2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport essentials: Too clever by half


Car reviews / Среда, Апрель 25th, 2018

What is it: The 2018 Q60 is Infiniti's style statement: a sculpted coupe packed with comfort and tech features. The Red Sport 400 is its hottest incarnation and, with optional all-wheel drive, its most expensive.

Key Competitors: Audi S5, Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe

Base Price: $54,905 As-Tested Price: $65,705

Full Review: Infiniti Q60 Red Sport first drive

Highlights: What does "Red Sport" mean? To start, it signifies a very well-equipped two-door, from comfort-enhancing features like active suspension to interior luxury features to sport brakes wrapped in those all-important red-painted brake calipers. More importantly, though, this Q60 range-topper benefits from output goosed substantially to 350 lb-ft of torque and an even 400 hp.

Our Opinion: Infiniti, and I say this as someone prone to overthinking things: Stop overthinking things. There are many elements here to recommend on the Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD. The smooth but punchy twin-turbo V6, which plays nicely with the seven-speed auto, for one. It's a great cruiser, as I found on a recent long drive from the Detroit area to the Middle of Nowhere, Ontario, and back. Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping are great on that long, slow slog on the 402, where speed limits are low and the speeding penalties are high. But you can simply turn all those semi-autonomous features off if you want to seize the wheel, mat the throttle and drive. The best of both worlds!

Plus, showing up anywhere in an honest-to-goodness two-door luxury coupe these days makes a certain quiet statement. The Q60 is a visually interesting example of the breed. If you liked what Mazda's doing but wish its cars were a little curvier, Infiniti's got you covered.

From this promising start, the Q60 goes and tries to be too clever by half. Sometimes it's clearly in the interest of creating a Brand Identity, and sometimes it's for reasons I cannot comprehend. In the end, a car that threatens to be a compelling, smart luxury coupe ends up feeling somewhat less than coherent.

Point one: The C-pillar swoosh. What I suspect happened here is that Infiniti was searching for a design trademark — a Hofmeister Kink it could call its own. But whereas BMW's signature C-pillar looks more or less natural, the Infiniti swoosh, which is present to some degree on everything except the Q70 sedan and QX80 SUV, feels a bit forced. In the case of the Q60, it actually goes against the rest of the lines. It breaks up the flow, complicating an attractive profile.

Point two: The steering. We've already dedicated plenty of digital column-inches to Infiniti's perplexing steer-by-wire setup, which is a cost option on this Q60, but I can't let it slide. In fact, I was so confused as to what exactly the automaker was going for here that I turned to the automaker's website:

"INFINITI’s Direct Adaptive Steering® (DAS) removes the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and tire, allowing for instantaneous driver input that can be digitally processed and adjusted up to 1,000 times per second."

Huh. Millisecond-level processing speeds are well and good, but I have have never met someone in the market for a performance car that wanted to eliminate the direct connection between the steering wheel and the front tires. Incredibly, Infiniti is taking something that no one ever asked for and insisting that it's actually better — a bold approach, but maybe not a particularly effective one. Then again, Infiniti also claims that it's able to convincingly simulate the variable steering effort that its drive-by-wire system, by its very design, eliminates. Thrustmaster says the same thing about its video game controller wheels.

Thing is, I'm not inherently opposed to the concept. There's a time and a place for this kind of setup; it would be great on a big floaty luxury sedan (or, I suppose, a cushy crossover) that has zero sporting pretensions. You'd want technology-enabled isolation in that sort of vehicle. But luxury automakers, except for maybe Lincoln, are terrible about the "no sporting pretension" bit. Hence, this Q60's mixed messages.

Again, there are a lot of elements here that make sense individually: looks, engine, loads of luxury and tech features. But to really justify this Q60 Red Sport 400's $65,705 price, they need to come together more organically. For the money, Mercedes' C43 AMG Coupe and Audi's S5 provide all of the style and substance with far fewer drawbacks.

—Graham Kozak, features editor

Options: Proactive Package — intelligent cruise control, adaptive steering, lane departure prevention with active lane control, distance control assist, blind spot intervention, adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights, highbeam assist, front pre-crash seatbelts, advanced climate control, eco-pedal ($2,850), Sensory Package (sport) InTouch Navigation with voice recognition, InTouch Service, SiriusXM traffic, heated steering wheel, remote engine start ($2,250), Pro Assist Package — blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, backup collision intervention, around view monitor with moving object detection, front and rear sonar, predictive forward collision, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rain-sensing wipers ($2,250), Carbon Fiber Package — rear decklid spoiler, exterior mirror covers, fog lamp finishes, fender vents ($2,250), exclusive paint ($800), illuminated kick plates ($400)
 

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $54,905

As Tested Price: $65,705

Powertrain: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, AWD, seven-speed automatic

Output: 400 hp @ 6,400 rpm; 350 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,024 lb

Fuel Economy: 19/26/21 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Does the «luxury» part of the «sport luxury coupe» thing well; generally looks great doing it

Cons: Despite ample power, it offers a cold, digital and disjointed approach to performance