2012 Infiniti M35 Hybrid Debuts at LA Auto Show
Infiniti today unveiled its first production hybrid performance luxury sedan, the 2012 Infiniti M35 Hybrid, during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Infiniti M35 Hybrid, which is set to launch at Infiniti retailers nationwide in spring 2011, stands to break new ground as the first true luxury performance “driver’s” hybrid – and the only vehicle to offer more than 350 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon fuel economy (estimated highway mpg, official EPA figures not available at press time).
The 2012 Infiniti M35h, unveiled earlier this year in Geneva, carries the same body stile as the new generation Infiniti M sedan.
The Infiniti M35h features the all-new Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid™ system, an advanced one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid design that combines precise, high-speed motor control technology, which, enabled by the powerful Lithium-ion battery, allows power to be delivered directly to the vehicle’s 7-speed automatic transmission. The system also utilizes an innovative Hybrid Electric Power Steering system and Electric Driven Intelligent Brake regenerative braking system, both which help conserve energy and provide a natural, enjoyable driving feel.
The Infiniti M Hybrid’s exhilarating driving performance also greatly benefits from use of Infiniti’s proven 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine, which paired with the 50 kW electric motor, provides a hybrid system net power of 360 horsepower.
Torque figures are equally impressive, with the V6’s 258 lb-ft of toque combining with the electric motor’s immediately available 199 lb-ft of torque to provide strong performance. The result is a vehicle that first and foremost delivers a refined driving experience, along with expected best-in-class combined fuel economy (estimated fuel economy 30 mpg highway, 25 mpg city and 27 mpg combined).
In addition, the new Infiniti M35h can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to 62 mph and can travel on electric propulsion for up to 1.2 miles at a time. Tests have shown that in mixed diving, the Infiniti M35h is able to drive in electric only mode for as much as 50% of the time. And, with its compact hybrid system design, the new Infiniti M35h also delivers uncompromised interior space and competitive trunk space.
Standard M35h features include Active Noise Control, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and power sliding glass tinted moonroof. The Infiniti M Hybrid is also available with advanced technology features, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention™ (BSI), Forest Air® system, Active Trace Control, and Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System.
Audible Pedestrian Warning System
The new 2012 Infiniti M35h is not only the first-ever Infiniti Hybrid, it is the word’s first hybrid to feature a standard audible pedestrian warning system.
The new audible warning system, called Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP), uses a range of distinctive sounds to help ensure the safety of other road users. VSP automatically works from start-up to approximately 20 miles per hour, cutting back in at approximately 15 miles per hour as the vehicle slows.
The computer controlled system links an in-car sound synthesizer with a speaker built in to the front bumper. Instead of just a single tone, a range of high-low sounds at different volume levels was chosen after an extensive research program to find the most effective, but least intrusive, noise. The VSP development team worked with cognitive and acoustic psychologists studying areas including pedestrian behavioral patterns and noise pollution. The result is a sine-wave sound that extends from 2.5kHz at the high end to a low of 600Hz. It is a range readily audible to all age groups, while avoiding a sound range (around 1,000Hz) that would add unnecessary noise to the environment.
The noise sweeps from high to low frequency depending on vehicle speed and whether the Infiniti M35h is accelerating or decelerating. It is loudest at start-up to give a clear indication the vehicle is beginning to move off, while an intermittent tone is used when reversing – both sounds calculated to ensure the Infiniti M35h cannot surprise pedestrians and the visually impaired as it approaches.
Although the Infiniti M35h can travel at speeds of up to 62 miles per hour on engine noise-free electric power alone, road noise past approximately 20 miles per hour means the vehicle generates sufficient sound for the VSP to remain off. An extensive testing program during the hybrid’s development showed that, in mixed driving conditions, the Infiniti M35h was able to drive in electric-only mode for as much as 50% of the time.
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