Paul Horrell04 March 2010

Geneva show: hybrids lead the charge

Petrol-electric cars are all the rage in Geneva, with Infiniti and Lexus squaring up to the all-mighty Germans

Infiniti M35 hybrid

The Geneva show went quietly hybrid bonkers. We saw petrol-electric versions of the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg, Audi A8, BMW 5-Series and Ferrari 599. And so on and so on.

Was the world breathless with impatient anticipation? If so, here are two more you might not have seen.

One is the Infiniti M35 hybrid (pictured). The M is Infiniti's brand-new big rear-drive saloon, somewhere about 5-Series or E-Class size. And aimed right at them. It comes with the hybrid V6 petrol, a normal V6 (the one out of the Nissan Z) and a new V6 diesel. All versions are immaculately trimmed and equipped with just about every gadget you can get your head around. And some you probably can't.

Next up, the Lexus CT200h. It's a front-drive Audi A3-sized car. Lexus wants it to take on the BMW 1-Series and A3, but while those Germans offer a bewildering array of engines and transmissions, the Lexus has just one.

It’s a 1.8 petrol hybrid, the same as in the Prius but recalibrated to eke out better performance than the Toyota. Should hope so too. Lexus people won’t give emission and economy numbers, except to say it’ll be under 100g/km. But of course there’s already an A3 diesel at 99g.

It'll be out next year, and a well-equipped version will cost about the same as a BMW 120d or A3 TDi 2.0.

Nah, it's pretty strange-looking. Especially from the side. The white paint certainly doesn't do it any favours.

Paul Horrell, Consultant Editor of Top Gear magazine

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