Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: July 16, 2018
This is not our first rodeo in the Infiniti Q60 but we’re revisiting this Japanese sports coupe to see how it thrives against its updated and refreshed rivals, namely the BMW 440i xDrive, Audi S5, Lexus RC 350, and the Mercedes-AMG C 43.
A bit of a recap first. The Q60 is the spiritual successor to the Infiniti G-Series coupes. Not only is the sheetmetal alluring but I’d go so far as to call it poster material. The gaping double-arch front grill, sleek rear haunches, LED headlights that are designed to mimic the shape of a human’s eyes; it all amalgamates together into one cohesive silhouette with a striking amount of road presence. The Q50 Sedan, though charming as it is, just doesn’t conjure up the same kind of primordial urge.
The interior of the Q60 Coupe is pretty much carried over from the Q50 Sedan. The center cap of the steering wheel reminds me of a Fruit Gusher – an odd candy trend that has been going around. Example: Mazda’s is shaped like Rockets candy. Sugar-high designers? The overall cabin design has gotten a mixed reception from our team, especially when it pertains to those dual screens stacked in the center. Personally, I think it’s a nice touch (one that Acuras also use) that allows the top screen to stay dedicated to navigation while the bottom screen manages the rest of infotainment, climate, and driver controls.
What annoys me is that the definition on the top screen is different from the bottom screen. Nevertheless, I like how it is integrated into the center stack rather than sticking out of the dashboard like on the Mercedes C-Class. BMW still leads the way in this department though with a simpler and friendlier interface with better graphics.
The materials used in the Q60 are up to snuff, namely the magnesium paddle shifters and upgraded sport seats wrapped in the same supple semi-aniline leather that you find in the QX80 mothership. I actually think they’re softer than any of the seats offered by the Germans, but the Lexus RC 350 seats are superior bar none. Talk about contoured and comfortable.
Unlike its opponents, the Q60 does not offer a head-up display, ventilated seats, Apple CarPlay, or even a digital speedometer, but other expected amenities such as a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, and your slew of safety systems are available, as well as a premium Bose system that lodges speakers on the door panel and along the length of the entire dashboard.
There are two engine choices available: a 2.0-litre turbo-four and a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, the latter of which can be had in 300-hp or 400-hp guise. The V6 is a distant cousin of the engine found in Godzilla himself, and in Red Sport 400 AWD trim, engineers were able to squeeze out an extra 100 horses out of the V6, singing to a final tune of 400 hp by programming the wastegate to stay shut a little longer. This ramps up peak boost to the point where it needs high-tech sensors to keep the two turbos from imploding from the added pressure (an additional 6 psi to a total of 14.7 psi to be exact). A second water-cooled intercooler has also been added.
The final result is 400 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque, and bewildering straight line speed that will leave the 440i and RC 350 as a mere speck in the mirror. The Q60 confuses your senses at first, as the actual ground speed doesn’t correlate with your perception of the speed. The Q60 gets around without much fuss, and acceleration comes on gradually and smoothly rather than whiplashing you to the back of your seat. Don’t expect inline-six levels of smoothness though, and there is a bit of turbo lag when the engine is caught sleeping in the lower rpms too.
The exhaust is the most underwhelming part of the Q60. It delivers a high-strung and mechanical intake noise up front, but virtually nothing is emitted out the back of those delightfully styled exhaust tips. The Q60 is quiet and subdued, no matter which driving mode you select, and it will be disappointing for those that have grown accustomed to the outgoing G37’s distinctive howl. With such a well-engineered V6 motor, I’d say the Q60 deserves to be louder. In this department, the BMW 440i (especially with the M Performance Exhaust) wins by a mile.
All 400 horsepower is routed through a 7-speed automatic transmission, which is slightly unrefined for my liking. I never found much use for the paddle shifters but when manually downshifting it would feel sluggish, and though it swaps cogs quickly, it’s not as polished as the 8-speed ZF in the BMW 440i or Audi S5.
In Canada, the Q60 is available in all-wheel drive only. Rear-wheel drive is available in other markets, but how often do you really see a BMW 440i on the road in Canada without xDrive anyways? Lexus, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz don’t offer RWD on their sport coupes either, and I’m sure Infiniti is just leaving a bit of room for the upcoming replacement of the rear-wheel drive Nissan 370Z.
Now if you’re still reading this, you may think the Infiniti Q60 falls short compared to its competitors. That’s not exactly true. If you are to evaluate the Q60 not as a “sports” coupe, but as a “luxury” coupe instead, you have one of the most comfortable, encapsulating, and well mannered vehicles on the market.
“Q60 Red Sport” is a misnomer. In fact, I don’t think it’s sporty at all. The Q60 is not a convincing on track performer, it does not have an inspiring exhaust note, nor does it have the steering feedback we’d desire from a performance vehicle, but once hop you inside the Q60, snuggle into its cosseting seats, you begin to appreciate the finer details. The ride quality is sublime, supple, and absorbent. The Q60 is incredible tolerant to craters and irregularities on the tarmac. The lack of exhaust noise will be a positive note for those who want to be insulated from the outside world and desire some peace and quiet. The Q60 also comes with a feature the other coupes do not: remote engine start.
In the end, the Q60 may not follow in the footsteps of the outgoing G37 that expertly combined performance and luxury into one seductive concoction, but it does cater towards what select buyers in this niche segment want: accessible power, emotional styling, and above all, everyday comfort. Let’s call it Red Luxury instead.
Model: 2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD
Paint Type: Electric Indigo
Base Price: $61,295
Price as Tested: $64,495
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,690 / 1,850 / 1,395
Curb weight (kg): 1,825
Engine: 3.0L twin-turbo V6
Horsepower: 400 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1,600 - 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 12.5 / 9.2
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.5