The Infiniti Q60 Red Sport isn’t chocolate, so it can’t make everyone happy. It’s sure set up to try though.
Exactly as mild or as wild as you like.
Thanks to the deployment of Infiniti’s latest technologies and a clever drive-mode selector, drivers can fine-tune virtually every aspect of how this Japanese posh-rocket responds and behaves beneath them.
That drive mode selector ties into virtually all systems that have any effect on the way the Q60 feels at the tips of the driver’s fingers and toes, or beneath their backsides perched upon the creamy leather seats. Pick from a number of pre-set modes, or create your own with custom calibrations. It’s like visiting Subway for your favourite sandwich: combinations are nearly endless, and you can have something different, almost every single time.
In fact, if my math is right (which is unlikely) the Q60 can be dialled into some 112 possible setups.
And so, on its mission to do battle with familiars from Lexus, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, and others, the top-dog Q60 Red Sport holds a high degree of driving customization front and centre in its intention of wowing shoppers.
That, and its gorgeous sheet metal fanny, which you definitely won’t miss in a crowd.
Having a gander at the Q60 in real life, it’s hard to find a bad angle. I was quickly and strongly smitten by the styling, and this is one of those cars you need to see in person to really appreciate.
Basically, it’s a two-door take on the award-winning Infiniti Q50 sedan. Or the spiritual successor to the oh-so-popular Infiniti G37 coupe. Or a striking 400 horsepower capsule full to bursting with everything Infiniti has to offer. Consider this machine if you’re after something that’s comfortable, road trip ready, and aptly calibrated to make hours of scenery go flying by in stress-free comfort. It’s also very quick, eager to please, and offers up performance – sights and sounds and sensations – designed to get enthusiast drivers salivating.
So, luxury and performance are both up for grabs – but where does Q60 sit between these typically contradictory attributes? Just about anywhere you like.
Each tap on the drive-mode toggle triggers changes, optimizations, and unique calibrations in a multitude of vehicle systems. Steering feel, traction, handling response, ride quality, and even the sound of the engine are all up for manipulation. The AWD system is even configurable. Specifically, in Snow mode, it uses a locked-in 50/50 split between the axles for enhanced traction. All said, with just a few millimetres of fingertip movement, drivers can change a huge portion of the way the Q60 feels and responds. You can set this machine up to be exactly as mild or as wild as you like.
My tester was propelled by the highest-output engine offering in the Q60 range: a 3.0L twin-turbo V6, good for 400 hp and a charming 7,000 rpm redline. Driven gently, creamy, dense torque breezes the Q60 along at low revs, with virtually no need to ever downshift, and with barely a peep coming in from the engine room. You could nearly forget the Q60 had an engine at all.
Driven hard, the engine loves to breathe and rev, with output piling on as the tachometer closes in on the upper third of its sweep. Low-end torque blows the old 3.7L all-motor V6 out of the water, though the pleasing (partially artificial) full-throttle sound, and loads of available revs, approximate a similar sensation of constant swelling action. The new turbo V6 is less happy to visit redline than its predecessor, but Infiniti’s efforts to avoid the boring, “flat as a board” power curve, typical in turbo engines, is easily appreciated.
Passing power is silly: hammer on it from about 80 km/h, and it feels like you’ve been rear-ended by a rabid bison, and you think “this is really ridiculous, but I’m having a great time.”
The seven-speed automatic shifts with careful smoothness at all times. Paddle-activated shifts come after a delay of about 500 rpm at full throttle, so you’ll have to lead your upshifts slightly to avoid smashing into the rev-limiter. Shifts are executed more slowly and lazily than is typical of a comparable BMW or Audi, though the smoothness is easy to appreciate, and the manual mode remains entertaining enough to warrant frequent use, even if it should be quicker.
Steering is totally electronic: no physical connection exists between the steering wheel, and the front tires. Instead, inputs are read by a sensor that tells steering motors at each front wheel what to do.
Upsides include total isolation from unfavourable road sensations, total customizability of the steering feel, weight and ratio, and a hilariously fast and light steering calibration auto-engaged when it’s time to park or move in tight quarters. In parking lots, you really see this system shine.
This steer-by-wire witchcraft also allows Q60 to make its own subtle steering corrections on the highway, helping keep the car magnetized to the centre of its lane. It makes these corrections without any movement or feedback through the steering wheel, which is a little eerie, even if you mostly don’t notice them. Still, you’ll have to reprogram your brain not to make those little positional corrections yourself. Until then, you’re always fighting the system just a little, evidenced by a slight but constant squirm of the vehicle beneath you as you cruise.
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The ride? Firmly comfy-sporty in all modes – but to varying degrees, depending on which one you’ve engaged. In no mode does the Q60 feel too stiff and hardcore, nor does it feel too soft and squidgy, or like the shocks are made of moistened Fancy Feast.
The Standard drive mode is comfort first. Here, Q60 is easy to use every single day and proves aptly set up for a relaxing and effortless drive. It’s no more difficult to use than a Corolla.
On the other end of the spectrum is Sport+, ideal if you’re in the mood for some mindless fun. It mostly turns Q60 into a high-performance thriller: throttle sensitivity goes through the roof, revs are held longer to keep turbocharged thrust within striking distance, you hear more of the engine, and the shocks go rigor mortis – firming and keeping the body closer to the wheels more of the time, but with some softness dialled in around the edges in consideration of your spine. Further, the steering goes from light and lazy to heavy and fast, like a four-bucks-a-lap go-kart.
And, with all systems jacked in Sport+, and 400 hp at the ready, drivers can expect 0–60 in 4.5 seconds.
When driving the bejesus out of it, most of what you feel is a planted, predictable, and highly composed performance delivered wholly inside of a considerable comfort zone. The Q60 maintains refinement at all times: it’s not a harsh, sharp-edged, hardcore weapon of mass corner-carving destruction, nor do you get the sense that it’s trying to light your face on fire. Some may find it a little too tame, though drivers after something that feels largely unfazed, even under severe use, should approve.
There’s little you can do from the driver’s seat that breaks the Q60’s equanimity. Simply, it never feels too uncomfortable, too extreme, too soft, or too floaty. It’s an authentic sports luxury experience with a wide spectrum of characteristics to explore and fine tune.
And it’s all taken in from a swanky cabin that’s mostly good news. On the plus side, it’s easy to enter and exit because the seats aren’t ridiculously over-bolstered, and the doors open big and wide. The use of colour and texture and high-end materials creates a convincingly upscale feel that sprawls around you. In terms of appearance, this cabin is pretty bang on – except for the one thing: the ridiculous dual-screen centre stack.
Top and centre in this modern, high-tech looking cabin is a low-resolution display screen from 2004. It sits directly atop another screen that’s modern, and high resolution. The mismatched displays clash against one another, and the dual-screen interface takes a little getting used to. The look imparted is strange at best, an issue given that this dual-screen business is the visual centerpiece of the interior.
Functionally, there’s decent room at the front seats, rear seats can hold two adults in an absolute pinch, and at-hand storage and charging provisions near the driver are adequate. Further, the trunk is big enough for a load of groceries, or a weekend road trip’s worth of luggage for two.
Gripes? I wish the doors were shorter, as you need half of the parking space beside you to open them into. Also, thanks in no small part to the low-resolution upper display screen, back-up camera resolution is poor by today’s standards.
Ultimately, Q60 amounts to a machine with few weaknesses, many strengths, and one that amounts to money well spent if you’re after a striking coupe that’s ready to go in any weather, very powerful, comfortable, and able to transition, on a whim, into whatever sort of car you feel like driving at any particular point in time.
Pricing for the Q60 in 400 horsepower Red Sport trim starts at $61,000.
|2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD|
|Engine Displacement: 3.0L|
|Engine Cylinders: V6|
|Peak Horsepower: 400 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Peak Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1,600–5,200 rpm|
|Fuel Economy: 12.5/9.2/11.0 L/100 km city/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space: 246 L|
|2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD|
|Base Price $61,295|
|A/C Tax $100|
|Destination Fee $2,045|
|Price as Tested $66,640|
|Optional Equipment $3,200 – ProAssist Proactive Package $3,200|