2017-10-12 / Top News

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Infiniti Q60: A touch of familiarity and a ton of power

If you’re a fan of Infiniti, this is the car you’ve been rooting for them to build.

The company has consistently been building sporty and solid luxury machines, but the 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400 feels like the ultimate evolution. It adds more excitement inside, outside, and especially under the hood with a 400 hp motor.

The exterior design is new, but it feels very familiar. The style follows Infiniti’s theme of cat-like sedans and coupes. With narrow headlights for eyes and tall fenders like shoulders, the Q60 looks more like a prowling jaguar than the cars from Jaguar.

The designers were thoughtful in the details with tasteful chrome accents, plenty of extra curves in the sheet metal, and even a little ridge in front to complement the sharp point of the logo. There is an unmistakable vibe from its predecessor, the G-series coupe, but Q60 has a low-slung sportiness that its forerunner didn’t have.

Inside, this upgraded feeling continues. The front seats have plenty of bolstering, but they’re also forgiving. The door armrest and center console are tall enough to keep the driver’s arms focused on the wheel, but not so high that the cockpit feels claustrophobic. This creates an ideal mix of feeling like a performance car, but not sacrificing commuter comfort.

Just like the exterior, the Q60 gives off plenty of familiar feelings. The gauge package and the adjacent infotainment touchscreen are instantly familiar to anyone who has driven a Nissan or Infiniti in the last five years. It’s not as if this sports coupe lifted its instruments directly from a Pathfinder SUV, but the steel blue glow is now a family trait.

A more inspired piece is a second touchscreen that’s mounted below the first one. It’s part of Infiniti’s InTouch system, and it comes standard on all Q60s. This a handy feature for those who pair their phones with their vehicle or utilize the car’s (optional) satellite navigation. After all, when any one feature takes up the whole touchscreen interface, the Infiniti is one of the few cars that offers another screen to maximize utility.

But probably the smartest thing about the Q60 is where it’s positioned in the marketplace. The base model starts at $39,945. That’s for a 2.0-liter turbo that produces 208 horsepower. BMW’s first rung on the 4-Series coupe ladder is also a 2.0-liter turbo car. It makes 40 extra horsepower, but it also cost $4,350 more.

The 4-Series seems to be the Q60’s benchmark, because they both also offer a 3.0-liter twin turbo option. Once again, the Infiniti is less powerful, but it’s more affordable. All-wheel drive is also optional on both.

For the true sports coupe fans, the top of the lineup should be the most interesting. The Q60 Red Sport dials up the dual turbochargers to 400 horsepower. This is still less powerful than the BMW M4, but it makes 38 more horsepower than the Mercedes C43 AMG. And both of those are well above the Q60 Red Sport’s $52,295 base price.

This ultra-hot version of the Q60 feels quite confident in all situations. The multi-valve arrangement and dual overhead camshafts make for quick acceleration from stoplights, and when those advantages run out, the twin turbos kick in. It creates a sensation that there is always power to spare, which is exactly what’s needed when asking a premium for a sports coupe.

The Q60 also has an array of intelligent features to enhance cornering. This is on all models, but the Red Sport is also upgraded to have electronic settings for the engine, suspension and steering. It gives this high horsepower coupe the adaptability to feel as tame as an Altima or as ferocious as a GT-R. And it’s this flexibility that will win customers.

Name recognition and higher refinement justify why the European competition costs a little more. But this Japanese offering has precision and practicality on its side.

The new Q60 has the familiarity of its predecessors, but the soul of a whole new animal. So for those who like Infinitis (and some who haven’t tried them before) this is the one you’ve been yearning for. ¦

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