LOS ANGELES -- Having trouble driving in a fuel-efficient manner? The gas pedal on the new Infiniti M sedan can help.
The 2011 M, unveiled on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, will offer a tech package that includes the "Eco pedal." The pedal will be wired into fuel management software and put up a slight resistance to foot pressure when the car is being driven too aggressively for ideal fuel consumption.
"The driver can easily disregard the resistance," said John Weiner, Infiniti product planning director, "or turn it off altogether. But if you heed the signal and do as prompted, it can improve fuel economy."
Weiner says preliminary tests indicate a fuel economy improvement of 5 to 10 percent.
When the M goes on sale next spring, the redesigned sedan will come in two engine configurations: the M56, with a 5.6-liter V-8, and the M37, with 3.7-liter V-6. Prices have not been released.
Ben Poore, Infiniti Business Unit vice president, said the Eco pedal and other new M technologies will help boost sales for the luxury brand's flagship despite the struggling economy.
"This will be a good time to launch a new M," Poore said. "The economy is coming back, and a lot of new product is coming out in the segment: the new BMW 5 series, the new Mercedes S class. The newness of the products will create growth for the whole segment."