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New York show: Infiniti QX60 goes hybrid

Battery power: The lithium-ion battery in the Infiniti QX60 is hidden below the third row of seats so it does not eat into cargo and passenger space.

Infiniti JX35 becomes QX60 and gains hybrid power for New York show

Infiniti logo12 Mar 2013

INFINITI will introduce a hybrid version of its newly re-named QX60 SUV at the New York motor show later this month, with fuel use closer to that of a four-cylinder hatchback.

A fuel use of about 9.0 litres per 100 kilometers will give the JX35, as the car will formally known until a new naming convention introduced late last year brands it as the QX60, a 24 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency over the non-hybrid model.

Infiniti expects that the hybrid version sold in the US will carry a $3000 premium over the more conventionally engined version.

Coming a year after the US launch of the JX35, the QX60 Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-litre supercharged engine combined with a 15kW electric motor and is mated to a continuously variable transmission.

Overall power produced from both the engine and motor is 186kW, and drive will be sent to either the front wheels alone, or all four.

The QX60 uses the same Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system found in the M35h mid-size sedan and uses a lithium-ion battery and electric motor for extra power through its one-motor/two-clutch system.

Infiniti said that the battery could be partially recharged using a regenerative braking system that converts the energy normally lost during braking into electricity.

It said placing the battery under the third-row seats gave the hybrid the same flat floor as the conventionally engined version, and did not affect passenger access or eat into cargo space.

Infiniti Cars Australia national media and public relations manager Peter Fadeyev said that the local arm of the Nissan-owned brand had no plans to bring the QX60 to local showrooms.

The seven-seat QX60/JX35 crossover has quickly become one of the Japanese luxury brand's top-selling models in the US, second only in sales to the soon-to-be-replaced G series.

Infiniti launched in Australia in September last year with the FX soft-roader and M series mid-size sedan range before adding the G Series coupe and convertible in December.

The brand is in the process of expanding its dealer network in Australia after opening its first Melbourne dealership in Brighton earlier this month.

Sales have been lukewarm for the brand locally, with just 24 sales in the first two months of the year, made up of seven units for the FX SUV, five sales for the G coupe/convertible and two for the M sedan range.

The Q50 sedan range (replacing the G series) arrives late this year, before Infiniti's new small car, to be built on the same platform as Mercedes-Benz’s all-new A-Class and likely to be called Q30, emerges sometime in the next couple of years.

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