New Car Review: 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

Rear view of white 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid
The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid rear view.

In a break with (sometime) TireKicker tradition, we're showing you the rear view of the Infiniti M Hybrid first, because it is how you will most likely see one. You see, just yesterday (9/21/11), no less than an adjucator from the Guiness Book of World's Records and the UK's CAR Magazine certified the M Hybrid as the world's fastest full hybrid.

Now, its 0-60 time of 5.0 seconds is plenty impressive, but CAR decided real speed is best measured in quarter-miles, and there, the M Hybrid did it in an average of 13.9 seconds...tying the 1/4 mile performance of a 1982 Lamborghini Countach, coming within a tenth of a second of the 1998 BMW M3 and within three-tenths of a second of the 2007 Aston Martin Volante and the 2007 Porsche 911 Carerra.

That's gonna sell some cars.

Front 3/4 view from above of white 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid
2012 Infiniti M Hybrid. The World's Fastest Full Hybrid.

I'd been driving one for six days when the news broke, and I was already a fan. I could tell, just from the seat of my pants, that this was a phenomenally quick, smooth luxury sedan that just happened to be hybrid-powered.

Not exactly a surprise, really, since it was only five months ago that we got all excited over the gasoline-powered M37.

The surprise was this felt just as good and we knew we were saving gas, at a price only about $7,000 more than the gas version. Yeah, we know...seven grand is seven grand, but Infiniti could have charged more (there are hybrids out there running much closer to a $10K premium over the gasoline-powered equivalent).

The EPA says 27 city/32 highway for the M Hybrid...and we didn't quite get there. In our 500 miles of 70 percent city street/30 percent urban freeway driving, we only averaged 24.9. But then, there's something about that magnificent power package (30 horsepower more than the gas version) that tells you to go ahead and plant your foot in it. I wish I could claim will power, but I can't. Still, that tops the 18/26 EPA estimate for the gasoline M37.

And the fact that the M Hybrid allows you (under the right conditions) to run up to 62 miles per hour on electric power doesn't enforce light-footedness the way hybrids that dip into the fuel tank above 25 miles an hour do.

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid interior
2012 Infiniti M Hybrid interior.

It all starts at $53,700 with an impressive list of standard features. Too long for me to re-type. Wanna know what they are? Infiniti's M Hybrid webpage has that covered. Our tester added the Delue Touring Package (Japanese White Ash wood trim with genuine silver powder accents, semi-aniline leather appointed seating, a Bose 5.1 channel 16-speaker Premium Audio system, Forest Air filtration, a suede-like headliner, soft double-stitched meter hood and power rear sunshade) for $3,800.

Next was the Premium Package (hard drive navigation system, 8-inch color touchscreen display, voice recognition, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, Zagat Survey restaurant review, climate controlled front seats and a heated steering wheel) for $3,350.

The little stuff? $650 for 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, $360 for illuminated kick plates and $200 for a trunk mat, trunk net and first aid kit. Toss in destination charges of $895 and the bottom line is $62,955.

And it feels like so much more.  Even if it weren't the fastest, we'd love it.

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

Base price: $53,700

As tested: $62,955

Likes: Styling, power, quality of materials, power, workmanship, power and...did we mention power? Oh, yeah...and better mileage, too.

Dislikes: A little hesitation off the line as the car wakes up and brings the engine back to life.