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Review of: 2017 INFINITI Q60 Coupe 2dr Cpe 3.0t Red Sport 400
2016 Infiniti Q60: More luxury than sport, but that's okay
By Jil McIntosh
Jan. 15, 2017
For a while there, Infiniti was looking a bit lacklustre. The styling had lost its edge, and while performance was good, it wasn’t always up to that of some competitors.
But now there’s a newfound focus, and if the all-new Q60 coupe is indicative, the automaker has found its way again. I first saw this car as a prototype at the company’s design studio in California—an event where cameras were forbidden—and was impressed with it then. Driving it just confirmed all that. It’s not perfect, but it’s a sweet machine.
The Q60 comes in three flavours, depending on how much power you want (and it goes to all four wheels on all of them). The 2.0T AWD starts at $45,990 and uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder kicking out 208 horses, while the 3.0T AWD, starting at $52,990, uses an all-new twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 to make 300 horses. But I had the Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD, which coaxes an additional 100 horsepower out of the V6 for a starting price of $60,990.
My tester was further optioned with a $3,200 Technology Package, adding such features as direct adaptive steering, advanced climate control, full-speed adaptive cruise control, and lane control, along with $1,000 for its coat of tinted clearcoat paint, for a total of $65,190 before freight and taxes.
Pros & Cons
- + Rear seat comfort
- + Smooth, strong engine
- + Attention-getting styling
- - Turning circle
- - Bland exhaust note
- - smartphone integration
The difference between this and the old Q60 coupe of 2014 is night-and-day. Whereas the old one might have reminded you of a smoothed-out Nissan Maxima in places, this latest version stands out for its muscular appearance and angular chrome trim.
All models come with LED headlights and fog lights, sunroof, rain-sensing wipers (that, like all of them, don’t do so well in drizzle or light snow), and 19-inch wheels, although the Sport’s rims are a unique design. The only other exterior difference in the top-line model is a pair of dual exhaust tips with a brushed-satin finish, instead of chrome. The 400, named for its horsepower, isn’t actually referenced on the badge, but a red “S” in front of the 3.0T tells bystanders that you coughed up the price difference to move to the top.
The cabin looks as sleek as the exterior, accented with very handsome “silver optic fibre” trim on the doors and centre console. The seats are supportive and bolstered, clad in leather on the V6 models, rather than the “leatherette” that comes on the 2.0T. Very oddly, considering that the base trim level is just ten bucks shy of $46,000, you actually have to add an optional premium package if you want your chairs to be heated on that one. Both the V6 models warm up the seats, along with a power-adjustable heated wheel to match.
This being a coupe, there are some concessions to be made. It’s difficult to reach the seatbelts, and while they retract electrically, they don’t move forward on their own to make them easier to grab, as those from competitors such as Mercedes-Benz do. It’s also awkward to squeeze between the front seat and the door pillar to get into the rear seats, although once you’re there, they’re just about as comfortable as the front ones, and with more knee space and legroom than you might expect. The rear seat folds down for more trunk space, but only as a single unit, rather than split-folding.
For the most part, the controls are fairly simple, and it’s easy to access the climate controls, using buttons on either side of the lower infotainment screen. The heated seats are button-operated as well, although the heated steering wheel is handled through the computer screen.
The centre stack contains two screens, which seems to arouse as many naysayers as it does enthusiasts. I like the setup, primarily because the navigation screen always stays on in the top one. It’s annoying to be relying on it in an unknown area, and then have it disappear if I need to access something else in the infotainment system.
The system includes such features as a Bose premium audio system, satellite radio, voice recognition, and a 360-degree camera. That said, while there is Bluetooth hands-free for your phone, there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to connect your apps.
My car’s optional technology package added adaptive cruise control with low-speed stop-and-go functionality, auto-levelling adaptive headlamps, an advanced climate control system with automatic recirculation and air purifier, and such electronic nannies as blind spot and lane departure interventions that use steering input to nudge the Q60 back over if you’re not paying attention. The package also includes direct adaptive steering—more on that later—and an “eco pedal” which, when activated, pushes back against your foot on acceleration if it thinks you’re putting too much pedal to the metal. Believe me, you’ll try it once, and then never try it again.
With 400 horses, and 350 lb.-ft. of torque that peaks at 1,600 rpm, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 is quick on the draw. There’s no turbo lag, just smooth acceleration from off the line right up to “hello, officer” territory. The sole transmission choice is an equally buttery seven-speed automatic, although it’s best if left to work out things on its own, since the paddle shifters can be a bit slow to sequentially swap the cogs if you slip it into manual mode.
The drive mode toggle on the centre console lets you switch between standard, eco, snow, sport, sport-plus, and a customizable personal setting. I spent my first few days with it in snow mode thanks to Mother Nature’s wintery blast, and then mostly in sport or sport-plus once the roads dried up. Against published figures of 12.5 L/100 km in the city and 9.2 on the highway, I averaged 11.8 L/100 km.
The direct adaptive steering is an electronic drive-by-wire system that has no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the steering rack (other than a failsafe connector clutch that activates if necessary), relying instead on actuators that relay electronic information when you turn the wheel. Infiniti introduced it for 2014, but I wasn’t impressed at the time with its vague, detached feel.
It’s still not as communicative or organic as the competition, but it’s undergone a considerable retuning and it’s much better. As expected, it tightens up on curves, and then smooths out on the highway to require fewer corrections. That said, a tighter turning circle would be appreciated, especially in crowded parking lots.
I thoroughly enjoyed driving it, but for all its speedy nature, it feels more luxury than sport. I chalk much of that up to an exhaust system that should at least growl provocatively on acceleration, but which is almost whisper-quiet. The only thing missing in my Red Sport was… well, the visceral impression of sport!
At a starting price of $60,990, the Q60 Red Sport 400 handles itself well among its competitors. Cadillac’s ATS-V Coupe gives you 464 horses to the Q60’s 400, but it’s $68,395, and while BMW gives you its 440i xDrive for $57,050, it has 320 horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class Coupe comes in below the Q60 if you get the 362-horsepower C43 4Matic, but to get the 469-horsepower Mercedes-AMG C63, you’ll pay $77,100.
Audi’s S5 will be all-new for 2018, but the 2017 edition gives you 333 horsepower for $62,200. Meanwhile, Lexus’ RC straddles the Q60’s sticker price, with the 307-horsepower RC350 AWD starting at $59,250, and the 467-horsepower RC F beginning at $85,400.
Basically, if you want a fire-breathing dragon that roars its way to the next stoplight, this is not your car. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either, for those who like something that’ll eat up real estate while being a gentleman about it. The Q60 is gorgeous, luxurious, swift and smooth, and within its segment, intelligently priced. It looks like after all this time, Infiniti has finally found its sweet spot.