2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Premium AWD Coupe
Acura’s Precision Concept, while really a four-door coupe, was merely a design exercise to introduce a new look for Honda’s luxury division, first translated for the road via the brand’s refreshed 2017 MDX. Likewise the Buick Avista concept made some believe GM’s second-rung luxury division might become relevant outside of China again, but Lexus’ jaw-dropping LC 500 is the real deal and will soon join the LC 500h in dealer showrooms. Then again, Infiniti’s gorgeous 2017 Q60 Coupe has been available for months already.
The Q60 sits more upright than those unreal show cars, but its lines are still some of the most attractive among premium production two-door models. Like its predecessor and premium sport coupe competitors, which include BMW’s 4 Series Coupe, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, Audi’s A5, Lexus’ RC (the new LC will do battle against the larger 6 Series, E-Class, etcetera), and Cadillac’s ATS Coupe, the Q60 rides on the same chassis architecture as its D-segment Q50 sedan variant. The familial resemblance is purposefully close, and the end result is a car that just might top the original G35 Coupe for styling points.
Of course, that’s my personal opinion. The G35 Coupe, which I first drove in 2003 at its national press launch, quickly became my class favorite, and this from a multiple 3 Series owner, but it wasn’t just its fabulous design that had me at hello. It was arguably the quickest and best handling sport coupe in its class too. The competition has only grown fiercer over the past 13 or so years, and now even once-plump Cadillac makes a serious contender. So how will the new Q60 fare?
We don’t have much data to work with since the Q60 went on sale in early September, but the past two months of sales numbers indicate a reasonably good launch out of the gate. Its first partial month of sales saw 497 units leave U.S. showrooms, while October found 725 more, and I’m guessing dealers don’t even have their full allocation yet. For comparison the same months last year were 258 and 273 respectively, with 2014’s September and October a bit stronger at 454 and 496 delivers. I’d say 1,222 units compared to 531 and 950 is a pretty decent turnaround. Infiniti sold just 3,949 Q60s last year, 7,740 the year before, and 9,806 in 2013, so the Japanese luxury brand will need to find even more buyers of the new model if it plans to meet sales from just three years ago.
By comparison some of the Q60’s key rivals don’t disclose their individual D-segment coupe sales, but rather mask results by lumping them together with their various four-door sedans. This is true for the C-Class Coupe and Cadillac ATS Coupe, but 4 Series, A5 and RC sales are fully transparent, with the BMW (also available in a convertible) finding 5,142 buyers over the same two months, the A5 Coupe and Cabriolet only managing 1,355 deliveries (the current model is slowly selling out as Audi prepares for an all-new 2018), and Lexus’ RC, the competitor most will compare the new Q60 to, a bit stronger at 1,908 units. Only time will give us a better indication about other Q60 sales factors, such as any lack of availability or alternatively pent up demand, which I’ll address in a few months when I review the new Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD (I’ve already got it booked).
The Q60 first available to me was in mid-range 3.0t Premium AWD trim, finished in deep Black Obsidian paint, and equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s good for 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Of note, there’s also an entry-level Q60 2.0t that starts at $38,950 plus freight and fees, equipped with a Daimler-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and the top-line Q60 Red Sport 400 mentioned a moment ago, which can be had for just $51,300 or $53,400 with AWD, and delivers a very competitive 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
While I’m sure you can appreciate why I’m looking forward to spending time with that last one, my Q60 3.0t tester was still a very quick car and starts at a much more approachable $44,300 with RWD or $46,300 with as-tested AWD. For that price it comes well stocked with features, including all of the base Q60’s standard content that doesn’t get upgraded in the 3.0t modification, such as an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission with driver adaptive shift control and rev-matched downshifting, the Infiniti Drive Mode selector that allows you to choose between Standard, Sport, Snow, Eco or Personal settings, an independent double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, active trace control that modulates braking and engine torque to improve cornering feel, and 19-inch twinned five-spoke alloys on 255/40R19 all-season run-flats.
When equipped with all-wheel drive the Q60 enjoys similar fuel economy to the rear-drive car thanks to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels when no slippage occurs, or alternatively 50 percent of that twist can be pushed to the front wheels when more grip is required.
Additional standard kit includes full LED headlamps, heatable power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, proximity keyless access, signed aluminum treadplates, pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a leather- and aluminum-clad shift knob, genuine aluminum trim, Fine Vision electroluminescent primary instruments, dual-zone auto HVAC, Infiniti InTouch dual display infotainment with an eight-inch top monitor and seven-inch lower touchscreen, a backup camera, text message capability, six-speaker audio, satellite radio, eight-way powered front seats with powered lumbar support, Scratch Shield self-healing paint, tire pressure monitoring, plus all the usual active and passive safety features.
Along with the more potent engine the 3.0t tested added the Premium package as standard and along with that an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround audio, a garage door opener, a powered moonroof, and more.
My 3.0t Premium was upgraded with sumptuous semi-aniline premium leather upholstery as a $1,350 standalone option, while it also included the $3,200 Premium Plus package that adds remote start, auto-dimming side mirrors with reverse tilt, a heatable power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, powered torso bolsters for the driver’s seat, heatable front seats, memory for the steering wheel, seats, and side mirrors, voice recognition, navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics.
Additionally my loaner included the $2,250 Driver Assistance package that adds rain-sensing wipers, a 360-degree surround parking monitor featuring Moving Object Detection, front and rear parking sensors, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Warning, and Back Collision Intervention with Rear Cross Traffic Alert; an $1,850 Technology package with auto-leveling and adaptive cornering headlight control with auto high beams, full-range adaptive cruise control, Distance Control Assist, advanced climate control with Plasmacluster and Grape Polyphenol filtration, pre-crash front seatbelts, plus Infiniti’s annoying Eco pedal that pushes back on your foot when digging into the throttle, and likely causes most drivers to turn off Eco mode altogether and is therefore counterproductive (that’s certainly what I do); and finally Infiniti’s highly advanced $1,000 steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering, which was highly reactive and quite natural feeling.
Before delving into the overall Q60 3.0t experience, I chose to itemize much of the car’s standard, upgraded and option features to make a point, value. Infiniti has long been a brand that woos customers by offering a great deal of car for a very reasonable price, and the Q60 doesn’t deviate. If you were to compare the aforementioned German alternatives as well as its lone Japanese competitor, you’d find the Q60 delivers a great deal more standard features for a similar starting point, and concurrently those models will cost you a lot more if optioned out to the Q60’s base configuration, let alone plenty more when compared to the car tested here, which incidentally carried a $56,350 window sticker, less freight and fees.
I built a BMW 440i with similar features and the bill came to $65k, while the C43 AMG Coupe was more than $66k and RC 350 AWD F Sport was a more palatable $55k, albeit with way fewer features (it doesn’t even include leather). What was that fully loaded Q60 3.0t AWD window sticker again? Oh yes, $56k. Granted, the two Germans deliver more straight-line performance, with arguably more engaging handling from the Bimmer, but let’s not forget the Q60 Red Sport 400 that delivers even more zing for just $51k, or a hint over $60k when AWD and all of its packages get added. Fortunately, no matter the Q60 chosen, Infiniti bolsters its value proposition with other important attributes.
First of all, the Q60 doesn’t merely wow you with gorgeous sheet metal and then leave you flat once inside. Instead you’re greeted by the segment’s usual high quality soft touch synthetic surfaces, leathers, genuine hardwood trim and metals, plus no shortage of digital displays, all combined into an aesthetically pleasing and thoroughly pampering cabin. In this respect Infiniti hasn’t strayed far from the Q50’s impressive interior, so the Q60 will be an easy transition for one of the brand’s four-door customers. I particularly like the aluminum Bose Performance Series speaker grilles on the door panel, although the sound that pulsed through them was even more impressive.
The primary gauge cluster is a mix of beautiful backlit purple analog dials with a color digital display at center, while the aforementioned dual displays on the center stack are easy enough to use once acclimatized. The top one is too far away to reach and therefore requires a set of go-to buttons and rotating controller on the lower console, the latter dial beautifully finished in knurled metal for a rich look and feel, while the lower display is a straightforward touchscreen with a particularly crisp, clear resolution, plus superb depth of color and contrast. You’ll find the majority of features offered with competitive systems, although at the rate infotainment functionality progresses these days a new one almost seems out of date by the time its first season ends. On that note, while my upgraded unit included the previously noted capabilities and more, it’s missing Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink and the like for seamlessly connecting your smartphone, but then again the touchscreen does allow tablet style tap, pinch and swipe gestures.
On another practical note, the Q60 feels more spacious up front and in the rear, the latter quite comfortable for the most part. Most cars in this class offer a modicum of adult-sized comfort in back, but I had about three inches ahead of my knees when the front seat was set to my five-foot-eight medium build body, with reasonable space for my feet albeit not a heck of a lot above my head, my hair actually rubbing up against the glass. It’s a 2+2 only, Infiniti including a fixed console with cupholders down the middle, but there was no flip-down center armrest. I like the way the rear roof pillars get finished in cloth like the two up front, not always the case in the very back where few folks venture, while visibility is decent for the class.
The trunk is quite large for this segment, and I especially appreciate the little button handily housed on the left taillight lens to let you inside. The 13.2 cubic feet of stowage space allotted is actually 2.6 cubic feet more accommodating than its predecessor, but I was disappointed the folding rear seatback wasn’t split down the middle to allow a rear passenger as well as longer cargo, such as skis. Even a center pass-through would’ve been helpful.
Of course, press the start button and hear the V6 spark to life and most sins will be forgiven. The first thing I noticed when on the road is the incredibly direct steering, just the slightest movement of the wheel resulting in immediate response from the front tires, yet it was never twitchy or nervous feeling. In fact, the Q60 felt totally stable. No matter whether I was driving slowly around town, darting in and out of traffic, cruising at highway speeds, or flinging it through ribbons of serpentine black tarmac it delivered absolutely fabulous control. The new Q60 feels lighter and more agile than the previous version, while it’s also more capable at the limit. I can’t see anyone not liking the driving experience, especially when factoring in the engine lineup.
Even the fuel economy is good for the class, with the base model rated at 22 mpg city, 30 highway and 25 combined, my 3.0t AWD tester claimed to achieve 19 city, 27 highway and 22 combined, and the Red Sport 400 still quite thrifty at 20, 27 and 22. Of note, standard auto start/stop helps reduce consumption and emissions when it would otherwise be idling, while the car’s slippery 0.29 coefficient of drag helps when at speed.
I’ve driven all three engines in various models, and I must say the base turbo four-cylinder in Q50 2.0t trim is a lot more enjoyable to drive than its numbers suggest, whereas the top-line Red Sport is wickedly fun, bordering on M3 levels with a more refined, mature, luxury-oriented approach. This 3.0t delivers excellent response to throttle input too, its twin turbos spooling up without any noticeable lag and the availability of full twist arriving much quicker in the rev range for considerably more grunt off the line than the old naturally aspirated V6. It sounds good as well, with a subtle turbo whine and just enough exhaust bark to stir the soul, although the Red Sport gets the nod in this respect too.
That top-line model also includes magnesium paddle shifters, the lack thereof being the only obvious sin of omission with this 3.0t. This is a premium sport coupe designed for enthusiasts, not a luxury car where the lucky ones get to ride in the back seat. Along with everything already mentioned with my tester, the Red Sport also gets quick-ratio steering, a sport suspension with electronically adjustable shocks, sport brakes, and more, features that would be ideal in a 3.0t Sport, or at least an optional sport package. Heck, I’d be happy with a simple set of standard paddles, instead of rowing through the Q60’s wonderful seven-speed auto via the shift lever.
I probably shouldn’t leave my sole complaint for the end of the story, because it might leave a bad taste in the mouth when I’d rather tempt you into giving the Q60 a try. Lack of paddles aside it’s a superb luxury-sport coupe that deserves heaps of praise, especially when factoring in its very reasonable price. Don’t pass this one by.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, American Auto Press Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, American Auto Press Copyright: American Auto Press