Two weeks ago, the EPA rated the 2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid at 27 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 29 mpg.

That makes it the only car in its class, as Infiniti proudly trumpeted, with both 350 horsepower and a highway rating of 30 mpg or more.

Now, the cost of that fuel efficiency has been announced as well. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the 2012 M Hybrid will be $53,700. (That does not include a mandatory destination fee of $875.)

How does that compare to the rest of the 2012 Infiniti M range, which goes on sale on March 2? It's more expensive than the pair of M37 models, in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, that use a gasoline V-6. They start at $47,700 and $49,850.

It's less pricey, however, than the similar pair of V-8 engined M56 models, at $59,100 and $61,600 respectively.

Infiniti vice president Ben Poore said the company "expect[s] the M Hybrid to continue the strong sales momentum" the new M sedan range has experienced since it launched for the 2011 model year.

He also noted that the M Hybrid has little direct competition. Indeed, with mass-market hybrid sedans and hatchbacks from Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Hyundai topping out at $30,000 to $35,000, and full-size hybrid luxury and sports sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the $90,000-plus range, the M Hybrid stands alone.

Only Lexus comes close, with the aging GS 450h mid-size sports sedan at $58.050, plus $875 for delivery. The 2011 Lexus GS 450h is rated at 22 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, for a combined ratings of 23 mpg. Its 3.5-liter V-6 engine puts out 340 horsepower.

The 2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid will go on sale nationwide on Wednesday, March 16.



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