In an interesting piece of trivia for the automotive geeks out there, the 2011 Infiniti M35h will become the first hybrid in the world to come standard with an audible pedestrian warning system as standard.
Set to be launched in across Europe in around six months time, the Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system fitted to the M35h is the same as the one offered in the Nissan Leaf.
The system is computer controlled and links to an in-car sound synthesiser with speakers built into the front bumper.
The noise is loudest at start-up to give pedestrians and other road users a clear indication that the vehicle is moving off, and cuts out as the vehicle reaches 30km/h. Nissan and Infiniti engineers say the road noise above that speed is loud enough for the vehicle to be detected.
As the car brakes, VSP kicks in again at 25km/h, and when the car reverses an intermittent tone is activated.
Technically speaking, the VSP system emits a wave of sounds from 2.5kHz to 600Hz, sweeping from high to low frequency depending on vehicle speed. Developers say the tones have been developed to be readily audible to road users and pedestrians of all age groups.
The Infiniti M35h is the first model from the Japanese luxury marque to feature its Direct Response Hybrid technology. It combines a 225kW 3.5-litre petrol V6 with a 50kW electric motor to produce a 0-100km/h acceleration time of less than 5.9 seconds and combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.3 litres/100km.
Earlier this year, Nissan Australia confirmed it would introduce Infiniti to Australia. Time will tell if the M35h is among the first models to arrive Down Under when the brand launches in 2012.