The 2017 Infiniti Q60 boasts an assertive design and two high-performing engines that give it a distinct edge over its competitors. The base engine comprises a 208-hp 2.0-liter turbo four, while the optional 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 delivers 300 hp. Both engines are coupled with a seven-speed automatic transmission, with rear-wheel drive being the standard option and all-wheel drive being available. The V-6 engine also features Infiniti's dynamic suspension and adaptive steering technology. Additionally, a 400-hp Red Sport model will be introduced in the near future. This vehicle is arguably Infiniti's most aesthetically pleasing offering.
Infiniti, once renowned for its performance-oriented offerings, seems to be regaining its former glory. The 2017 Q60 coupe, with its sporty appearance, is at the forefront of this resurgence. However, one may wonder if it can match the popularity of its predecessor, the beloved G35 coupe.
It is worth noting that the Q60 cannot be regarded as the successor to the G35 due to the fact that the G35 has never truly departed. The Q60's architecture is an advancement of the FM platform that served as the foundation for the original G35, as well as every G35, G37, and Q60 coupe that followed (in addition to their sedan counterparts). The Q60's wheelbase has remained constant at 112.2 inches, which has been the case for every previous coupe model. While the Q60 has grown wider and longer overall, its front and rear track widths have only increased by less than an inch. Given that the original G35 and the new Q60 are nearly identical in height, it is unsurprising that they both offer the same amount of passenger space (86 cubic feet). Unfortunately, the Q60's trunk remains small and may be difficult to load due to its high liftover.
Significant changes have been made to the Q60's powertrain. While the G35 was equipped with Nissan's VQ 3.5-liter V-6 engine producing 280 horsepower, the Q60 now offers three engine options: one inline-four and two VR 3.0-liter V-6s, all three featuring direct injection and turbocharging. Our analysis indicates that the top-tier Red Sport 400 is the rightful successor to the G35's legacy, boasting a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that generates an impressive 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. We conducted a comprehensive evaluation of a rear-wheel-drive Q60 Red Sport 400 (all-wheel drive is also available), including rigorous instrumented testing, to assess whether it can live up to the G35's reputation and potentially enhance Infiniti's performance brand image.
To begin with, this coupe demonstrates impressive speed. Our testing resulted in a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds, which matches the figure we obtained for the Q50 Red Sport 400 sedan. It's worth noting that this time is 1.5 seconds faster than the first G35 coupe we evaluated back in 2003. Additionally, the vehicle boasts 350 lb-ft of torque that is available from 1600 to 5200 rpm, ensuring a consistent supply of power with only a minimal amount of turbo lag. During our testing, we observed instances where the accelerator pedal induced wheelspin while cruising at speeds around 30 mph.
Regrettably, the 2017 Q60 offers no manual transmission option, marking the first Infiniti coupe since the M30 to do so. The sole gearbox option is Infiniti's ubiquitous seven-speed automatic, which does not meet our high standards, lacking the slickness of the eight-speed automatic in the BMW 4-series (a car that still offers a manual transmission, incidentally). Additionally, the VR engine's general lack of charisma, coupled with its gruffness at high revs, does not aid its cause. Although toggling the driving-mode selector to Sport or Sport Plus adds some vitality to the powertrain and brings rev-matched downshifts during aggressive driving, the athleticism displayed is more akin to a weightlifter than a ballroom dancer. It is robust and capable when summoned, but would just as soon rest and recuperate as stay on the floor and impress the audience.
Although the dimensions of the coupe have remained relatively consistent over the past 15 years, significant advancements in safety, technology, and equipment have resulted in a weight gain of nearly 400 pounds, bringing the current weight to 3866 pounds. Despite this increase, the weight is well managed in terms of body-roll, and the Red Sport 400 performed similarly to the old G35 with 0.90 g of lateral grip on the skidpad. However, the braking distance from 70 mph was slightly longer at 163 feet, despite the inclusion of larger rotors and four-piston front and two-piston rear brake calipers. Nevertheless, the brake pedal felt exceptional and instilled a sense of confidence.
While the Q60 and G35 share similarities in terms of ultimate grip, high-speed stability, and overall balance, the experience of driving them is vastly different. This can be attributed to the optional Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system equipped in the Q60, which has been criticized for its lack of communication compared to the G35's hydraulically assisted setup. As a steer-by-wire system, the DAS not only feels disconnected, but it is also physically disconnected with all feedback being simulated. While it is quick and precise with just 2.0 turns lock-to-lock, the lack of genuine feedback may not be suitable for all drivers. Infiniti has made significant strides in the refinement of their selectable ratio/effort settings, now offering three distinct options: standard, Sport, and Sport Plus. Additionally, the two Sport settings are accompanied by three off-center response choices: default, Dynamic, and Dynamic Plus. Our testing has revealed that the most optimal configurations are achieved by combining the Sport and Sport Plus settings with Dynamic Plus response.
It is evident that the Q60 boasts a more distinguished design than the G, as the former's sleek metal contours, chrome accents, decorative embellishments, and undulating grille inserts outshine the latter's understated modernity. In terms of performance, the Red Sport 400 variant offers slightly enhanced sportiness with its red-hued brake calipers, distinct exhaust tips, and rear wheels that are 0.5 inches wider than the front. Additionally, its impressive aerodynamics with a 0.28 coefficient of drag further accentuates its exceptional performance capabilities.
The initial impact of the interior is impressive, particularly with the addition of the gleaming "silver optic fiber" trim, as exemplified in our trial vehicle. However, once seated comfortably in the excellently crafted front seats and resting their arms on the creatively structured door panels, front-seat passengers will observe a dashboard that traces its roots back to the Q50 model of 2013. The quality of this product's design trails behind that of some of its competitors. The use of plastic rings around the speedometer and tach, along with the inelegant banks of climate-control buttons, detract from the overall aesthetic. Additionally, the dual stacked navigation/infotainment screens with varying resolutions suggest that they may have originated from different suppliers or eras.
The Red Sport 400 boasts the highest level of luxury ever seen in an Infiniti coupe. The vehicle comes equipped with a standard 13-speaker Bose surround-sound system, which is a significant upgrade from the old G model, and features creamy semi-aniline leather and intricate contrast stitching, adding an appreciable touch of class. Additionally, the vehicle is incredibly quiet inside, registering a mere 67 decibels at 70 mph, compared to the G35 coupe's 72 decibels.
Our Red Sport 400, with a base price of $52,205, boasts an impressive array of options that were not available on the original 2003 G model. The Technology package, priced at $1850, includes advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot intervention, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive headlamps, auxiliary audio and video inputs, automatic high-beams, and other cutting-edge technologies. The Driver Assistance package, priced at $2250, enhances the safety features of the vehicle with the inclusion of blind-spot warning, forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree-view monitor with moving-object detection, backup collision intervention, and rain-sensing wipers. The vehicle in question was equipped with the Premium Plus package, valued at $2250. The package includes a range of features such as navigation, Infiniti InTouch telematics services, navigation-linked adaptive shift programming, SiriusXM traffic, heating for the front seats and steering wheel, and remote engine start. Lastly, the inclusion of the DAS adaptive-steering system resulted in an additional cost of $1000, culminating in a final price of $59,555.
The Q60 Red Sport 400 boasts an impressive design, powerful twin-turbo V-6 engine, and luxurious cabin that effectively positions it as a flagship vehicle for Infiniti. However, the increased weight and reduced tactile sensation of the vehicle may hinder its ability to achieve the same level of respect as the G35 as a high-performance coupe.