Being a sporty car is a pretty tough gig any way you cut it, even more so when you’re saddled with the expectations of a prestige marque. You’re expected to be both engaging to drive and comfortable to cruise in - luxurious and effervescent. A pillow and a shot of adrenaline.
For Infiniti, one of the newer brands to join the ranks alongside the German triumvirate next to Lexus and Jaguar, this seemed quite a challenge, particularly because nearly all rivals have managed to hone their respective entrants into very impressive all-rounders.
They started with a stunning concept car and to their great credit managed to amalgamate that into a coupe version of their Q50 sedan in quite a graceful manner. Could Infiniti produce the other ingredients necessary to evoke the emotional responses to sell? After all, choosing to buy a coupe isn’t much of a logical decision.
Quite like the Q50, the premium offshoot of Nissan keeps it simple with this two-door. On paper, it delivers some outstanding inclusions on its equipment list along with some tasty engines - a 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre petrol that’s spread over just 3 variants. Things kick off with the entry GT, moves up to the Sport Premium, and peaks at the fully-loaded Red Sport.
All it needs now is to deliver on the occasional spirited drive and an interior that hits the right balance of panache and palatial. Once it’s done that, Infiniti Q60 can hold its head high alongside the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series, and Audi A5. That, though, is so much easier said than done.
“It also looks fantastic. The design really stands out compared to the somewhat boring current crop including the C-Class, 4 Series and A5, though it lacks the polarising visual drama of the Lexus RC.” - CarAdvice
There’s no denying the Q60 has some great genetics. Infiniti’s Q60 Concept car shown at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show has pretty much been beamed into showrooms with so little changed in that transition. On looks alone, and depending on your taste, the Infiniti definitely punches hard against its closest competition.
Smooth lines are plentiful here, some so subtle that they are only observable from a certain angle. However, and this can’t be said about every Infiniti, what sets this one apart is how it looks good from both a distance and up close. There’s also an attention to detail here that’s evidenced by the many little but deliberate design touches found all over this exterior.
There are no big spoilers or aero bits of dubious functionality, resulting in a very slippery body with drag coefficient of 0.29, and all come standard with 19-inch alloys. Unlike a lot of the Q60’s competitors, even the base GT has ample presence on the road (or parked) to warrant a double take or a lingering eye. Other makes almost shame you into the sporty trim to fully realise the car’s sex appeal, but the Infiniti’s inherent handsomeness already carries it pretty far along. Again, though, this will ultimately boil down to a matter of preference.
Engine and Powertrain
“The car’s 2.0-litre engine sounds a bit gruff at idle and on step-off, but settles to a quiet cruise. It falls short of the tractability you might expect of it on the basis of that 258lb ft claim for peak torque though, needing revs to make the car pick up speed with much urgency – and, even in Sport mode, leaving you exposed to the hesitancy of the seven-speed automatic gearbox.” - Autocar
Of the two engine choices, the GT and mid-range Sport Premium arrive with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 155kW and 350Nm that follows a familiar recipe to other premium coupes of this size. Power delivery on this unit is linear and adequately strong. Really, for the needs of many city dwellers and occasional weekend excursionists, that’s all the engine one would need.
Stepping up to the line-topping Q60 Red Sport, though, ratchets up the feel good factor considerably thanks to Infiniti’s new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. This VR30DDTT comes from the same family of V6s that power the R35 Nissan GT-R, boasting water-cooled air charging and dual intercoolers to produce 298kW and 475Nm.
It’ll make some very pleasing six-cylinder noises while producing serious acceleration that, if you’re not expecting its peak torque delivery at 1,600rpm, is almost surprising in a car like this. Floor the throttle, the resulting fury can comfortably compete with that of a BMW's S55.
However, it’s a shame that Infiniti hasn’t fitted a transmission quite worthy of this engine. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic that is smooth, competently predictive, and capable of some efficient returns. Ask it to keep up with more spirited driving, though, particularly with the Red Sport’s athletic V6, and this shifter starts to unravel. The paddle shifters are useful (not included in the GT spec), but as this gearbox has been clearly optimised for smoothness, be prepared for a less than immediate response after engaging a manual up- or downshift.
“Letting things down slightly are certain buttons and displays that can be found in cheaper cars from the Nissan range of cars, although some may never notice.” - What Car?
In terms of differences between the Q60 and Q50, the spot with the least amount of contrast has to be the interior, at least in terms of facade. The leather seats are nicer overall in the coupe, though, and while headroom can be an issue stemming from the car’s sleek roofline, it might be a price worth paying.
Quality of the cabin itself is very high, and doesn’t lose out to the Q60’s European rivals for build or materials. But just like the sedan it’s based on, there’s an inelegance to how Infiniti brings together a seeming random collection of textures and densities rather than following a more uniform layout. Some of the switchgear are lifted from Nissan, which you might not be able to unsee.
There’s a lot going on with this interior, at least in terms of the things you are touching and looking at, and at first the sheer visual complexity may be a little jarring if you’re more accustomed to the minimal philosophies other automakers are rapidly adopting.
For more practical concerns, the Q60’s big boot is about as commodious as you’d need it to be in a car of this class (341-litres), extensible if need be for longer items by its folding the down the rear seats. Speaking of which, it goes without saying that you’d be limited to ferrying children or an uncomfortable adult should the front passenger seat be occupied - let’s just say it’s no C-Class Coupe.
Behind The Wheel
“The chassis is all about competence rather than involvement: you have to trust its high limits, but you don’t feel them or play with them. Part of that is the active steering that’s standard in the V6: there’s no physical link from steering wheel to tyres.” - Top Gear
Around town and in the countryside, there’s really quite a lot to like about the Q60’s driving experience. The car is composed and comfortable, quiet and quite cosseting, overall an accomplished GT car. Definitely on par with anything with a German badge can offer in this regard, for this price.
Honestly, if you’re in the market for a luxury coupe for leisurely drives, interspersed with some rapid speed and sonorous engine noises (in the Red Sport), the Q60 delivers all these goods. It’s only when you’re rushing the car that things can start to go awry.
First of all, no matter which chassis setting is chosen, there’s always a sense of inaccuracy to how the Q60 behaves. More than that, this also is due to the lack of connection (and therefore confidence) between the driver and front wheels. Obviously, this is in reference to Infiniti’s clever but polarising Direct Adaptive Steer system.
In the Q60, only the base GT receives a conventional hydraulic but electrically assisted steering rack. In the Sport Premium and Red Sport, though, the input of the driver is continuously being analysed and interpreted by the car’s onboard computer before actually being applied as steering angle to the front wheels. You might turn the wheel suddenly in the hopes of intentionally unsettling the rear end, but the computer might think it knows better than you silly human and end up turning the wheel much less abruptly to maintain stability, with one left feeling a little emasculated.
This steer-by-wire system can be infuriating, but again this is only the case when you’re pushing it beyond how most Infiniti buyers are expected treat their cars. If you learn to trust the system, the adaptive system can provide a more relaxed experience, but this seems to fly in the face of the Red Sport’s entire existence. If Infiniti borrowed some Nissan GT-R handling knowhow for this 298kW Q60 variant, it could have easily become a worthy alternative to the BMW M4 and AMG C 43.
Safety and Technology
Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment and connectivity system that is relatively intuitive, but slightly disjointed in its dual-screen design.” - Motoring.com.au
You’ll either tolerate or outright loathe Infiniti’s dual-screen approach to the infotainment stack, another vestige of the Q50. Their thinking was that navigation and certain other ‘always-on’ data should receive their dedicated screen (top), freeing up the bottom screen to be touch sensitive and in charge of the more complex feature juggle. But any way you slice it, the system itself is just not as intuitive or slick to use as the iDrive or MMI systems from BMW and Audi, respectively, nor as visually impressive.
That said, on the sheer feature list there is quite a lot that arrives as standard on the Q60, making sure that all variants tick the boxes when it comes to the list of tech must-haves a luxury car customers demand. In fact, the only thing that the base GT variant misses out on (but can be optioned) is the Active Noise Cancellation due to it not having the Bose Performance Series audio system and the 360-degree camera. Also, while satellite navigation with live traffic updates is an appreciable standard feature, Infiniti’s InTouch media interface does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
In terms of safety, ANCAP has awarded the car Q50 sedan with a full 5-star safety rating back in 2004. Ostensibly, the structural similarities would grant the Q60 coupe similar structural protection in a crash, but it is hard to say definitively until it gets put through the full gauntlet of trials.
It is quite stocked up on safety features, though, coming standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, as well as front, side chest, and curtain airbags. The Sport Premium and Red Sport variants also receive rear collision detection, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring.
The Infiniti Q60 is likely the most desirable car to emerge from the premium Japanese marque so far, and it’s plain that the engineering and design team fought hard to make it as visually appealing as possible. It’s also comfortable, well made, and quite fast especially if the 3.0-litre V6 in Red Sport guise applies.
Taken in insolation, then, the Q60’s talents shape it up to be an accomplished grand tourer. However, when compared to its key rivals, it just isn’t quite the all-rounder that it needed to be to sway new buyers in the kind of volume the company would want. It’s already the left-field choice and its coming to the table without a full deck of talents. It’s worth remembering, though, that the cards the Q60 does have are worthy of note for the more established players. If you know what you want and the Q60 tickles your fancy, go for it.
TopGear - 6/10 - “The external looks are pretty distinctive, and like any coupe the style is the draw. Like it and you’ll turn a blind eye to any other defects. Dislike it and no amount of dynamic talent will get you signing on the line.”
What Car? - 3/5 - “The Infiniti Q60 is a quick and decently refined sporting coupe, but it falls behind its rivals in too many key areas.”
Motor Trend - “Although we haven’t always been fans of Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering system (read our 2016 Q50 Red Sport 400 review here), Infiniti’s ambitious suite of performance and active safety tech might impress those looking for something different from their luxury sports coupe.”
CarAdvice - 7/10 - “If you want something different, the Infiniti could be the car for you, but it's still a fair way from the top.”
Autocar - 2/5 - “On performance, refinement, drivability, ride isolation, steering, packaging and infotainment sophistication, the Q60 just doesn’t survive comparison with what your money might otherwise buy – and it’d need to be much better to drive to get the enthusiast vote.”
Carwow - 6.9/10 - “Even as a left-field choice overall the Infiniti is not the one to go for – it just don’t have enough going for it entice to entice Mercedes, BMW and Audi drivers away from their tried-and-tested favourites.”
Motoring.com.au - 85/100 - “There’s no denying Infiniti has pulled off an excellent sports coupe that delivers good fun behind the wheel with a genuine luxury overlay. If Infiniti can get bums in seats it should have no trouble convincing punters away from the usual suspects. Fingers crossed.”