Road Test: 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400

Making its world premiere at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, the Infiniti Q60 is a luxury sports coupe that combines beautiful design with exhilarating performance and dynamics.

Q60’s bold exterior expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. After a week with the gorgeous coupe, we can easily conclude that Infiniti accomplished their mission of the most enjoyable to drive car they’ve ever built. Q60 can be had in lower trims, with a 2.0L turbo in RWD or AWD, but our focus is on the ferocious Red Sport 400.

Ride and Handling
Q60 rides firmly, which is excellent for handling and performance driving, but it’s not ideal for regular daily driving. The second generation Direct Adaptive Steering transmits our input to the wheels faster than a mechanical system while requiring fewer steering corrections.  The new system quickly and intelligently communicates feedback about road surface and chassis behavior, while also reducing unwanted steering feel typically generated by a conventional steering system. This instills secure and confident steering feel.

The wide range of steering customization within Direct Adaptive Steering is accessed through the Drive Mode Selector. Through menus displayed in the upper screen of the Q60’s Infiniti InTuition system, Drive Mode Selector allows the steering response to be selected from six available options: “Customize,” “Standard,” “Snow,” “Eco,” “Sport,” and – new for certain models – “Sport+.”

The Standard mode has been tuned to represent the core performance of the Q60 – offering Infiniti’s unique blend of enhanced ride comfort and agile handling as a default setting. The Customize steering mode also allows for a high degree of fine tuning. We first select one of three core “Modes” (Standard, Sport and Sport+) and then specify the preferred level of “Response” (Default, Dynamic and Dynamic+). For the highest level of assistance and ultimate sports coupe driving experience, prefer Sport+ mode with Dynamic+ response – making best use of the Direct Adaptive Steering technology.

The Sport mode enhances the response of Direct Adaptive Steering, elevating the steering effort required while reducing the required steering movement from lock to lock. In the new Sport+ mode, steering effort remains the same as Sport mode, but the response of the steering is further increased, with an even quicker steering ratio for precise performance.

Dynamic Digital Suspension, comes standard on the Q60 Sport grades and has been designed to offer the best handling responses, agility, and enhanced ride comfort – thanks to software and hardware upgrades, including a dedicated new set of dampers. We are able to change the focus of the suspension from a comfort-biased ride to one which offers more dynamic responses, by placing the electronically adjustable shock absorbers in either Sport or Sport+ modes (adjusted via the Drive Mode Selector), providing firmer damping control for more agile handling. While in these modes, the suspension is constantly adjusting to provide ideal performance and a level ride.

Staggered 19″ alloys are standard and handle superbly.

Four corners of disc brakes feel supremely strong and smooth. They bite early and provide a reassuring feeling.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy
Q60 Red Sport 400’s name gives away the best part: 400 horsepower. The 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, from the new “VR” powertrain family delivers 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque. Mated to 7-speed auto transmission, it was engineered with gear ratios spaced to allow for responsive, direct acceleration.

Adaptive Shift Control uses a lateral acceleration sensor to detect topographical changes in the road, such as hills or corners, and enhances gear selection patterns according to the changing conditions. ASC also allows the transmission to observe driving behaviors and adapt shifts accordingly.

Infiniti says the power-to-efficiency performance was made possible thanks to a set of newly developed powertrain features, including an advanced new twin-turbo system which enables smooth and immediate responses under acceleration, while aiding efficiency. We couldn’t agree more.

In Sport mode, we can select a more aggressive shift pattern, holding on to gears longer to tap into the engine’s maximum performance reserves at higher revolutions. In all instances, the automatic transmission shifts smoothly, with less performance-focused modes giving the car a more relaxed gait for everyday conditions.

The Q60’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system provides enhanced stability for greater road holding in low-grip conditions, distributing torque 50:50 between front and rear wheels in its default setting. If the car detects that the extra traction isn’t immediately required, the system will revert to 100 percent rear-wheel drive, redistributing power to each of the four wheels as conditions change or if it detects a momentary loss of traction.

Around town, the transmission is smooth and refined. Pull onto a highway ramp and accelerate, and the turbos make themselves known. Acceleration is incredible.

During our typical drive week of local and highway mixed driving, along with more joy rides than usual, fuel economy averaged 23.2 mpg. EPA rates it at 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Q60 is quiet except for the sweet hum of the engine and throaty exhaust. The sounds coming out of this coupe beg it to be driven.

LED headlights, employing Light Guide Technology to spread light evenly on the road ahead, are designed to emulate the shape of the human eyelid, providing an alluring “face” to the car. Auto high beams and adaptive headlights are optional and worked incredibly well on our test vehicle.

Interior Fit and Finish
Materials throughout the cabin are soft-touch, high quality, look, and feel well-assembled. Stitching and leather cover nearly every surface. The interior feels elegant, fast, modern, and sexy.

Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director, said, “Cabin artistry for Infiniti is about a fitted, personal approach. We modeled the Q60’s interior around the concept of a ‘driver’s glove’ – the driver is always comfortable and the cabin is tailored for them.” We couldn’t agree more with his sentiments.

Sophisticated craftsmanship characterizes the spacious and beautifully appointed interior, following Infiniti’s ‘driver-centric, passenger-minded’ approach to advanced cabin architecture. The front seats are incredibly supportive, with firm, multi-way adjustable seats. The seats and power steering wheel are heated, but surprisingly cooled seats are not offered.

Infiniti’s development teams found that many car seats, regardless of price range, force occupants’ spines into a ‘C’ shape and offer very little shoulder support, placing up to 40% more load on the spine compared to a standing position.

Q60’s hallmark ‘spinal support’ seats have been carefully engineered to match the curvature of the spine, providing a consistent level of support and minimizing pressure on lower and upper back muscles. The supportive seats reduce the spinal curvature that many traditional seats force occupants to adopt, with a more even alignment between chest and pelvis.

The interior trim includes high-end accents and bold, modern-looking materials. Our Q60 Red Sport 400 wore white leather with a glass fiber accent. It looks absolutely stunning.

The rear seats are usable but short on headroom because of the coupe roofline.

Trunk space measures in at 12.1 cubic feet. Manufacturing, design and engineering teams at the Tochigi plant where 60 is built, worked very closely together to develop a trunk lid that is a hybrid combination of a resin skin on a steel frame. This gives designers more freedom to develop shapes that can then be built in a single part.

The A-pillars are relatively thin and visibility all around is good. Visors extend and cover the length of the front side window glass. The side mirrors are auto-dimming.

The Surround View Monitor projects a birds-eye view of the Q60 on the infotainment display to make any parking situation a cinch. Parking sensors in the bumpers help as well.

Gauges and Controls
Q60 is loaded with features, and they’re all intuitively and logically placed and labeled. The InTouch touchscreen, knobs, and buttons work well together.

The Q60’s design emphasizes the dashboard’s focus on the driver, with the center console housing twin touchscreens (8-inch upper and 7-inch lower) as part of the InTouch central control system – the latest generation of the company’s infotainment technology. The touchscreen capabilities of both screens resulted in Infiniti’s design teams have been able to minimize the number of buttons in the cabin, for a neat, uncluttered appearance.

Infiniti says they upgraded it with a faster processor, and it shows. InTouch allows drivers to personalize the interior environment of the Q60 according to their preferences, and can store profiles for multiple drivers, identified by their I-key (intelligent key).

InTouch is able to memorize more than 200 settings that the driver can program themselves. We tested a few, including settings for the engine, suspension, and steering modes, driving seat positions, audio, and navigation settings; display settings, and heating and ventilation preferences. Every vehicle should offer this!

The nav and infotainment aspect of the Q60 work beautifully. Colors and contrast are sharp, but Apple CarPlay and Andoid Auto are not available.

Our Q60 came with a 13 – speaker Bose Performance Series sound system, an optional audio setup which has been tailored to the acoustics of the Q60’s cabin. Featuring an all-new system architecture and high-performance components, the fully-immersive Bose audio system transforms the cabin into the our very own audio haven. The system’s interface and speakers feature the latest ‘industrial’ design that characterizes Bose Performance Series audio systems, lending an even more distinctive, high quality look and feel to the cabin.

Bluetooth call quality was very good thanks to the low roofline and quiet cabin.

Two USB, AUX, HD and SiriusXM radio, and Bluetooth streaming inputs provide endless entertainment.

Infiniti’s comprehensive approach to active safety is evident throughout the Q60. It offers a suite of driver assistive safety technologies allows the car to monitor for and identify potential hazards, actively assisting the driver to avoid those hazards, and, if a collision is unavoidable, mitigate the effects.

The range of active, and passive, safety technologies include Around View Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Prevention, Blind Spot Intervention, Moving Object Detection, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian braking system, and Back-up Collision Intervention.

The adaptive cruise works smoothly and accelerates briskly, and didn’t brake too aggressively during rush hour traffic. It was refined and a good aid during daily commuting. Lane Departure Prevention brakes individual wheels rather than turn the wheel; it works well as it doesn’t lead to the “ping-pong” effect of other systems that actively rotate the steering wheel and can be annoying.

We accidentally triggered the Back-up Collision Intervention system and came to an instant stop when we got too close to a few daylilies; Q60 even cares for the delicate flowers.

Crash Test Results
The 2017 Q60 has not been rated by the IIHS or NHTSA, but if the Q50 is any indicator, then we expect performance to be exceptional.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 10
Braking 10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 10
Noise 10
Headlights 10
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 10
Gauges and Controls 10
Infotainment 10
Crash-Avoidance 10
Total Score 100
Make: Infiniti
Model: Q60
Trim Level: Red Sport 400
Engine: 3.0L V6
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic
Options: Technology Package, Direct Adaptive Steering, Driver Assistance Package, Premium Plus Package, Exclusive Paint
Base Price: $53,300
As-Tested Price: $62,355

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