Infiniti M35h Hybrid  (Source: Autoblog)

M35h interior  (Source: Autoblog Green)
M35h hybrid is the fastest accelerating Infinity on sale in Europe

Automakers around the world are rushing to get hybrid vehicles onto the market as consumers look to go green. Many of the hybrid vehicles are trying to appeal to drivers other than those just looking for the best fuel economy.

Fast hybrid autos seem like an oxymoron at first glance. There are a growing number of automakers looking to offer sporty hybrids that boast the fuel economy of small cars with the power and performance of a sports car. The latest firm to throw its hat into the ring of performance hybrid vehicles is Infiniti with its new M35h. The looks of the sedan are certainly sporty, but what is under the hood really separates the sports cars from the grocery getters.

The M35h packs a 3.5L V6 engine that has 302 horsepower along with a 50kW electric motor that is integrated into the car's 7-speed automatic transmission. The battery pack for the electric motor is a 1.3kWh lithium-ion unit. The performance of the hybrid beguiles its frugal nature with a 0-60 time of under 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The car can reach 50 mph on electric power alone.

While the vehicle clearly is performance oriented, its fuel economy is comparable to that of a compact. The car has a combined fuel consumption rating of 32.2 mpg with CO2 emissions a bit under 170 g/kg. Further details of the M35h will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. The electric driving range of the vehicle is limited to 1.24 miles.

Infiniti expects to sell the M35h across Europe starting in the spring of 2011 and pricing details will be unveiled early next year.

Because of the addition of the electric motors and battery pack for the hybrid drive, the M35h weighs in at 4,155 pounds, making it 265 pounds heavier than the M37. The car uses special electro-hydraulic steering with on-demand assistance, the brakes on the car are operated by the electric motor, and the regenerative system helps recharge the cars battery.

Infiniti's chief rival -- Lexus -- is also looking to shore up its range with more sporty and hybrid offerings.

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