Infiniti is still battling to establish a true identity in the UK alongside the more familiar premium brands, and part of that effort involves filling the more niche areas of the range. So we now have this new four-seater coupé, the Q60 – reviving a model originally called the G37 and last sold in Europe in 2014.
The Q60 is the first new model to appear after the volume-chasing Infiniti Q30 and QX30 ranges, and the coupé has its work cut out – in recent times a whole host of upmarket contenders have been unveiled in this niche. They include new versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the BMW 4 Series, Audi’s A5 range and for those with deep pockets, the 5.0-litre V8 powered Lexus RC F.
Tough competition, which Infiniti is tackling with a distinctive-looking shape, lots of technology and a perhaps surprising all-petrol powertrain line-up.
Like many of its rivals, the Q60 is evolved from a saloon model, the Q50. And it certainly has the looks – the car is long, low and wide, with muscular proportions exemplified by the strong lines swooping down to the grille. Combine these with some clever detailing, such as the angles and curves in the rear screen pillar, and you have a car that turns heads far more than some of its more mainstream rivals.
Buying and owning an Infiniti Q60
When Infiniti launched the Q60 at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2016, observers expressed surprise that the mere two engine options did not include a diesel, and concluded that its chances of UK success would be damaged as a result. Just 18 months on, with negative publicity sending diesel sales sliding, that decision does not seem so blinkered.
Of the two petrol engines available by far the most sales are likely to be of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with 208hp and put through a rear-wheel-drive transmission. The range-topping 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 will not be an engine for the eco-conscious – the quoted 31mpg will ensure you maintain a healthy relationship with your local filling station, while the combination of a 210g/km emissions figure and a selling price well over £40,000 will hit the pocket for tax under the new post-April 2017 VED rules.
Four trim levels are on offer for the Q60, either Premium or Sport levels with additional Tech grades on both – our test car was supplied in the top Sport Tech trim. Prices start from around £34,300 for the Premium version of the 2.0-litre engine with rear-wheel drive, and included are such niceties as autonomous emergency braking, a reversing camera, auto-levelling LED headlights and traffic sign recognition.
The Sport models are as the name suggests angled more towards on-the-road performance, so the direct adaptive steering is added, as are paddle shifts on the steering wheel. Electric adjustment of the seats also features on this trim.
You will need a Tech version of either trim for the reversing camera to check all around the car, but more importantly, you will gain satellite navigation, adaptive cruise control, a more impressive Bose sound system with 13 speakers and very effective blind-spot monitoring.
Inside the Infiniti Q60
The distinctive styling theme continues inside the cabin, particularly in the centre console. Accommodating two touchscreens one under the other, this console boasts strong descending lines and a width that slims down the nearer it gets to the floor.
Two screens and rather a lot of switches and buttons make the driver’s environment appear a little busy, but it does soon become second nature to use. It also looks suitably modern and up-to-date, though this effect is jarred slightly by the use of ‘old tech’ such as the foot-operated handbrake in the pedal box.
Up front, there is plenty of room for occupants, but the same cannot be said for the rear seats. Firstly they are not that easy to access, the movable top mount for the front seat belts getting in the way. Once inside, the strong downwards slope of the rear roofline will ensure that all but the shortest occupants form rather too close a relationship with the rear screen.
Driving the Infiniti Q60
Our test car was fitted with the range-topping unit, and is likely to be a far more exclusive choice. The 3.0-litre twin turbo, one of a new range, draws on the brand’s extensive experience with V6 power plants. It puts out 405hp at 6,400rpm, with 475Nm of torque on tap from a pleasingly low 1600rpm. And it is combined with an all-wheel drive transmission, taking on the likes of Audi’s quattro.
The power output is impressive, certainly outdoing several rivals for its potency, and hitting 62mph in five seconds flat is evidence that this car makes the most of its horses and that torque – overtaking slower traffic is a matter of moments. The disappointment is that it doesn’t exactly sound like it performs – it’s almost too well behaved, dialling in the power smoothly but also so quietly.
Unfortunately, the transmission does not live up to the billing either – it may have seven speeds but it struggles to keep up with enthusiastic driving – one is left feeling that an Audi unit would do a much better job here.
Infiniti does not scrimp on its chassis setup for the Q60, though you have to choose the 3.0-litre AWD model to be able to take advantage of all the toys, such as the Dynamic Digital Suspension. This and the ‘drive-by-wire’ Direct Adaptive Steering, standard on Sport models, offer a range of modes varying from comfort to high performance-focused settings.
Everything works together very well indeed. On suburban roads with lots of tight turns the car is very easy to handle, and out on a motorway it cruises in comfort and then stiffens up to offer highly placeable steering through a series of twisty corners.
All this is good – but… it is so good, one doesn’t really feel what the car is doing through the steering wheel. It almost suggests one could sit back and let the car do everything itself. Fine if you want a good-looking coupé that requires almost no effort at all to drive many miles, which of course will suit many very well. But it does leave the Q60 lacking a bit of personality.
The Infiniti Q60 adds a good-looking new model to the choice of four-seater coupés on the market – though in this case, it’s more 2+2 than four-seater. It is also very efficient, perhaps almost too efficient, as a result lacking just a little of the charisma one expects from such coupés.