Luxury hybrids are storming the marketplace, and bringing with them a new era of hybrid chic. The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid hopes to snatch some of that market, and today's official EPA rating of 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway should bolster its chances.
Those figures yield a combined average fuel economy of 29 mpg. Before you say, "But 32 mpg isn't exactly impressive!" let us compare it to the competition. Well, there isn't really any direct competition.
Lexus' HS 250h scores 34 mpg highway and 35 mpg city, but it's a size smaller than the Infiniti M Hybrid. Lincoln's MKZ Hybrid sedan is also a bit smaller, scoring 41/36 mpg. Both the Lexus and Lincoln use four-cylinder engines instead of the V-6 in the Infiniti, and both come up far short on the luxury quotient, as well.
The larger Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid generates 65 fewer horsepower than the Infiniti's 360-horsepower combined output, but scores just 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. It also costs nearly twice the expected starting price of the M Hybrid. The same goes for BMW's ActiveHybrid 7i.
Stepping outside the hybrid realm, Mercedes' E350 BlueTec scores 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for a combined score of 26 mpg--close to the Infiniti M's results. At $50,900, it's also priced right around the M Hybrid, and probably represents the most direct competition to the Infiniti--but comes up 140 horsepower short, though it doesn't lack for torque.
The M Hybrid goes on sale this spring.
Visit our preview article for more details on the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid.