2018 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Red Sport 400 AWD

 

Long name, cool car

Words by: Adam Allen

Infiniti has a sly sense of humour, because the Q60’s full name will elicit a raised eyebrow or two.

While we haven’t seriously followed NASCAR in several years (let’s face it- it has gotten dreadfully boring) we can recall through a flurry of giggles some of the names they gave some of the races on the calendar paid in full by deep pocketed sponsors. Do you remember the Pork: The Other White Meat 350? No? How ‘bout the Virginia is for Lovers 400? These titles garnered more than their fare of chuckles, and we bet the same thing occurs when a Q60 owner gets asked what they drive at dinner parties. Sorry Infiniti, but your marketing team can come up with a better (more streamlined) moniker than this. And while the longwinded title may seem like a bit of comedic relief, the car itself is seriously good.

Yowzah! The shape of this thing is mesmerizing.

We felt the same way when we first saw it in the flesh. Oh sure, we’d seen pictures of all kinds online and it looked pretty good on a screen. The Q60 is one of those cars that looks worlds better when you see it in the metal. It’s a delicate and purposeful look and is proportionally perfect. It is also by far the best-looking Infiniti product ever- yes, even more than the GT-R which is better known for its staggering performance than its aesthetics anyhow. Many cool cars have come and gone through the Carpages Garage, and few of them have garnered as much attention as the Q60 has. Painted in a flawless coat of Indigo Blue, it would crane necks and draw long stares with its 20” wheels and unique exhaust tips rounding out everything nicely.

It’s nice inside, too.

The blue exterior on white interior colour scheme is pretty fetching- it went over particularly well with the Yacht Club set while we dined by the water at a local marina on a recent summer evening. The cockpit is trimmed with what Infiniti calls Silver Optic Fibre, and it’s a showstopper as well as a nice change from the de rigeur carbon fibre or wood trim you’d typically see in a car like this. The seats are as comfy as they look and most of the switchgear is ergonomically sound. We say most because Infiniti’s newest generation of its corporate InTouch infotainment system and accompanying hard buttons for the climate controls that flank the two vertically stacked screens are headscratchers. The screens look as though they were designed by two different software divisions at Infiniti- their graphics and fonts aren’t uniform, and we could look past that if the response times after executing a command, although InTouch is less than astute at following directions crisply. The best part of the Q60’s interior isn’t a material choice or some random doodad- it’s calling card is hands down the spectacular refinement and it becomes your very own provocatively styled sensory deprivation chamber after a long day at work. We took a lengthy trip on Highway 407 with it’s grooved concrete surface not exactly providing a relaxing soundtrack, but the slick Infiniti kept us nicely isolated from any unpalatable audio stimulation and bumps.

 

 

OK, so it looks good inside and out, but how does it drive?

Some people may size up the Q60 and figure it a sports car, but we think there’s a better designation for it- an incredibly satisfying GT car, one that is adept at devouring many kilometers in comfort at, uh, ‘brisk’ speeds rather than an apex slayer or a track day conveyance. It’s motivated by the best engine in the entire Nissan and Infiniti organization, a lovely twin turbocharged 3.0 litre V6. First, it’s a huge leap over its predecessor, which sounded gravelly and laboured as the tach swept from idle to redline- this one is a smoothie and despite being twice turbocharged it feels just as linear as its naturally aspirated predecessor. The numbers it churns out (400 horsepower and 350-foot pounds of torque) give the Q60 effortless power and when you plant your foot in earnest no matter the speed, the big coupe responds smartly. Infiniti’s intelligent AWD system makes sure that the torrent of thrust makes it to the ground without wheelspin and will do so in any type of weather scenario you’re likely to encounter. We’ve heard from some of our colleagues that the Q60 makes for a surprisingly proficient steed in the winter months for those of us living across our beloved frozen icebox for most of the year.  The drivetrain is underpinned by what Infiniti refers to as Dynamic Digital Suspension which delivers an almost unbelievably compliant ride, especially when you factor in the hunkered down stance and large, low profile rolling stock shod with performance rubber. It delivers the same experience that would be lusted after by engineers across many luxury brands, and yet it never floats or wallows; we think that’s quite an achievement. When the engine and suspenders conspire to hurl you along at velocities that sometimes catch you off guard, the brakes reign everything in smartly. Kudos to Infiniti engineers to giving us superb brake feel that approaches Porsche anchors in their delicate tactility and ease of modulation.

What might go wrong?

We’ve established that the Q60 is a wonderful car where the chassis and drivetrain is concerned, but there are flaws that exist inside as well as with some of the mechanicals. In the interior, the InTouch infotainment system just seems out of date despite being new. We griped about the slow response times and the dated graphics, but we’ll include a backup camera that would serve better in a Versa than in the Q60. We’d like to see a more commodious backseat and trunk-pack light on road trips, folks- and at this price, where are the cooled seats? While we’re talking about adding stuff, could Infiniti find it in their hearts to supply more exhaust noise- even in Sport mode it’s far too hushed and we nostalgically pined for the rorty soundtrack from the first generation G35. Lastly, we might kvetch about the Direct Adaptive Steering system which is fully electronic and has no tangible link from the steering wheel to the front wheels. This technology has gotten better from when it was first introduced, but the weird feeling through the wheel’s rim as it moves off-centre say, when approaching a corner we could never get used to. We’ll take a conventional rack any day, despite the touted benefits of tuning DAS to be optimal in situations ranging from decreasing radius off ramps to tight parking lots.

Should I buy a Q60 3.0t Red Sport 400 AWD?

Need we remind you of how beautifully styled the Q is? There are some people who will shop around some of the Infiniti’s competitors like the Mercedes C Class Coupe or the Audi A5 which look OK, but once they lay eyes on the Q60 they’ll be sold. Additionally, there are those who don’t place great emphasis on having the best infotainment system or the most lavishly equipped interiors or sharpened chassis- people like that are more than happy to tune into their AM radio talk shows and throw on the hearted seats and steering wheel when the temperature drops. For those types of luxury coupe shoppers, the Q60 will be a compelling choice. The G35’s of days gone by sold in healthy numbers, and we think history will repeat itself where the Q60 is concerned, even if you have to shorten the name every now and then.

2018 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Red Sport 400 AWD – Specifications

  • Price as tested: $61,817
  • Body Type: 2-door, 2+2 passenger Sports Coupe
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: 7-speed automatic
  • Engine:  3.0 litre twin-turbo V6, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower:  400 @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque (lbs-ft.): 350 @ 1,600 rpm
  • Curb weight: 1,754 kg (3,866 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel Consumption: 11.7L/100km (20 mpg)