2012 Infiniti M35 Hybrid: First Official Photos of V6-Powered Hybrid, Sales Start in 2011

These are the first official photos of the new Infiniti M35 Hybrid that will be join the lineup of the recently announced 2011 M luxury performance sedan that is scheduled to go on sale in spring 2010. The Japanese firm's first-ever production hybrid vehicle is expected to arrive in U.S. dealerships about 12 months later than its gasoline-powered counterparts as a 2012 model. Retaining the regular 2011 M's rear-wheel drive setup, the M35 Hybrid's drivetrain combines both mechanical and electrical propulsion systems.

In particular, Infiniti's hybrid system that has been developed by the firm's parent company Nissan, features a single electric motor/twin clutch arrangement with the first clutch installed between the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and the electric motor.

As with many other hybrid models such as the Prius, the M35 Hybrid's electric motor can either help the V6 gasoline unit during acceleration in "power-assist" mode or under certain driving conditions, work alone to move the car. The electric motor also works as a generator charging the battery in the normal way as well as recovering energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking.

The M35 Hybrid sedan is equipped with a "laminated" lithium-ion battery pack that is the same size as conventional batteries but offers twice as much power. According to the Japanese automaker, the lamination improves the battery pack's cooling performance, while temperature stability is further enhanced by the use of manganese positive electrodes.

"The M35 Hybrid maintains a high performance luxury sedan profile, overlaying it with the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of a smaller car, while delivering driving flair to please any enthusiast – complete with charismatic V6 and rear-wheel drive handling," Infiniti said in a statement.

The automaker said that it will release details on the driving range, performance and transmission closer to the M35 Hybrid's launch date.