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Infiniti M Hybrid Wins '2012 Ward's 10 Best Engines' Award

POSTED BY admin ON 13 January 2012

WardsAuto is a widely respected automotive publication from the US, having been in business for over 80 years. Compared to other magazines, Wards is catered towards industry professionals rather than consumers. For every year since 1995, WardsAuto awards the 10 Best Engines of the Year in USA. Nissan is no stranger to the Ward’s Best Engines Award. Its VQ V6 engine dominated for 14 years in a row between 1995 and 2008. No other manufacturer boasts of a higher record.

For this year’s 2012 award, WardsAuto editors sampled 36 vehicles, driving them in their routine commutes during October and November 2011 and score each based on power, technology, refinement and observed fuel economy. To be eligible for the competition, engines must be all-new or improved and available in a regular-production, U.S.-specification model during first-quarter 2012. Vehicle base price is capped at $55,000.

Infiniti M35h’s Direct Response Hybrid 3.5-liter V6 emerged as the only hybrid powerplant to receive this year’s Wards 10 Best Engines Award.

WardsAuto explained Infiniti’s well deserved award, “First and foremost, the gasoline engine can be completely decoupled at any time, allowing it to shut off while a single 67-hp (50-kW) electric motor effortlessly propels the fullsize sedan, fed by a 346V lithium-ion battery pack.

In real-world driving, on a holiday road trip to the East Coast, the M35h happily depowers its 302-hp V-6 during steady-state cruising for up to a minute, even at speeds above 70 mph (113 km/h).

Toyota’s ground-breaking Hybrid Synergy Drive system cannot do that. To run at highway speeds, the Prius’ gasoline engine must be connected.

At slower speeds, the Infiniti system allows the engine to shut down more often – basically anytime the accelerator is released. By the end of our testing, the M35h was running in electric mode 16% of the time.

Further cementing the M35h’s credibility is the 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) fuel-economy average we saw at the end of a 2-week loan. That type of mileage in a large sedan is remarkable, especially when compared with much more expensive hybrids, such as the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.

With a base price of $53,700, the M hybrid is not cheap, but it’s a bargain compared with its German and Japanese rivals.”

On the transmission, WardsAuto further added “The functioning of the 7-speed automatic transmission must not be overlooked as a component of the Nissan system. Gear shifts are smooth and precise, and transitions between gas and electric modes are seamless.

While the award winning Infiniti M35h is not available in Malaysia, Inspired Motor, the distributor of Infiniti vehicles in Malaysia do offer a variant of the M-series, also powered by an award winning engine. The M37 Premium starts at RM425,000 and is powered by the same VQ series V6 engine engine that dominated for Wards 10 Best Engines Award14 consecutive years.

Other engines awarded by WardsAuto this year are (in alphabetical order) :

  • Audi 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi A6)
  • BMW 2.0L N20 Turbocharged DOHC I-4 ( BMW Z4 sDrive 28i and 528i)
  • BMW 3.0L N55 Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW 335i)
  • Chrysler 3.6L DOHC Pentastar V-6 (Chrysler 300S and Jeep Wrangler)
  • Ford 2.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-4 (Ford Edge)
  • Ford 5.0L DOHC V-8 (Ford Mustang Boss 302)
  • GM 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Buick Regal GS)
  • Hyundai 1.6L DOHC DI I-4 (Hyundai Accent)
  • Mazda 2.0L Skyactiv DOHC I-4 (Mazda 3)

The M35h has also been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s fastest accelerating full hybrid, faster than a Porsche Panamera Hybrid.

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