Records may come and go but, aside from grabbing headlines, they're a way of benchmarking the progress of new technologies. In the automotive world this means hybrid drivetrains and we've seen a number of new record attempts in recent times - usually related to fuel economy as with the Kia Optima Drive. The latest comes from Nissan, whose Infiniti luxury division is claiming the world's fastest accelerating full hybrid vehicle in the form of the Infiniti M Hybrid. The M Hybrid has covered the standing quarter mile (400 m) in an average time of 13.9031 seconds - putting it on par with a 1982 Lamborghini Countach.
The record came in a standard production model Infiniti M35h Hybrid, which Nissan points out already holds the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) record of 5.5 seconds. The record attempt was overseen by an adjudicator from Guinness World Records at the UK's Santa Pod Raceway with journalist Tim Pollard at the wheel. The vehicle is powered by a V6 ICE complemented by a 67-horsepower (50 kW) electric motor that combine for a total system power output of 360 horsepower, which is delivered to the rear wheel in a two-clutch system. Nissan says this configuration maximizes both performance and efficiency, while allowing the car to run in electric-only mode at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph).
The 13.9031-second record, which was an average of all runs, included a run of 13.8960 seconds and puts the Infiniti M on a par with the likes of the 1982 Lamborghini Countach (13.9 seconds), the 1998 BMW M3 (13.8 seconds), and 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante and 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera (both 13.6 seconds).
"The Infiniti M35h proves that hybrids can be fast as well as frugal," said Tim Pollard, who is the associate editor of the UK's CAR Magazine. "At Santa Pod you could feel the instant torque of the electric motor away from standstill - the car just leapt off the line. I did try changing gears manually, but it was fastest left in automatic. That was when we achieved the fastest single run of 13.8960 seconds."
Here's CAR Magazine's coverage of the record run: