2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport review – international first drive
Paul Horrell’s international first drive 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport review with specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
IN A NUTSHELL: Infiniti’s new 2+2 is visually arresting, fast, packed with technology and beautifully made. Not vastly arresting for the driver though. It’s best at munching long distances rather than carving twisty backroads.
2017 INFINITI Q60 RED SPORT
PRICING TBA WARRANTY 4 YEARS 100,000KM ENGINE 3.0L TWIN-TURBOCHARGED PETROL V6 Power 298KW at 6400RPM Torque 475NM at 1600-5200RPM TRANSMISSION 7 SPEED AUTOMATIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE DIMENSIONS 4690MM (L); 2052MM (W INC MIRRORS); 1395MM(H) TURNING CIRCLE 11.4M SEATS 4 TARE WEIGHT 1825KG FUEL TANK 80L FUEL CONSUMPTION 9.1L/100KM COMBINED CYCLE FUEL PETROL 95 RON SPARE NO (RUN FLAT TYRES) TOWING TBA
NISSAN’S PREMIUM ARM Infiniti isn’t a big player here and is better known for crossovers and the hulking QX80 luxo-4×4. But here’s a powerful and stylish new 2+2. It’s a coupe version of the Q50 saloon, but has a new AWD option, and the suspension is tauter and there are a few other tweaks too.
According to Inifiniti, Australia will get the Q60 2.0 turbo-petrol from late November, while the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 model we’ve driven here will arrive Down Under late in the first quarter of next year. Pricing and local specifications will be announced closer to the local launch.
With any coupe, exterior design is a priority, and Infiniti has gone for a big splash with this new 2+2 fastback. The sharp-eyed headlights frame a characteristic arched grille. Along the body’s side a pair of distinctive deep liquid creases run back through the body at hip height. That reverse-crescent chromed trailing edge to the rear side glass is another trademark Infiniti feature.
Under the skin we find a brand-new twin-turbo V6 engine and in RWD or, as tested, all-wheel drive with a rear bias. A remarkable optional steer-by-wire system ramps up the effectiveness of several of the advanced driver assist systems.
WHAT’S THE INTERIOR LIKE?
Inside the Q60 is generally a fine place to spend time. The front seats feel soft and plush, but support you well over a long haul – Infiniti says it consulted with NASA experts over this. The driving position is good, and the instruments clear.
Material quality is excellent, and stitched leather washes over the dash and doors. Other interesting materials add highlights, including a pearly fibre-optic woven glass. The stereo is a 13-speaker high-end job by Bose.
The infotainment system is extremely comprehensive, so uses two stacked touchscreens one above another, and a rotary push-twist controller behind the transmission lever. Once you’ve got used to it, the options are enormous, but the control logic is inconsistent and there are clashes in typography and graphic style between the two screens. Lexus systems suffer that problem too.
The manufacturer would probably say there are four seats. There are, but the back ones aren’t great for head room, even if they do get a pair of cupholders between, and easily reached ISOFIX mounts for two child seats. If you need to carry adults behind, you can have what’s otherwise very much the same interior in the Q50 saloon.
WHAT’S IT LIKE ON THE ROAD?
The new engine, codenamed VR, is descended from Nissan/Infiniti’s famed VQ 3.7-litre V6. But because its now got turbos it needs just 3.0-litres to develop its 298kW. A light block, direct injection, and friction-reducing measures help make it efficient. By mounting the turbos close to the inlet valves they claim to have cut lag too.
Actually there can still be lag, so best to pre-empt it by pulling the downshift paddle to prepare the seven-speed autobox if you’re feeling lively. Then you get a powerful high-rev performer backed by a muted but satisfying growl. At cruising speeds the engine is a muscular and relaxed companion, its sound fading to the background.
An option fitted to the test car is Infiniti’s Direct Active Steering. This severs the mechanical link from your hands to the steering rack. (Well there is still a steering column, but it’s used only in emergency failure mode.) Instead DAS takes your wheel inputs and cross-checks against the speed you’re travelling at before its processors decide how much steering lock to apply. So at low speed it gives a lot of lock for small hand movements, and at high speed it does the opposite, so as things don’t get twitchy.
Also it can compensate for road roughness and camber, so you proceed serenely forward even if the surface is disturbed. Finally, with the active lane assist system turned on, it guides the car much more smoothly than the disconcertingly bitty steering inputs you get from Tesla or Mercedes autonomous steering.
That’s all good, but the downside is that although in most cornering the effort for your hands is well calibrated, it doesn’t feel very natural when you’re probing the limits of grip. That probably isn’t a big issue – this car has so much grip, and AWD traction, that the outer bounds of the cornering envelope is a place you’ll visit only very rarely. You get endless configuration choices for the weight of the steering, the effective gearing, and the behaviour of the adaptive dampers, but they don’t alter the fundamental character of the car.
So in the end we have a smooth and quick cruiser, rather than an out-and-out sports coupe. It’s quiet too, as active noise cancellation largely combats tyre and wind racket. Sink into those plush seats and relax.
WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY FEATURES?
The closely related Q50 saloon got itself a five-star ANCAP rating. The Q60’s active safety is up with the best. For example, many cars now have some sort of autonomous braking at city speeds, if the driver neglects to hit the pedal when the vehicle ahead stops, but there are limits to the effectiveness of AEB. More expensive cars have such systems using longer-range sensors so they can work at highway speed, and with pedestrian detection. This Infiniti goes further, in what the firm says is a unique refinement. Its system interpreting the returning signal so that it can get traces bounced off the road under the vehicle ahead, and detect the next but one. This means the radar cruise should work more smoothly, and in a quick stop gives the warning and auto-brake systems extra time to kick in.
Other systems include lane keeping assistance, which works particularly smoothly if you have the optional active steering. Blind-spot detection will actively pull you back into lane if you move across the path of a vehicle in the next lane.
An around-view monitor can help avoids parking biffs – or infinitely worse, reversing into a child hidden below the rear window. The car will even stop itself if it detects an object while going backwards, for instance reversing into traffic from a parking space.