instant torque of the electric motor away from standstill – the car just leapt off the line. I did try changing gear manually, but it was fastest left in automatic. That was when we achieved the fastest single run of 13.8960 seconds.”
“But what impressed most was the M's duality of purpose: it might be quick, but it's also comfy and very easy to drive. It felt like it could do these runs all week long.”
The record run, in the presence of an adjudicator from Guinness World Records®, was the idea of Infiniti’s Communications department to correspond with the start of sales of the innovative new hybrid. They had no trouble enticing Tim into the driving seat. The point behind the exercise which can be watched at www.carmagazine.co.uk
was to show that the M35h’s 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 5.5 seconds – itself the fastest time listed for a full hybrid – was just one facet of the car’s overall Inspired Performance. The standing 400m (quarter mile), an iconic acceleration test the world over, is a more demanding challenge than 0-100km/h and offers a more complete picture of a car’s acceleration.
The M35h’s result in the 13-second area puts the latest Infiniti among the performance aristocracy – a fact which may surprise when it is considered that the car is a near 5m-long four-door five-seater with as much of an emphasis on luxury, comfort and equipment as driving pleasure.
With its famous curves – themselves the focus of Infiniti’s new television campaign – providing the M’s signature muscular stance, the M35h is powered by a potent and high-revving petrol V6 engine complemented by a 68PS (50kW) electric motor, one of the most powerful in production. The first application of new-generation Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid technology, the total system power output of 364PS (268kW) goes to the rear wheels in a two-clutch system that maximises both performance and efficiency while allowing the car to run in electric-only mode at speeds as high as 120km/h.
Guinness World Records® (GWR) was at Santa Pod to witness the record attempt and ensure Infiniti’s new benchmark for full hybrids takes its place among the record-breakers on the GWR website. The M35h’s Inspired Performance is also in line to feature in the 2013 edition of the famous Guinness Book of Records.
The all-new Infiniti M range, developed to take on cars like the BMW 5-series and Jaguar XF in the demanding European marketplace, is currently the only sedan in its class in Europe to be available in petrol, diesel and hybrid forms.
The Infiniti M35h and the hybrid system it uses form a key part of Infiniti’s plan to boost sales in Europe with a goal to reach 10% of the luxury sector by 2016.