Nobody needs a luxury sport coupe, but everybody likes how they look behind the wheel.
Infiniti has completely redesigned and re-engineered its 2017 Q60, a four-seat hardtop. The company calls the Q60 a brand shaper because elements of its styling will be carried through on future vehicles.
This third generation of Infiniti's coupe — previously known as the G35, and then the G37 in its second generation — is the kinder and gentler platform partner to parent company Nissan's legendary Z coupe. And while the Q60 may be more forgiving than the 370Z, there is much shared finesse from Nissan's high-performance engineering. In its base configuration, the Q60 is a sporting coupe, but the electronic enhancements for steering and suspension inject dynamic levels of performance.
The exterior styling is sexy, but it all works with balance. With three engine choices, this buyer can be stylin' in a turbocharged four-cylinder. When the pleasure of driving matters, there are choices of a 300-horsepower V-6 or a heated-up 400-horsepower V-6.
The Q60 is sold in rear- or all-wheel-drive models with three engine options, each with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Q60 2.0t, with a 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, has starting prices that range from $39,855 to $44,205. The Q60 3.0t, powered by a 300-horsepower turbocharged direction-injection 3.0-liter V-6, ranges from $45,205 to $51,205. And the performance-tuned Red Sport is sold in just two trim levels, with starting prices of $52,205 to $54,205. All pricing includes the $905 freight charge from Tochigi, Japan.
The car sits well on its 19-inch wheels with tight fender gaps. The ride quality is tight and solid, as a sport coupe should be. There is compliance on the daily drive with little road texture to detract from the machined and visceral V-6 engine note, whether the 300- or 400-horsepower variants.
Today's tester is a rear-drive 3.0t Premium with a sticker of $55,255. It came with $10,050 in options, including advanced safety technologies and a driver-assistance package that made the car about one sensor away from driving itself.
The 3.0t is less performance-centric than the Red Sport, but it is eager to cut loose and hang out through the corners. Acceleration is quick to respond, and the seven-speed is a partner in keeping the pace. The 300-horsepower engine has fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 28 highway and 22 combined on the recommended premium fuel. I was averaging 27 mpg without sparing the horses, and the 20-gallon gas tank allows a wide cruising range.
The electric Digital Adaptive Steering, which costs $1,000, stands out for its precision with feel. It takes just light force for immediate inputs. Even the standard steel-spring suspension is compliant for daily driving, but there is a performance hardness waiting for that dive into a corner. The Red Sport 400 has an electronic "digital" suspension. But for nontrack use, the standard spring setup is empowering.
Four-wheel vented disc brakes (12.6-inch rotors front, 12.1 inches rear) have absolute grip with refined engagement. Sport models get an upgrade to 14-inch discs front and 13.8-inch discs rear with four-piston calipers.
The turning circle of 36.7 feet (or 38.1 with AWD) is very functional in urban parking situations, but the large, long and heavy doors will have the driver seeking more generous parking stalls. One asset of 2+2 coupes is seating that is not as near to the ground as a straight-ahead two-seater. The Q60 seats have a high hip point, so entry and exit is actually comfortable. An around-view camera system also helps when backing or judging distance in the parking space.
The interior has a contemporary speedline purpose. The finish and assembly is immaculate, but there was too much Nissan-grade plastic in lower regions of the interior. There is comfortable cradling of the seats, which are eight-way power adjustable for driver and passenger. But the driver seat belt was balky to pull out and retract, and difficult to reach.
The cockpit has decent headroom of almost 38 inches and long legroom of 43 inches. There is good shoulder room, but it is a cockpit and space is scarce to carve in the essentials, including the downsized shifter on a slim floor console. There are cup holders, of course, and plug-ins for charging, including two USBs, a 12-volt plug and an audio port in the armrest console.
The center instrument console has two vertical touch screens for vehicle info, which work surprisingly well without confusion. Flanking the screens is a row of buttons for fan speed and temperature controls. It's a simple hands-on arrangement, but there is also a central controller dial on the shifter console.
The 8.7 cubic feet of trunk space may sound minuscule, but the trunk has a wide opening and deep, usable space.
The Q60 is a luxury coupe with chain-lightning reflexes when driving matters.
2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Premium
—Body style: compact, four-seater, RWD coupe
—Engine: 300-horsepower, twin-turbocharged and direct injection 3.0-liter V-6; 400 foot-pounds torque from 1,600 to 5,200 rpm
—Transmission: seven-speed automatic
—Fuel economy: 19/28/22 mpg city/hwy/combined
—Fuel tank: 20 gallons
—Trunk space: 12.1 cubic feet
—Front head/leg/shoulder room: 37.9/43.1/54.6 inches
—Rear head/leg/shoulder room: 34.5//32.4/52 inches
—Length/wheelbase: 184.6/112.2 inches
—Curb weight: 3,774 pounds
—Turning circle: 36.7 feet
—Standard equipment includes: smartkey entry and push-button ignition, power (heated) side mirrors with turn signals, front fog lights, LED brake lights and CHMSL, solar (UV-reducing) glass, eight-way power front seats, metal-trimmed pedals, 13-speaker Bose audio system, rearview camera, leatherette seating, folding back seat, moonroof and 19-inch alloy wheels on all-season runflat tires
—Safety features include: six air bags, hill-start assist, active trace (cornering) control, traction and stability controls, brake assist and brake force distribution
—Base price: $45,205, including $905 freight charge; price as tested $55,255
—Options on test vehicle: Technology package, $1,850; Direct Adaptive Steering, $1,000; dark maple trim, $400; semi-aniline leather, $1,350; Driver Assistance package, $2,250; Premium Plus package, $3,200
—Assembled in Tochigi, Japan.
—Warranty: four years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance and loaner car; six years/70,000 miles powertrain
Mark Maynard is online at [email protected] Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage. To find out more about Mark Maynard and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.