The all-new Infiniti Q60 has a heck of a fight on its hands, and we don’t envy it.
The premium coupe segment is where manufacturers like to work your endorphins to peak frenzy to get you to buy, buy, buy their latest sweethearts.
And they have been offering up some tasty temptations.
Tempting to swoon the 2-door dollars out of your wallet are the handsome and proven BMW 4-series, surprisingly good upstart Cadillac ATS, stunning Lexus RC, Mercedes' rounded C-Class coupe, and just-introduced Audi A5.
And if that’s not enough to get your head spinning, just about every manufacturer now offers a 4-cylinder, turbo entry model, 6-cylinder mid-model, and a high-performance top model.
So, where does the Q60 fit in all of this? And which one to buy? Let us, your trusted friends at Car_Revs_Daily show you the way to Nirvana. Or at least a hot-looking coupe worthy of your garage.
And hot-looking is a good way to describe the new Q60. The Q comes from a lineage of swaggerly sportsters, starting with the Infiniti G35, followed by the even better looking G37. A couple years ago, the poor G37 got caught in Infiniti’s name-change-o-rama and became the Q60, which like all name changes, confuses the heck out of the buying public. Besides, G sounds tougher than Q. Unless you're a 007 fan.
Anyhoo, Mr. Bond might just want to trade in that Aston when he sees the new Q60. This is a seriously handsome car, with a bold aggressive front, highlighting the corporate Infiniti snout, and sharp curves and bulges in the right places. Details that catch the eye include the notched c-pillar, tasteful chrome accents, aero-look panels on the rear fascia, and the use of LED signature lighting.
Our tester, a non-sport Q60 3.0t model in a rather subdued Iridium Blue, still got lots of attention. A Red Sport 400 in Dynamic Sunstone Red, may have been whiplash-inducing in passersby. And probably would have caught the eye of the local law as well.
That’s probably best, as once you plop down into the interior, the juices start flowing. One trend we’ve noticed in the generations of the G-Q, is tighter interior dimensions and a slowly disappearing back seat. The G35 was almost sedan-like, the G37 more coupe-ish, and the Q60 really feels like you’re strapping on a sports car. Forget the rear seat, unless you have very small kids.
Those up front have the better experience. The curviness of the exterior carries into the interior, and while our tester was supposed to be the luxury model, it felt very sporty. There’s a dual-screen navigation/info-tainment system, plus frequently-used controls underneath and on either side of the lower screen. It’s a little fussy at first, but you acclimate quickly.
Our tester stepped up to it Premium moniker with some tasteful options, including dark maple wood trim, and semi-aniline leather trim. Also enhancing the experience was the Premium Plus Package (say that fast, three times!) which gives the fancy Navigation package, plus heated front seats and steering wheel, remote engine start, memory system for seats and steering column, etc. All pretty much standard fare on luxury vehicles these days.
Despite all the luxo, we think if you took the badges off, and asked people what they were sitting in, they’d guess a next-generation Nissan 370Z. It feels like classic Nissan Sports Car, elevated.
And that is exactly how it drives.
Let’s start under the hood. For the new Q60, you’ve got three choices of engines, a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that pushes out 208 hp, (note to Nissan – this motor would be awesome in the Sentra Nismo), a 300 hp, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6, and a pumped-up, 400 horsepower version of that V6 for Red Sport models.
Our tester had the 300-horse motor, and it’s a sweetheart. Power is velvety smooth, linear, and very refined. Around town on easy throttle it keeps to itself, but pop into Sport Mode and lean on it, and the V6 gives some serious push. If you remember the coarseness of the previous 3.7-liter V6 that powers many Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, the refinement is a revelation.
The 7-speed automatic is a quick and able companion, and we like the downshift rev-matching feature. We would have liked paddle shifters, but this Q didn’t have them. OK, this is not the sporty version, but it was noticeable in its absence.
Our tester did have the optional Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) – the industry’s first steer-by-wire system. With the ability to control the steering ratio as well as assistance, we liked it. In Sport, the initial response to the wheel is very quick – some may feel it makes the Q nervous – but we liked the aggressive vibe when cornering.
Feel is about the same as most electric power steering systems - not as tactile as the old hydraulic systems, but every generation of this kind of technology seems to bring more and better feel. It’s up to you if you want to pop $1,000 to have one-upsmanship with your coupe-driving counterparts.
The ride is a bit of a surprise. We weren’t sure if we were going to get a luxo-creampuff, but our Q60 Premium rode more like a sports car. Firm, but well controlled.
And this is where we think you find the real kernel of truth with these performance coupes. The DNA that spawns them ultimately defines them. The Lexus RC, for all its great design and snarly bits, still feels like a luxury vehicle treading into sporty territory. The BMW 4-series is a 3-series sedan at heart – with some stylish threads.
And the Q? Again, that 370Z vibe comes through. To us the Q is a modern, refined Z – willing to give up some of the premium-ness for the joy of the drive. Z-lovers who need more space, want the latest tech – and maybe a trunk –, here’s your car.
How much you ask? Well the basic 4-cylinder turbo Q starts at $38,950 – if you want a sporty ride with nice equipment and good efficiency, stop here. All-wheel-drive adds $2,000. The 3.0t Premium like our tester starts at $44,300. Ours was loaded with all the goodies except all-wheel drive, and came in at $55,255.
For comparison, the BMW 440i coupe starts at $48,500, comparably-equipped it was just under $58,000. The new Audi A5 starts at $42,800, loaded up, we tallied $55,000 – but it only comes with a 252-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the 400-hp Q60 Red Sport 400 starts at just $51,300. The temptation of that power might be too much for us to resist.
That said, we came away impressed with our Q60 3.0t. We like that it has the soul of a sports car, an aggressive, palpable attitude. It’s also a step up from the previous model. Other coupes may be more spacious, a little fancier, but Infiniti went their own way here, and we applaud that. And for those who treasure the drive more than just bells and whistles, the Q60 is a very strong choice.