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Infiniti to build sport-luxury hybrid

Infiniti announces the 2011 Infiniti M35 Hybrid.

Infiniti M35 Hybrid
Infiniti's first hybrid will be the 2012 M35. Infiniti

Nissan/Infiniti has so far only dabbled in hybrids, choosing to buy technology from Toyota for the Nissan Altima Hybrid. The company is really attempting to leap past that technology by going straight to electric vehicles, with the Nissan Leaf. But the upcoming Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid must have lit a fire under someone at Infiniti, because the company just announced the Infiniti M35 Hybrid.

Infiniti M35 Hybrid
The M35 Hybrid will use a mild hybrid system. Infiniti

With a V-6 engine mated to what sounds like a mild hybrid system, the car will be aimed more at performance than maximum fuel economy. Infiniti describes the hybrid system, which was built in-house, as combining twin clutches and an electric motor on the propeller shaft coming out of the engine. This arrangement allows the electric motor to provide extra boost to the rear wheels and, according to Infiniti, drive the car under only electric power under certain circumstances.

Honda says the same of its mild hybrid system, but we've never actually noticed pure electric drive power in any Honda hybrid. Infiniti is using the same laminated lithium ion batteries in the Infiniti Hybrid as will be used in the Nissan Leaf.

The Infiniti M35 Hybrid will come out in 2011 as a 2012 model.