By Shari Prymak
2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 - Infiniti hasn’t always had a performance car in their model lineup. Their first foray into the segment was the G35, a sporty coupe based on the Nissan 350Z. It quickly gained an enthusiast following mostly for being a solid performance car that was also a reliable alternative to anything coming from Germany at the time. The G37 Coupe that followed was much of the same, but with a bit more luxury and technology thrown into the mix. The Q60 follows the same path while taking design and performance to a whole new level.
Back in its day, the G35 proudly claimed bragging rights for being the most powerful car in its segment, thanks to its naturally-aspirated VQ-Series V6 engine. In order to achieve class-topping power today, however, a naturally-aspirated engine just isn’t going to cut it, which is why the Q60 offers a range of turbocharged engines. The base unit is a Mercedes-sourced 2.0L 4-cylinder. The one to go for, however, is the Infiniti-designed, twin-turbocharged, 3.0L V6, which comes in two states of tune. The 3.0t models produces 300 horsepower and 295lb-ft of torque, and the top Red Sport 400 model makes an impressive 400 horsepower and 350lb-ft of torque. There are some Mercedes-AMG and BMW M products that can’t even match those figures.
I tested the Red Sport model for a week, and it is a solid all-around performer. The 0-100km/hr mark is dealt with in about 4.5 seconds, and it certainly feels it. The power is strong and effortless, yet a bit of a mismatch to the quiet exhaust system. An engine as special as this deserves to be heard, and I’d love to see a performance option down the road. Another minor gripe is 7-speed automatic transmission which, in manual mode, just doesn’t quite have the shift speed to keep up with the engine on full assault mode. For some reason, it also lacks the nice long metal steering wheel paddles found in other Nissan/Infiniti products, and instead uses comparably dinky-looking plastic bits. Even stranger, the 2.0t and 3.0t models go without paddle shifters altogether.
Minor gripes aside, the overall performance capabilities are still quite phenomenal. The Red Sport 400 comes with sport-tuned adjustable dampers and a clever Active Trace Control system to help provide excellent cornering feel and body control. The Brembo-supplied sport brakes too feel equally impressive. Many have moaned on about the optional steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering for its odd feel, but I don’t mind it. It’s incredibly responsive and no worse in terms of feel really than many other electric steering systems out there. Admittedly though, I’m not compelled to pay extra for it given that it’s optional.
For those who find the German coupes to be too conservative and the Lexus RC to be too polarizing, the Q60 should fit the bill perfectly. The sheet metal has all sorts of attractive curves, yet it isn’t over styled. This is one of the most stylish coupes to come out of Japan in a long time. Things on the inside, however, are a bit more subdued. The steering wheel and well-bolstered sport seats feel nice, and many of the controls are fairly straightforward. The interior just doesn’t look or feel all that special, nor does it really stand apart from the comparably ordinary Q50 sedan.
Pricing for the Q60 Red Sport 400 starts at $60,990, however, the 3.0t and 2.0t models start at a more reasonable $52,990 and $45,990 respectively. The Red Sport is the unquestionable star of the range, and next to a BMW 440i xDrive or Lexus RC350 F SPORT, a total performance bargain. My pick, however, would be the mid-range 3.0t. Its performance isn’t far off from what you get in the BMW, it easily surpasses that of the Lexus, and costs several thousand less than either. It’s also $8,000 less than the Red Sport, which is a substantial savings. A few enthusiasts may still gravitate towards the BMW, mostly because, at the moment, it still offers the option of a manual gearbox. For those looking for an automatic-equipped, performance deal, the Q60 undoubtedly has the upper hand on the BMW, and just about anything else with a premium badge and two doors.