The standard M-series (3.0D or 3.7-litre V6) always suffer comparison with more mainstream competition. But this hybrid M35h is different. It embraces its weirdness, and isolates itself from unfavourable comparison in a little bubble of odd.
It's the usual hybrid stuff: a 300bhp-ish 3.5-litre V6 mated to seven-speed auto and a 68bhp electric motor for extra shove, equipped with stop/start for in-town and coasting-engine narcolepsy. It runs pure EV when pottering, and is silently, eerily fast (0-62mph in 5.5, 155mph top end). A limo with 40+mpg and 162g/km. And it's so quiet. And relaxing. After a hard day, it's like a rolling Nurofen.
By all the usual accounting, the M35h is supposed to be an interesting aside but an evolutionary dead-end, like an amusing four-wheeled dodo. But it works spectacularly well in certain situations, neatly obliterating some of the irritating faults of the mainstream versions. In fact, TG knows it should deride the M35h.
It's ugly, weird, complicated, expensive at just under £47k, and has the brand recognition of a piece of white A4 paper. But it's also relaxing, unobtrusive, indecently rapid and... different. We shouldn't like it quite so much. But we do.
We like: Extreme oddity, calm demeanour
We don't like: Extreme ugliness, sticky brakes
The verdict: An ugly, silent EV angel in town, with devilish speed in the country
Performance: 0-62mph in 5.5secs, max 155mph, 40.4mpg
Tech: 3498cc, V6, RWD, 359bhp, 258lb ft, 1830kg, 162g/km CO2
Tick this on the options list: It comes with everything you need
And avoid this: Snow White paint, £679