2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 – HD Road Test Review



The Infiniti Q60 is a rolling climax.  This is a car whose excellence is the stuff of dreams.  Made real, this design and powertrain come together to become the stuff of legends.

One week with the car is far too short.  We can still hear its ultra-smooth twin-turbo surge toward its redline.  Still feel its back wheels break traction in the smoothest, most nonchalant drifts and burnouts ever.  And still see its stunning beauty as it becomes more special, more breathtaking from each angle.

With pricing from $51k but power that nearly matches the BMW M4 costing $25k more, the Q60 Red Sport 400 is a car that shook us to the core.  So, so incredibly outstanding, in fact, that it is our 2017 SuperCoupe of the year.  No spoiler alert needed if you’ve watched our half-dozen videos of the car in action.  Gushing praise as easily as the boost builds on this GT-R-cousin of an engine.

In fact, this first HD Drive Video is our fastest ever.  Both in how fast it demolished our backroad test course AND how fast the video views count is rising.  It just crested 105k views and is still climbing the charts by the day. (!)

HD Drive Review Part Two

Also a walkaround video, photo slideshow and 100 pics to accompany the normal review headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance and Pricing.

But is the Q60 RS400 perfect?  Not quite.  But damn close.

EXTERIOR

You are certainly able to see the Q60’s design details on photo and video.  And you can appreciate its sleek, racy and rear-drive proportions even from 100 paces.

But then you get up close, in person.  And you realize: this design might be the most stunning and fresh of any luxury car in ages.  None of that 911-style slow crawl of evolution.  Here is a Q60 whose design literally takes a quantum leap into the future versus its G37/Q60 predecessor.

How so different from the Q50 sedan?  Not a panel shared between the two, and quite dramatic changes to the aerodynamics package: low and vertical nose, ‘zero-lift’ chin splitter and shrouded underbody.  And a clean finish out back that delivers downforce above 150-mph without the usual boyracer spoilers or deep diffusers.

Favorite elements?  The nose is unbelievably new in the flesh: a new shape for the Infiniti grille is newly pinched at the top corners, where the chrome edge flows right into the full-LED headlamps and their check/slash of white daytime running light.  This ribbon of light wraps the bi-LED projector beams cleanly and with elegance unseen on any other cars on the road.  Same for its shockingly cook amber LED turn signal.  This flips the entire DRL from white to bright, crisp amber that looks heavenly in normal traffic.  A special car navigating a world of drones and clones.  The lower LED foglamps are wrapped in a chrome edge piece that emphasizes the low, wide feel of the car from the front.

 

HD Walkaround Video / Design Analysis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XxfJsvw0Q4

 

And a chin splitter sharp enough to cut class!  This extending piece forms twin fangs to direct air under the car or into the engine compartment’s many intercoolers and radiators.  Then as quick as the air rushes in, it is ignited and boosted and re-ignited again before ejection from the twin exhaust pipes in back. Extra air escapes from the functional fender vents behind the front wheels.

Into the side profile, almost everything is stunning and double-take-inducing.  Starting at the low, low roof, we see a new glasshouse with with a unique chopped C-pillar base.  This inverted pinch of chrome accent makes clear how unique and special the Q60’s design is.

And it keeps improving.  Into the doors and beltline of the car, the Q60 wears a slim and sharp crease for its full length — slicing the door handle before melding back into the bulging fenders.  Below this crisp crease, the bodywork takes a wild chance: becoming deeply concave and artful as refracts light differently at every time of day.  All this leads to a low, lean and chic effect on the eye.  And not done yet!  The lower sills have double layers of crisp lines in the lower door edges and wide, functional aero sills.

The tracks and wheels are so wide and proud that the Q60 even wears integrated mudflaps to protect the liquid silver bodywork from any pebbles. Design-wise, the rock guards just prove how intensely functional the Q60’s shape and forms really are.

A fresh tail includes much to delight and intrigue, as well.  Double ribbon slashes of LED brake lights ride high and horizontal at the edges of the Q60’s rounded tail.  A pair of subtle lower creases and the edges of the bumper add visual intrigue, as does the contrast gloss-black element behind the back wheels.  Zero lift indeed!

ANY gripes or wishlist elements?

Only a few.  We wish the RS400 had more to set it apart from the Q60S in the middle of the lineup.  The RS400 even wears the same Q60S and 3.0t badges as its cheaper and less-exclusive siblings.  People should know how special this machine is — and some RS badges would help nicely.

The RS400 has unique tailpipes versus the 2.0t and 3.0t models, but they are no-where near as larger and incharge as the previous IPL G37.  Both visually and sonically, the Q60 RS400 would benefit from being a little more visually boastful.  Not conceited, just proud of who it is as the quickest-ever Infiniti production car.   More on this later — as there is a factory upgrade to help!

 

INTERIOR

The cabin of the Q60 RS400 nails the fundamentals with ease and elan.  The ultra supportive and low-slung buckets set the mood in blood red.  The new-for-Q60 steering wheel is a gem in the hands and to the eye.  That ultra small central boss for the airbag leaves the spokes free for you to manhandle this machine around corners even easier.

But there are familiar details. The core dashboard shape is borrowed from the Q50 so feels a bit less special.  Helping up the ante are the metallic Bose Performance speaker grills that recall the $10k Burmeister units of some top cars these days.  And our test car wears a no-cost optional silver weave for its door and central-stack accents.  This looks like basic silver on video, but in the flesh is actually fantastically new and interesting to the eye.  The real weave of silver threads look a bit like carbotanium and are unlike anything this author has seen elsewhere.  Unique and fresh.

Functionally, the cabin is a piece of cake and our test car has everything you could want: heated/cooled seats, auto highbeams, double touchscreens (upper and lower) and modern tech integration unseen on the Q70L or other top Infiniti’s.  Things like the mid-cluster display are now full-featured, high-res units.   Missing the Google Earth nav screen from the latest Audi’s, but still damn near perfect technologically.

We even like the new engagement setting for the active-safety systems like lane-keep and active cruise.  You now have one button on the steering wheel to turn on — or turn off — these helpers.

PERFORMANCE

Q60 RS is a dream to drive.  It is 4.4-second FAST to 60-mph and spins its back tires in dry weather like the world is covered in black ice.  Effortless, giggle-inducing and serotonin-releasing power means you can break the RS400’s tail loose AT. ANY. TIME!  So much fun and so much power.

It does hook up cleanly, though, when you want it to.  And you’d best hold on when it does.  This new engine’s 400HP and 350 pound-feet of torque make for an unstoppable, ravenous rise from zero to 100-mph and beyond.  Simply joyful thrust at all times.  The Q60 RS400’s engine is already winning global awards for its incredible speed and manners — and it deserves many more.  Incredibly lag-free with in-gear midrange power than embarasses the M4 we drove for comparison.  No flat spots in the rev band — just endless power and a rising crescendo of turbo hiss bliss.

What about the Steering?

There are two main questions enthusiasts have about the Q60 once they are spellbound by its beauty: how is the steering, and how fast is it, really?

Many of these G37 Coupe owners know that the handling balance will still be perfect.  They know that the car will make every drive a fun-fest.  So now they want details: how is the direct-adaptive steering?  Our test car had the $1000 optional super-active steering feature and we LOVED it.  This steer-by-wire system changes dramatically in different drive modes — more than possible with other systems — and has limitless ratios for how quick or heavy the feel can be.

In Sport Plus, the drive mode we used most often, the Q60 is pure and clean and meaty around corners.  FAST turn-in is full of feel and genuinely playful at max attack speeds.  It is heavy and real in feel around corners and under throttle.

But in traffic, the steering is lighter than air.  Even in Sport Plus, the Q60 RS400’s helm makes life easy in traffic.  It is in these low-speed, idling-in-traffic scenarios where the steering feels slightly unnatural.  It is just so much lighter and quicker than any you’ve felt, and does not have much resistance or the feel of an M4.  But who needs feel and heft in traffic?  Q60 can be driven with one finger under 15-mph.  But as you gain speed, or start attacking corners, the helm comes alive.

It feels pure and heavy like a GT-R around corners, but balanced and light at straight-ahead.  Our test car was RWD but AWD is available, so that car may feel different.

But in our hands, the Q60 RS400 felt as perfect to our fingers as lover’s cheek.

How’s that for praise!? =]

No Manual Transmission?

The seven-speed is sharp and incredible attentive, but lacks the mechanized and heavy feel of the M4 Competition package on downshifts — and also is smoother on full-throttle upshifts than the M-DCT or S-tronic double clutches of the world.  BUT it is also smooth and silent in traffic without any effort — which no M4 automatic really is.

We also lack the stickshift option whatsoever in the US market.  For those on a manuals-only kick, please try this transmission before rejecting it.  Paired with ENDLESS power from the new turbo engines, the transmission always comes up roses and full of thrust in any gear.

Check the videos for how snappy the upshifts are, or how cleanly the car will bounce off its rev limiter and snick through gears on its perfect paddles.

 

Where does the Q60 RS400 fall a bit short of performance PERFECTION?

The only performance area where Q60 didnt K.O. our expectations?  Its exhaust note.  Not much excitement on startup or even in launch starts.   The sounds of the Q60 are dominated by V6 induction howl and turbo boost whirrrrr.  It is very GT-R-ish in its big turbo whoosh excitment on full throttle — but lacks the exhaust note of the RC-F or M4 or C63.

Luckily, there is a $700 factory accessory to sportify the exhaust system — and this can be installed right at the dealership.  Props to YouTube commenters for this tidbit of info!

 

PRICING

The Q60 is priced from about $39k with its standard turbo four.  This rises a bit on the Q60S with its detuned V6TT and up to a $51k base for the Q60 RS400.  We added the tech package, super-active steering and a few other details that took the sticker to $59k out-the-door.

Misplaced its actual window sticker – sorry for being vague here on options.

What we do know is that for this speed, beauty and handling brilliance: the Q60 RS400 at $60k is one of the best performance bargains available for 2017.

SUMMARY

Not perfect, then?

If you forced us to find some places, we’d point to the aforementioned lack of flagship exterior badging and mellow exhaust note that could be much louder.  Only one other thing, it is seriously silly.  But Q60 is so sleek, streamlined and rounded that there is big wind buffeting with the moonroof open at highway speeds.  Boo hoo!

Also, the front splitter is quite low – we’d recommend being very careful with steep driveways to around scraping.

That is it.

The Q60 Rs400 is a future classic and a top-two car here at Car-Revs-Daily.com.  Among cars we’ve driven for the weeklong test, only the $120k Jaguar F-Type R AWD charmed us more.

Above all the Lexus F cars, above the M2, M4 or M5 Competition Packs, above the Porsche 911 3.0TT, and near the top of what seems possible for an automobile in general.

A MUST-DRIVE vehicle that is life-changing in its power and feel.

The Q60 Red Sport 400 is the Car-Revs-Daily.com SuperCoupe of the year for 2017.

We miss it deeply even a month after our tearful goodbyes.

Check out the mega gallery of all our Q60 photos over at this link. 

 

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine.He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.