Infiniti goes beyond at Santa Pod
INFINITY AT THE POD: It's a fully-loaded exec sedan but the Infinity V6 hybrid racked up a quarter-mile record at the UK drag strip.
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 268kW petrol/electric sedan - a production model - covered the standing 400m (quarter-mile) in 13.9031sec (average of all runs) at the UK's Santa Pod raceway, home of the FIA European Drag Racing championships.
PAR WITH COUNTACH
From a standing start, the M35h harnessed its combination of electric motor torque and V6 power to impressive effect, the car passing the computerised timing equipment at the end of each run at speeds in excess of 160km/h.
In the hierarchy of fast cars, the time puts it on par with performance heroes such as 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 only 162g/km of CO2 and, on the combined cycle, sips fuel at the rate of seven litres/100km.
The car is in showrooms across Europe but the range was discontinued in South Africa many years ago.
"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.
TELLING TIME: The giant stopwatch at the UK's Santa Pod raceway flashes up a time for the hybrid Infiniti. The lower figure is in miles per hour.
"I did try changing gear manually but it was faster left in automatic - that was when we achieved the fastest single run of 13.8960sec -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 point behind the exercise which can be watched at www.carmagazine.co.uk was to show that the M35h’s 0-100km/h time of 5.5sec – the fastest time listed for a full hybrid – was just one facet of the car’s overall performance. The standing 400m (quarter mile), an iconic acceleration test the world over, is a more demanding challenge than the 90-100km/h dash and offers a more complete picture of a car’s acceleration.
The M35h’s result in the 13sec area puts the latest Infiniti among the performance aristocracy – which might surprise when it is considered that the car is a near five-metre, four-door, five-seater with as much of an emphasis on luxury, comfort and equipment as driving pleasure.VITAL TO SALES
The total system power output of 268kW goes to the rear wheels through a two-clutch system that maximises performance and efficiency while allowing the car to run in electric-only mode at as much as 120km/h. The car was designed to take on cars such as BMW's 5 Series and Jaguar's XF in the demanding European market. It is currently the only sedan in its class in Europe to be available in petrol, diesel and hybrid forms.
The Infiniti M35h and its hybrid system are seen as vital to Infiniti’s plan to boost sales in Europe with the goal being 10% of the luxury sector by 2016.