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The next stop for Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti is the Chinese market as the company moves ahead with its plan to begin building cars locally to compete with its German rivals in the premium segment, Audi, BMW and Mercedes, all of which produce cars in China.

The first step was made with the global debut of the Infiniti M long-wheel-basemodel available with both hybrid and naturally aspirated engines at this week's Auto China 2012 in Beijing.

Scheduled to go on sale this June, the Infiniti M LWB was developed specifically for the Chinese market. It sports a wheelbase extended by 150mm (5.9 inches) to 3,050mm (120 inches), with all the extra space benefiting the rear passenger compartment.

The two available models of the LWB Infiniti M series are the M35hL hybrid, which linkes a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine to an electric motor delivering a combined system output of 359hp, and the M25L powered by a 2.5-liter V6 petrol with 232hp (173kW) 250Nm of peak torque.

"The Infiniti M long-wheel-base - available inM35hL hybrid and M25 normally aspirated versions - is the first high-end Infiniti luxury sedan tailor-made for Chinese customers," commented Nissan's Vice-President Andy Palmer.

"It strikes a perfect balance between outstanding performance and environmental sustainability and brings a new challenger to China's premium car market," concluded Palmer.

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