2012 Infiniti G37 SedanEnlarge Photo
The 2012 Infiniti M35h hybrid large sport sedan is marketed by Infiniti as the "world's quickest (full) hybrid sedan," based on its 0-to-62-mph acceleration time of 5.5 seconds.
Now it looks like the next version of the smaller Infiniti G sedan will use the same powertrain--which, in a smaller and lighter car, should be even quicker, and potentially more fuel efficient too.
In the M35h, the 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 302 horsepower, and combined with a 50-kilowatt (67-hp) electric motor, the total powertrain is rated at 350 hp--and 32 mpg highway fuel economy as well.
Car and Driver reports that Infiniti has trademarked "G35h" as a model name, along with "G30t" and "G22d" as well.
The Infiniti G sedan, which is by far the brand's biggest U.S. seller, is scheduled to be redesigned for the 2014 model year. That would be a logical time for the new powertrain to be offered.
And it perfectly parallels BMW's cadence for the introduction of its second-generation hybrid system, which used a larger electric motor than its first-generation mild-hybrid system.
The updated BMW hybrid system launched first in the 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 (a year after the latest 5-Series was launched as a 2011 model) and then dropped into the smaller 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 as one of that vehicle's launch offerings for the new BMW 3-Series lineup.
2012 Infiniti M35h HybridEnlarge Photo
The other model names would indicate that Infiniti is at least considering a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine for its G model, as well as a 2.2-liter diesel engine, almost surely a four-cylinder.
The diesel and turbo engines may come from Mercedes-Benz, which inked a deal to build four-cylinder engines in the U.S. at a Nissan engine plant that would be used by both companies.
While those are gasoline engines, Nissan-Infiniti and Daimler are also cooperating on other platforms and powertrains--so offering small numbers of diesels sourced from Mercedes-Benz would save the Japanese company a great deal of money.
Car and Driver considers those last two vehicles less certain for the U.S. market than the hybrid G sedan, which makes sense.
Still, given that BMW has said it will offer diesels in more of its U.S. lineup as well as hybrids, if Infiniti is really trying to go head to head with BMW--a challenging proposition--then becoming the first Japanese near-luxury brand to offer a diesel would give them a unique niche.
Even if that diesel comes from the same country as BMW's does.