Power over everything!
There is a specific subset of hot coupe shoppers who place speed at the top of their list.
Then there are the people drawn in by the beauty and elegance of a two-door. Then once on the test drive, they realize what true torque and big turbo boost feels like.
For both groups, there is no going back.
This is the 400HP threshold we’re talking about. And for many, it opens a new world of driving pleasure.
The first outing with Q60 RS400 was filled with raw shock at its performance capabilities and sensual beauty.
Our second here zooms in on the incredible chassis and handling balance that makes Q60 such a driver’s favorite.
We uncover some curious elements of this base-model Red Sport this time, too.
But one long jab of the throttle is enough to forgive a missing Nav system. 400 times over!
Standard section headings and a very watchable drive review video to share here.
HD Performance Drive Review
Is there a more beautiful sports coupe on the market in 2017 and 2018? Not to our eyes.
The Q60’s delicate, blown-glass aesthetic appeal starts right from up front. The swirl of grille with wide lower edge balloons out into the lower splitter and sharp bumper edges. It is a form that recalls a strong jawline – but ever so balanced by sweeping smoothness in the cheekbones/fenders.
Q60 in this gorgeous Iridium Blue makes you embrace its luxury mission as well as sport. While there is a lot of chrome for our eyes, the dark blue sets it off beautifully up front and in the pinched, flowing C-pillar graphic.
Into the bodysides, we find deeply flared fenders at both ends of the car. A sharp clothesline of a beltline up top marks the sharp outward flow of the wheel wells, in contrast with the sucked-in middle door metal. Down below is a biting, sharp sill extension that plants the Q60 beautifully low atop the pavement. Between these sharp horizontal lines is almost a hanging silk lightness and soft flow for the forward-leaning, vertical front fender vents.
Badging ahead of the doors reads 3.0T – shared with the middle Q60 engine – and also a red S.
This red S appears on the pert tail too – and is one of the only ways to distinguish this biggest powerplant from its 300HP sibling. The other way is the drilled exhaust pipe edges.
But it is a deeply subtle, and deeply luxurious look to Q60 in this blue that sticks to the brain. Very rare to have such a velvet sheath atop performance-car aggression, stance and performance.
No boy-racer spoilers or big exhaust cans, here. No blacked-out elements either. Those might make Q60 Red Sport 400 look as special outside as it drives. But not strictly needed, and their absence sets Q60 apart from A5, 440i, C400 and of course Camaro or Mustang on the road. Q60 is for a classier sort of driver.
Cabin of Q60 has a lot of greatness, but a lot of carry-over from the previous G37 and current Q50. Some of it is a bit of both.
On the greatness front, the G37 donates its amazing seating position, its stellar range of steering wheel adjustment and that planted sense that comes from a low-roof, low-bum center of gravity.
Updates do abound: there are unique, and authentic, carbon-fiber woven elements as the main cabin finishes. This multi-colored woven detail is slightly metallic, slightly moody and certainly very classy and unique.
Even with no options (at all – more on this later), the Q60 RS400 has ultra soft leathers, fantastically supportive power seats and even adjustable side bolsters. Standard moonroof, leather stitched dashboard and lovely metals for the main buttons like the drive mode selector. All very fitting for such a sexy coupe.
The 13-speaker Bose premium audio with metallic speaker shields is another generous standard feature for the Q60 RS400. Worth recalling is how fast 440i GranCoupe or 340i race to $60k+ once they have options like Infiniti’s Surround-View parking cams.
Things went slightly downhill when we parked the Q60 beside a friend’s 2009 G37S Coupe.
You instantly notice a lot of continuity here, despite so much time between. Exact same key?! Nearly identical placements for all buttons, stalks and controls? Sure, this is good for loyal owners to know the car by heart right away. But progress seems to have left Q60 cabin behind in some ways.
Exact same trunk release button in the rear lamps pops the trunk up on the same exact strut hinges. Is this a facelift or an all-new car? Pleasantly surprised to find a larger, lower and deeper trunk in Q60 than G37S. But then we realized how: the Q60 has no spare and relies on run-flat tires.
This Q60’s lack of options also leaves the driver somewhat bored with the displays. The giant top screen is basically a trip computer and clock without the Nav/ Tech pack option. The central mid-cluster display is also pretty barren and yestertech for the performance displays on offer.
Lastly, we overlooked the awkward middle touchscreen on previous reviews. But it is pretty awkward to use versus the industry’s best, or even iDrive. Simple things like radio presets? Good luck.
That being said, the Bluetooth and media integration is bang up to date. (Albeit without CarPlay or Android Auto.)
So, Q60 cabin is a mixed bag. Lots of great carryover elements make this a sporty and plush place to be. But lots of carryover from G37 (and the entire dash shape from Q50) make this cockpit feel less special than it could.
A final gripe was instantly audible once we started up both generations of cars. Q60 has virtually no exhaust or engine note, while G37S fires up and revs with a guttural, macho bellow.
Speed! Power! G-forces!
Q60 delivers in spades. The upgrade to this new VR engine series with its turbochargers certainly does not lack for thrust. And if you listen closely, the Infiniti exhaust note is hiding in those mufflers somewhere. [A sport exhaust from Infiniti really brings Q60’s sonics to life.]
400 strong, true horsepower are available at all times in this Q60. Its 350 pound-feet of torque arrive low in the revs and punt the car forward with glee.
Then the turbines start spinning like mad and the Q60 races to its redline in all seven gears like a junky.
It has to have that redline, right now!
A public 4.5-second sprint to 60 feels more like 4.3 or 4.4. Q60 just pounces on MPH like a cheetah.
The seven-speed automatic is cruisy and silent, smooth and easy. It lacks knife-edged downshifts or instant shift paddle response, however.
Another performance gripe – beyond lack of sound – is the lack of a limited-slip differential.
This test car has digital adaptive suspension as standard, but lacked the optional $1000 super-active steering. The purity of feel around corners is sublime in both machines. As is the creamy ride quality at all times. And, for that matter, the near total lack of body roll/dive/squat. So, so balanced and heavenly to manhandle.
We missed the super steering for its sharp, speedy bite in hard corners. It seemed, on the silver car, to make up for the lack of rear traction at times.
The standard steering has more low-speed feel, and is plenty informative at max attack. It just feels a little more sedate than the active steering option.
Automatic is now the only gearbox in the USA, but AWD is available. And rumored to be deliciously GT-R esque at launch and around corners.
Q60 RS400 in rear drive is very, very grippy around corners. But dead ahead, the Q60 RS400 is almost always spinning its tires on full throttle. This is fun and hilarious, yes, and smooth, too. No axle tramp. But at some point, you notice how Q60 spins away inside-wheel power more than it should.
Back again to the core mission: stylish, sporty luxury with a huge helping of SPEED!
But none of the typical sport-coupe downsides like a rocky ride, lumpy motor or teenage optics and sonics.
Q60 coupes come with a base turbo four from about $38k. The mid-spec engine bumps it up a few grand, and this Red Sport 400 tallies $52k at its more affordable.
With Nav and the sport seats, plus the active steering and auto-driving helpers, Q60 can top out around $60k.
Power. Over. Everything.
As a mantra, this means the Q60 Red Sport 400 driver will be satisfied daily with whip-crack passes of slower traffic. Elated at every on-ramp and positively salivating for stop-light drag races.
Q60 RS400 is, at its core, a sports coupe to make its driver smile from ear to ear.
This turbo engine goes a long, long way to making Q60 a rolling fun factory. We can’t help but wish for more boyracer looks, more evocative sounds and perhaps more raw track grip.
All that is just a bit of tuning away, however.
For those who want comfort and style along with warp speeds on command? Q60 Red Sport 400 hits your bullseye.
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.