By on January 20, 2014

GS450h_01

Both Infiniti and Lexus know how to ruin a car. The Lexus GS 450h and the Infiniti M Hybrid are what results from taking a fundamentally good car and adding a bustle full of batteries. It’s more galling now because of what’s happened to these two. For years, both the M and the GS were mildly interesting also-rans that couldn’t compete with the established segment leaders on any measure but price/value. But now, you’ve got an Eastern Jaguar and a crisp Arleigh-Burke class sedan that are mounting a more credible challenge against the benchmark Germans. The M and GS have learned how to control dynamics to deliver the Patris, fillii et Spiritius Sancti of performance, handling and luxury. Hybrid versions of these cars seriously blunt the excellence, and it’s a damn shame.

First, holy crap are they expensive! Cars that cost like a Cayenne and don’t deliver on their promise of increased performance are offensive. For all that extra blood and treasure, you get a GS 450h and an M Hybrid that are as satisfying as non-fat bacon. The very thing Lexus and Infiniti charge a premium for is what totally mars the driving experience.

M35H_01

The M35 Hybrid is an example of Infiniti aping more than just Jaguar’s styling. This sedan that’s all swoops and haunches comes in at a Coventry-worthy $54,750 base price. The Malbec Black M35 Hybrid I drove a few months back was certainly good looking. The wine-inspired color looks black in most conditions but blooms a subtle deep purple in bright sunlight. It’s pretty, and Infiniti does great interiors, especially this car with its Deluxe Touring Package upgrades. There was buttery leather all over the place, and the light-colored Stone upholstery contrasted handsomely with the dark exterior. Glossy wood accents and organic forms round out the cabin in the Infiniti, all to beautiful, expensive-feeling effect. That’s good, because who wants to spend the $67,000 for the M Hybrid I tried and get a cheaped-out interior?

M35H_17

To get from the $55K base price to $67,000 takes just three steps. The Stone interior with White Ash silver-powdered wood trim requires the addition of the $4,200 Premium Package and its Deluxe Touring Package cohort, a $3,900 sidekick. That $8,100 spiff buys you navigation, Bose audio, heated steering wheel, climate-controlled seats, and rear sonar in the Premium Package. The Deluxe Touring Package side of the packing sheet is how you get the silvered wood and deeper-dyed semi-aniline leather, more soft-touch materials, stitched meter hood and suede-like headliner. Wonder what it would take to get an actual suede ceiling. You get surround sound too, silly in an automotive interior, especially for content that’s largely *not* surround-encoded, but whatever. None of this has anything to do with the enthusiast’s definition of touring, deluxe or otherwise.

M35H_19

 

The final push to $67,000 for the M Hybrid came courtesy of the $3,050 Technology Package, chock-full of crap to annoy you if you’re accustomed to the act of actively driving. That’s three grand better spent on driving courses. Or, if you like paying more to be aggravated, that sum buys a lot of current pop music that you can listen to on the horribly-phasey surround sound rig (it sounds fine in stereo mode.)

GS450h_02

 

The Lexus GS 450h may not have the outward expressiveness or interior decorator flair of the M Hybrid, but it’s no ugly duckling. Attractive in a more conservative way, the GS has straighter lines in its styling and that polarizing Spindle Grille up front. The interior of the GS 450h follows the same pattern. Well-assembled, high-quality, an overall solid effort that doesn’t try to break new artistic ground.

GS450h_04

Looking at the GS and M Hybrids next to each other, you might get distracted by the glitz of the Infiniti and think it costs more, but the GS 450h was the pricing heavyweight in this matchup. What I drove was $70,252 worth of disappointing cha-ching. In general, I’m not as over the moon for the GS model line as I am for the excellent new IS that slots in below it, but part of the mission of this model was to reinvigorate the Lexus/Toyota lineup with more passion and enthusiast-pleasing dynamics. It succeeds on those points except as a hybrid.

GS450h_08

As with the Infiniti, the Lexus GS 450h can push into territory that seems absurd, though I suspect there’d be less squawking if we were talking Roundels or Stars. The GS 450h starts at $59,600 promising V8-like thrust and fuel economy and emissions figures that look more like what you’d expect from a 2.0 liter. That’s two extremes of hyperbolic bullshit for the price of…both extremes. 338 total horsepower is not V8 level power anymore, and 2.0 liter engines do better than 34 mpg highway. A Corvette now comes close to that. The GS 450h is well-equipped out of the gate, with perforated leather seats, 10-way power adjustable with heating and ventilation for driver and front seat passenger, handsome matte-finish bamboo wood accents offering the Lexus counterpoint to Infiniti’s glossy wood, power window sunshades, a host of automatic features like rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, climate control, power tilt and telescopic steering column, and premium audio.

GS450h_06

 

A spreadsheet comparing the GS and M hybrids is going to have lots of tit-for-tat checkmarks. These are closely-matched cars. The options and packages side of the GS 450h is a bit more a-la-carte than the way Infiniti does things with high-content (and high cost) packages. The biggest optional extra on this GS 450h was the $5,255 Luxury Package, which added power-folding self-dimming exterior mirrors, a power moonroof, 19” wheels, roof rails, memory for the driver’s seat, mirror and steering wheel settings and LED headlights. Adding navigation to make full use of the 12.3” LCD costs $1,735, and the heads-up display (a feature I adore and want to be mandatory in all cars) is $900. Blind Spot Monitoring runs $700, and the power trunk will empty another $400 out of your wallet. Intuitive Park Assist piles on with its own $500 surcharge, too.

GS450h_10

 

Both of these cars feature a farcical knob to adjust driving dynamics. Oh, it has an effect – selecting the sport settings on either will sharpen responsiveness and twiddle damper settings with noticeable results. It’s just that these are both still turkeys when it comes to being performance sedans. Low rolling resistance tires, the weight of a bunch of extra hardware and weird powertrain handoffs between electric motor, gas engine, regeneration and friction braking and numbed-up steering completely ruins it. There is no fun to be had here.

M35H_13

The GS undergoes a more dramatic shift when you call up the sportiest of sport modes. The steering, which is actually nicely weighted, gets appropriately heavier, but there’s still nothing tactile at all about it. What is tactile is the way the powertrain bumps and flails around between electric-only, gas and electric and gas-only propulsion. There’s good chassis discipline, though, even on the horrible tires that are probably the biggest contributor to the disappointment. The M Hybrid, with its more gruff engine note and even more pronounced sensations is worse, though it’s more willing to run farther and faster in EV mode. The M will sail along on the highway and readily kill the V6, something the GS is a lot more reluctant to do at 60-something MPH. Total M Hybrid power is a more robust 360 hp, too. Going hybrid with either of these cars is  an unsatisfyingly weird way to go about the business of being a premium sedan with some performance capability.

M35H_05

Against the most refined hybrids in the business, Toyota/Lexus, the Infiniti almost feels like a prototype. That doesn’t mean the GS got off scot-free. Lexus has done its best to isolate the occupants from the mechanicals, but that’s hard to do when the car is supposed to have some extra enthusiast appeal, where a palpable connection to the hardware is considered a feature. In both cars there’s a noticeable shudder when the gas engine is fired, and it also creates a surge, however subtle, in acceleration. On several occasions, the Lexus became very confused about what to do during steady-state cruising and set up its own odd and annoying throttle oscillation. Engaging the somnambulant Eco mode quashed that one.

 

Let’s talk braking. Regenerative brakes are de rigeur for hybrids, and they’re awesome at capturing kinetic energy and putting it back into the battery. They’re even now pretty good at the transitional handoff to the friction brakes, but they’re not perfect. In both these cars, the low-traction tires and regenerative brakes conspire to deliver less braking than you think you’re getting, leading to a couple days of “oh crap!” hard stops before you acclimate. The systems also sometimes didn’t know when to hand off, and would vacillate between a stab at the hydraulic stoppers and a dollop of regen, otherwise known as stopping like your Uncle Morty in his ‘78 St Regis. Barf.

Let’s be clear, I am a fan of hybrids. There are some vehicles like the Prius C, that I get a tremendous kick out of. That little hatchback, with its battery supply of automotive TPN, is a great time. It gets stellar mileage, it’s even entertaining to drive. The GS 450h and M 35 hybrid, do return improved mileage over their gas only counterparts, but the difference isn’t that large. The Lexus returned me about 29 miles per gallon average over 600 miles. That’s pretty good for a vehicle its size, and it’s right on the 29 mpg city number, but my driving was 60 percent highway, and so should have been closer to the 34 mpg highway number. The Infiniti M Hybrid is supposed to return 27/32, and I saw about 28.5 mpg average, though the experience lagged even that of the excessively-compromised Lexus.

M35H_10

So let’s address the inevitable “you’re missing the point, these are hybrids! They’re boulevardiers!” If that were true, would Infiniti be marketing the M Hybrid as the “fastest accelerating full hybrid on the planet?” Would Lexus be trying to make hay out of the GS 450h’s 5.6 second 0-60 time? Would there be a “Sport” mode in each of these? No, the point both Lexus and Infiniti are trying to make is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. That’s just not true. You’re right, though, these cars are boulevardiers. Good ones. There’s plenty of trunk space in each, the interiors are sumptuous, both cars look good in their own way. The overheated marketing must help them move iron by giving people who will never clip an apex a bunch of facts and figures to rattle off. Kinda like GTO in Two Lane Blacktop, without the GTO.

This can’t come down to a draw, there has to be a winner, and I think first place goes to the Infiniti M Hybrid. There is no official scoring, just an informed opinion and time behind the wheel. The Infiniti is more powerful, it’s more expressively styled, and it’s less expensive. Another plus is the Infiniti has easier to use tech. The Lexus does have more features and capabilities with its infotainment and driver-assistance features, but they’re not as easy to use. That opens the door for the years-older Infiniti system to better the much newer Lexus software and control. The Lexus system may be new, but it immediately feels dated and is more cumbersome to use. It will, however, read text messages to you, and when your friends find out, they’ll send you all sorts of amusingly vile phrases for Lexus-voice-lady to read.

The outcome would be different if we were talking gas-only, as there’s a better chassis and platform underpinning the Lexus GS. Since neither of these cars can come anywhere close to using their underlying potential, it comes down to which is less annoying to drive. That goes to the Infiniti M Hybrid. The fact that you can widen the price gulf further in the Infiniti’s favor by leaving off the Technology Package (again, it’s filled with stuff I immediately disabled and left disabled for my entire time with the car) makes it pull away from the GS even more.

M35H_08

The biggest takeaway from this comparison test for me is the fact that the next generation of both these cars will probably be really fantastic. I’m looking forward to the day these things go down the road seamlessly. Or, if you don’t want to wait for hybrids to get that good, get a Tesla now and be extra-smug.

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74 Comments on “Capsule Comparison: Infiniti M35h vs. Lexus GS450h...”


  • avatar

    Is there any way TTAC can make a simple box comparison when comparing two cars that shows:

    #1 BASE PRICE
    #2 PRICE with NAVIGATION and MOONROOF
    #3 PRICE FULLY LOADED
    #4 0-60mph
    #5 0- 1/4 mile
    #6 WHICH ONE WE’D PICK

  • avatar
    bryanska

    GREAT article. Full of photos, lots of well-considered points, plenty of stats…

    I don’t care about either of these cars, but I think this article is very well done.

    • 0 avatar
      aTelecine

      I’ll second that his was a well written review especially considering I really have zero interest in owning either of these cars. I will comment that it seems that either I am becoming somewhat nostalgic for the older builds offered by Lexus and Infiniti (say the 1992-1996 Infiniti’s & and the 1991-2001 era Lexus models). Somehow to me these cars seem priced beyond all reason for what they are in my view.

      I am sure many own and love these cars but somehow the why eludes me. To be fair, I am feeling that way about most cars these day’s.

      Cheers

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’d be interested to hear Corey’s opinion on this as he came from a GS (albeit gen 1) and I believe now drives an M35.

    In the case presented the Infiniti’s interior looks a little too Jetsons for my taste (whats up with the passenger side?) and the GS’s looks cartoonish and embarrassing. Both cars seem like they fail at their appointed “greenie” missions, esp the Lexus. Doesn’t the LS460 offer a hybrid? Why do you need two RWD hybrid cars of similar size from the same marque?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Really, the LS 600h and the GS 450h aren’t even close to the same size, especially since the LS 600h is long-wheelbase only. Also, the idea of the hybrid powertrains in each car seems to be to provide an engine that is one size bigger in terms of power, without actually having to include such an engine. This is especially clear in the LS 600h, which actually includes a larger ICE engine to begin with (5.0-liters versus the standard 4.6-liters). I understand why the LS 600h would need to emulate a V12 (although it’s relatively slow), since Lexus does not have a V12 to stick in it, but IMO, the hybrid-as-V8 GS should have been a V8 non-hybrid system (like the previous GS 460)…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lexus LS460 is 200 in long/205 for LWB and 73.8 in wide, GS is 190in long and 72.4in wide. The models are very close in size, the LWB only being 15in longer and just over an inch wider. I’m sure GS’s suspension is tuned differently and there are other slight differences but offering both models seems redundant at this point, and offering two V8 hybrid powertrains for such a limited market is especially redundant (offer one powertrain and tune it differently). Personally the way I would do it would be do is offer a LWB LS460 as is, drop the 200in LS460 in lieu of GS (or drop GS) and make the smaller sedan what the GS is supposed to be. I’d offer the larger engine in both but I would tune the smaller sedan for
        “sport” and offer slightly less torque/hp then I’m offering in the LWB via a limiting chip.

        http://www.lexus.com/models/LS/specs/

        http://www.lexus.com/models/GS/specs/

        • 0 avatar
          Dan Roth

          a 10″ difference in overall length is hardly insignificant. The LS is noticeably larger than the GS.

          The two cars also have entirely different missions.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I do agree with you they have different missions, but just shy of a foot in length really isn’t much. Perhaps the bodywork is much different and side by side the LS appears to be/is much larger. Based on the figures from Lexus, the cars seem to be of a similar footprint.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m here! Ha. And my GS was gen 2, 2001MY. I saw this article in my inbox and didn’t get around to it til today, I wanted to read it thoroughly. A couple things struck me right off:

      -Same wheel design as my M.
      -Same climate/radio screens as my M.
      -Same shifter and surround.
      -Dash button layout very similar, smaller buttons now though.
      -My M has matte finish wood with striations, which I find better than this high gloss stuff with the silver flecks. I found a good photo of it here: http://automobilesdeluxe.tv/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/infiniti-dash.jpg I think it’s more tasteful than the high gloss.

      I agree the new interior on the M is pretty swoopy, and I like the more straight line BIG-WOOD-PLANKS interior of the GS. Though I think the matte bamboo will age poorly, and look very outdated in a few years. It smacks of Ikea to me, where dark walnuts or rosewood etc does not. Bamboo is a cheap wood, not really even a tree. I think this trend will go away sooner rather than later.

      The GS is getting boring looking, and side-by-side the M does look more expensive. I think the ES has grown to be too close to the GS in styling and proportion. Compare an 07 ES to an 07 GS and you’ll see how different they used to be. Also, $70,252 is absurd-balls pricing for a GS. That’s LS money yo, and you’d get more of it back when you go to sell it since they hold their value so well.

      On GS-gen2 versus 09Mx:
      -Ride goes to M, it’s more controlled and smoother, my GS was always kinda jittery. And arguably my current Goodyear tires are worse than the Michelins I had on the GS.
      -Quiet goes to M, there was always a lot of tire and road noise in my GS. The M has more noise than I’d like as well, but that’s from the engine. I get that it’s a bit more sporting in its pretensions than the V8 GS was, so I will give it a pass.
      -Interior goes to the GS. Overall the materials were of a slightly better, more simple quality in the GS. The M is more flim-flam and flashy, but there are a couple of hard surfaces here and there – not so in the GS. I think that’s an unavoidable trend though, as we head toward more lights and knobs and screens, and away from simple push button designs. A mention goes to the wood and real aluminum in the M though. The aluminum trim is solid pieces of metal which feel very nice to the touch. The knob for the screen controls is carved from one solid piece of aluminum as well with nice grip detailing. The M is much larger inside, but it’s a much larger car than my gen 2 GS was. I haven’t been in a gen 3 GS to comment – I know it got larger.

      And as a side note, the GS had much more powerful heated seats, but the M seats are more comfortable and have more comprehensive controls. My MPG’s are relatively unchanged between the two x.x – but now I have AWD, and my new ride is several hundred pounds heavier than the last one, so I guess it’s ok.

      The M needs 6-speeds though, to quiet it down on the highway and improve MPG. I feel this should have been implemented by 09.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Corey,

        Wanted to let you know the 2009 IS250 was completely underwhelming, and scratched off the list.

        Interior was very well put together, but the 2.5 V6 was incredibly slow to respond to any throttle inputs, I was not impressed. That and the back seat and trunk were smaller than not only the Alero but also the Verano.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thank you for the mini review Corey.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I meant to add something else.

          Value for money used: Definitely goes to the M. The depreciation is quite a lot steeper than the Lexus option on a larger, more powerful, better equipped, and (usually) more expensive when-new vehicle. I got a newer car with less miles for a smaller amount of money than I ever could with the GS. And that’s a win to me. I have had no lesser “badge value” reactions from people around here than I did with the Lexus, either. YMMV in other places which are not Ohio.

  • avatar
    Dweller on the Threshold

    The author needs to go back to Strunk and White finishing school.

    Short sentences. Avoid unnecessary adjectives. Have a point. Don’t distract the reader.

    I’m mildly interested in the cars, but could not read the review. And I know how to read.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      No one’s ever paid a writer to be to-the-point.

      I’ll agree, though– I’ve read less-verbose Art History theses.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I guess i’m not well read, because i had no clue what these mean.

      “Arleigh-Burke class sedan”
      ” Patris, fillii et Spiritius Sancti”
      “with its battery supply of automotive TPN”

      I guess i’d better consult the Googles.

      • 0 avatar
        Dweller on the Threshold

        What they indisputably mean is that the writer has a problem communicating with his readers.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Arleigh Burke class sedan” – The Arleigh Burke is a guided missile destroyer. I guess he’s going for big sedan but not the biggest. Biggest would be the Nimitz class, maybe, the Nimitz being the largest aircraft carriers going.

        “Patris, Filli et Spiritus Sancti” – Latin for “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (although I’m not sure he got the spelling right on all these… but I’m no Latin scholar).

        “with its battery supply of automotive TPN” – TPN is a new one on me.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan Roth

          TPN: Total Parenteral Nutrition.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenteral_nutrition

          At least that’s what the context seems to suggest.

          I like learning new stuff from articles.

          Car & Driver taught me words like ovoid, mellifluous and “falls easily to hand.”

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      Completely agree with Dweller. Couldn’t make it through the article. Reads more like a train of thought. At least I didn’t see the egregious grammar and spelling errors that seem to haunt this site with increased frequency.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      He does this every time, I have a hard time getting through his grandiose sentences as well. Sticking to one topic per sentence would be a start.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    I enjoyed the article while being thoroughly unimpressed with the subjects, which is not easy. Well done.

    I’d be curious to see the RLX hybrid reviewed with the same perspective, since it seems to be cut from much the same cloth.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      What is the point of a “review” where the reviewer openly despises the design intention, vehicle class, and options of all the vehicles in the segment?

      I don’t understand why buyers need cartoonishly large full-size trucks, but if I were comparing the Ford and the Ram, I wouldn’t spend the whole review complaining about their size. Such a point would warrant one line at best.

      In this review, the reviewer neglects discussing items a likely buyer would care about, instead whining about those items being available.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I don’t think he went quite that far. I find myself agreeing with Derek’s sentiment below — since Lexus and Infiniti are marketing these as sporty(-ish) options, why not review them from that perspective?

        This review addressed the question I’m interested in: namely, if you’re interested in a loaded 550xi, S6, E550 (while it lasts), is it worth taking a look at either of these options too?

  • avatar
    jmo

    This is the worst review in TTAC history.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I agree.

      1) Very poor writing. Sounds likes a junior high kid.

      2) Boring subject. I mean, discrediting the two cars on the sole basis of handling is like discrediting Ferrari on the basis of interior room. Find a better topic next time.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I can only imagine his review of a Lotus Elise where he welds on a tow hitch and then complains how it struggled to pull his 26′ Four Winns up a boat ramp.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Gee, I write for a living, and even I think you guys are piling on a bit. I’m not saying he’s Shakespeare, but I had no trouble getting his points.

        As for the negativity, we have one poster who craps all over poor Alex Dykes every chance he gets just because Alex neglects to condemn the cars he’s testing. You’d think that jamoke would be leaping in to defend the author of this piece, but noooooo.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I didn’t know the M35 still existed. I thought they stopped selling it a few years ago.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’d recommend doing a little more to separate your own criteria for a car you would buy from your TTAC review criteria. It reads a little too much like someone that would buy an option-free 335i with a stick shift rather than the target market for a $60k to $70k hybrid RWD sedan.

    I would guess that the person that would be inclined to go with the hybrid versions of these over the gassers would be the type to not really sweat what it costs but more if the car offers what they want. They aren’t as concerned with the value side of it so much. I’d say that buyer wants it to be quiet, top notch materials, reliable, smooth ride, and let the car sweat the small stuff. Basically an S class or LS buyer that doesn’t want a near-limo sized vehicle. Low rolling resistance tires, CVT, soft suspension, and nice to the touch interior woods fit with that mission. Definitely a small market, though.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      What is with TTAC reviews and never mentioning ride quality when reviewing luxury cars?

    • 0 avatar

      They position these cars as sporty alternatives to larger engined variants. The M35h is touted as the fastest of the M range, while the GS is positioned as the replacement for the previous GS460.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “They position these cars are sporty alternatives to larger engines.”

        They do? And, what exactly does “sporty” mean in terms of large luxury cars?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The GS450h doesn’t offer the F sport package that you can get on the GS350 and the 450h doesn’t even have visible exhaust tips. Yeah, it has more power, but I don’t think that automatically means it has sporting pretensions. The electric motors probably supply some of that low end, no drama grunt that a V8 midsize luxury sedan buyer is accustomed.

        I haven’t paid too much attention to how Infiniti markets their M. The brand, as a whole, has never really ticked off boxes for me as I’d rather have a BMW for sporting driving and I’d rather have a Lexus for the value/reliability side of the equation.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m repeating what Lexus and Infiniti have been pushing in their own communications to journalists and consumers as a means of giving context to WB’s own impressions. Don’t shoot the messenger.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “giving context to WB’s own impressions”

            The context is large and powerful luxury cars. He (and you) don’t seem to want to review cars within their own context.

          • 0 avatar

            I respectfully disagree. I think every reviewer at TTAC makes an honest effort in doing so. As always, I invite you and other readers to submit your own pieces. Try your hand at reviewing a car and I will publish it. I know you have emailed me in the past.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          DK is correct in that Lexus was pushing the hybrid GS as the replacement for the V8 (maybe not so much with regard to sporty but to power).

    • 0 avatar
      golftdi

      They should compare these against the 5 series diesel.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I quite like the dash and center console on the Lexus. Very Japanese in a very good way, not just bland and mainstream. The color combo is really nice,

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I absolutely love that silver dust rubbed wood in the Infiniti, but don’t care for the overall interior design. That bulge in the center of the dash looks like a pregnant sow. But then the interior design of the Lexus looks like a 10 year old BMW to me.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Tough crowd. I believe in constructive criticism and while I enjoyed the article here are some pointers:

    “Going hybrid with either of these cars is an unsatisfyingly weird way to go about the business of being a premium sedan with some performance capability.”

    -There is an extra space between “is” and “an”, presentation counts.
    -This sounds odd “unsatisfyingly weird way”, try “very unsatisfying and unusual”.

    “That’s two extremes of hyperbolic bullshit for the price of…both extremes. 338 total horsepower is not V8 level power anymore, and 2.0 liter engines do better than 34 mpg highway. A Corvette now comes close to that.”

    -The Corvette comparison doesn’t flow well and I do not believe you should start sentences with a number. Try “Modern V8s far exceed the three hundred thirty eight total horsepower of the GS, even Corvette can come close to the 34MPG the car provides.” and drop the additional I4 comparison. No one who is using your review as a serious guide on the cars cares about I4s else they would drive a Prius.

    “Against the most refined hybrids in the business, Toyota/Lexus, the Infiniti almost feels like a prototype.”

    -This is a bit confusing, try “Judging which brand delivers the most refined hybrids is easy as Toyota/Lexus is the clear leader. Infiniti’s offering almost feels like a prototype rushed into production”

    “Let’s talk braking. Regenerative brakes are de rigeur for hybrids, and they’re awesome at capturing kinetic energy and putting it back into the battery … Let’s be clear, I am a fan of hybrids. There are some vehicles like the Prius C, that I get a tremendous kick out of. That little hatchback, with its battery supply of automotive TPN, is a great time.”

    -Let’s talk reusing paragraph headings. Instead of “Let’s talk braking.” try “Regarding braking, regenerative brakes are de rigeur for hybrids, and they are designed to capture kinetic energy and route it back into the battery.” and leave the second paragraph intact. I would also save any “let’s be clear” talk for the conclusion of the article to sum up your thoughts and draw a conclusion.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I think it’s nice that car manufacturers make rich people pay for the technological progress needed to build better hybrids. Other than that, I’m quite happy that I’m not rich enough to be in the market for something as awful looking as these two right now… Acuras may be ultra-boring, but at least they aren’t trying too hard to look different just for the sake of looking different…
    If you swithched the interiors between these cars, you would have one almost decent looking car, and one that was just completely awful.

  • avatar
    steevkay

    Despite actual and/or perceived issues with the article, I enjoyed it. I like the personal touch (it’s more like it’s coming from YOU, not a PR catalogue from the manufacturer) for whatever that’s worth. As others said, maybe watch out for references that many won’t get (that particular use of Latin was familiar to me, due to my Catholic upbringing) but this article was the first time I’ve seen the use of “somnambulent”, ever. I like new vocabulary.

    I find it very ironic that the comments section was used to give writing tips instead of the usual incoherent nonsense we see in internet comments (on other websites, obviously not on TTAC… well, sometimes on TTAC…)

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I enjoyed it. My basic reaction when reading it was, “yes, these cars are not right for Winston” but they may still have appeal to a certain segement.

    However, Derek’s comments that Lexus and Infinit are casting these as sporty does put a different light on the situation. It seems as though someone not really meant for these cars was roped into reviewing them because of their sporting pretensions. I think maybe Lexus and Infiniti are committing some marketing errors here.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Read the article and found nothing to complain about at all with the writing. So was somewhat surprised to find all the criticism in the comments.

    I’d just read a review of the Infiniti on autos.ca where like most cars it was showered with praise. Struck me that this capsule review pointed out the real shortcomings, mainly the less than seamless electric to gas transitions. Ditto the regenerative braking behavior. Much like C/D is the only source that points out similar problems with the new Accord Hybrid – every other review just thought it was wuunnnderfull, with all roughness banished and only sunshine dappling its flanks as it dashed down a wooded rural road on a thimbleful of fuel fulfilling Earth Dreams.

    These very expensive hybrids are as Sporty as the logo announcing it on the body of an Astrovan next to the door handle – lest you should forget it while experiencing the grinding understeer getting out of a car park in a hurry.

    Good article.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I’m not sure the new TTAC policy of welcoming abusive comments is really accomplishing much. There was certainly lots of good stuff in the review whether or not you agree with the idea of putting a hybrid in this class of car or not.

      Judging by their purchasing choices, the overwhelming majority of actual buyers prefer a regular gas or diesel engine in this class of car.

      • 0 avatar

        I was extremely disappointed with the vitriol expressed in the comments. Nobody says you have to like everything we publish. Respectful criticism is always welcome. Many of the comments were far beyond the pale of what I consider acceptable. I’m certain that none of the posters would have the gall to say those things to somebody’s face, and when we put out an open casting call for written submissions, none of the “usual suspects” felt that they should contribute articles, despite their apparently dissatisfaction with the editorial content.

        Furthermore, this kind of behavior only serves to scare off new writers. Recall last year, we had Shaikh Ahmad of Fat Cat Motorsports publishing suspension related technical articles. He decided not to continue due to the comments, which were shockingly rude. I think it only does a disservice to our community when this happens.

        However, in the interest of transparency and free speech, these comments will be allowed to stand, as per EIC Jack’s request.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          Derek, I don’t know how you can interpret the response as mean-spirited. Some of the responses offered specific suggestions. The responses read more like a writers’ group than an internet lynching. I liked the overall content of the review but the prose was florid. I write overly sentences that I have to edit later. But [grammar alert, sentences shouldn\'t begin with \"but\"] a car review doesn’t need to read like a Hemingway story but it shouldn’t feel also like reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. Oops, see what I mean? Now people have to look up Hemingway, James Joyce, Ulysses the book and Tales of Brave Ulysses by the band that Eric Clapton was in before he…oops, it’s hard to stop, isn’t it?

          • 0 avatar

            There were legitimate criticisms, which Jack, Winston and I discussed in the manner of a football team going over game films. Some of them were beyond the pale of what I would consider polite and constructive.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Dearest Derek–

    This exact scenario plays out in every episode of Frasier. You know what happens; a wordy man critiques some object presented him. One no one within his circle of friends can afford to buy, except him– and it’s not good enough. It’s never good enough. He never declines or dismisses the object simply, or with few words. No, never. He’s got to insult the designer, the corporation, the sales clerk, the packaging– the materials and the workmanship.

    Some of us are sick of wading through too many adjectives to come to the same conclusion: “This is their best, and it isn’t good enough. You might not understand why, being as you’re simple and of meager means– but trust me. It’s bad.”

    This one’s all about the subtext. The execution problems only made the angrymaking base argument noticeable. I strongly suggest y’all reclaim your sense of wonder. You’ve left it somewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      iNeon,

      A car’s pricetag and the amount of enjoyment it can provide rarely have anything to do with each other. The Fiesta ST is far more enjoyable than other sports cars that cost many multiples of its sticker price, for example. When something is expensive and it disappoints, it REALLY disappoints. See: Lincoln MKZ.


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