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.
“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.”
Under the hood is an Atkinson-cycle version of Infiniti’s venerable 3.5-liter V6. The hybrid system itself is a high-tech and relatively compact sandwich of two clutches, a 50-kilowatt electric motor and Infiniti’s seven-speed automatic.
This allows the M to use its 1.3-kWh, 340-volt lithium-ion battery pack for electric-only propulsion at speeds up to about 60 mph as long as the driver keeps throttle application below 20 percent. The gasoline engine will turn off completely while coasting at speeds up to 80 mph.
That’s quite an accomplishment for a car that Infiniti estimates can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles-per-hour in six seconds, give or take a tick.