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Hybrid and diesel for Infiniti's new 5-Series rival

  • Petrol, diesel and hybrid saloons
  • Expected to be priced against 5-Series
  • Launch in 2010 with hybrid in 2011

New luxury high-performance car brand Infiniti will be offering company car drivers the choice of petrol, diesel or hybrid versions of its BMW 5-Series rival within 18 months.

The Infiniti M saloon range will launch in the UK in 2010 and is expected to include V6 and V8 petrol version, as well as a V6 diesel engine.

However, by mid-2011 the M range will also be offered with a petrol-electric hybrid, giving company car drivers access to an alternative low-CO2 version.

The M saloon will be the sixth model range for the UK following its introduction in September 2009.

It will be similar in size to the BMW 5-Series and is expected to be offered with 3.7-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8 petrol engines currently available in other Infiniti models, as the M37 and M50.

However it will also be offered with an M30 diesel option, using a version of the 3.0-litre V6 engine used by Renault in the latest Laguna.

Other models in the Infiniti range will also come with the same diesel option and insiders predict greater power and torque in the Infiniti models compared with the Renault Laguna because they will use rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive layouts as opposed to the Renault's front-wheel drive set-up.

The Laguna 3.0 dCi V6 Coupé currently comes with 235bhp and 332lb-ft, and as a front-wheel drive car is restricted on power and torque by the need to ensure smooth driving.

The M35 Hybrid will come with Infiniti's own full hybrid petrol-electric set up, which will allow zero-emissions running on the electric motor alone at low speeds over short distances.

It uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine in conjunction with an electric motor whose power is stored in compact batteries which are charged with recuperated energy while driving.

More information on the M saloon range will be made available closer to the car's 2010 launch.