“The launch of the Q50 family sedan in 2013 opened many eyes and subsequent additions like the Q60 have widened them.”
The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield built a successful career around his plea that he “don’t get no respect”.
Likewise, Nissan’s premium brand doesn’t get the respect it deserves but it’s not because its cars are joke, far from it. The truth is it was late to the game that kicked off when Toyota’s then new Lexus line announced it would take on the dominant Euro brands – BMW, Mercedes and Audi – in 1989. Honda technically was first out of the blocks in 1985 with Acura but it didn’t light any fires initially and its progress has been slow and steady.
Infiniti is the same vintage as Lexus but this observer would argue it has only started to attract serious attention in the last decade, whereas Lexus began to blaze the trail more successfully years earlier. More recently Infiniti has embarked on an ambitious product rollout and developed some leading-edge technology, promoted by innovative marketing strategies.
Allying itself with the Redbull F1 racing team, and specifically with four-time world champ Sebastian Vettel, was a masterstroke. Infiniti’s Dynamic Digital Suspension and Direct Adaptive Steering was developed during that relationship. All parties to that alliance have since moved on but it was a move that grabbed attention in the German manufacturers’ own back yard. The current technical tie-in with the Renault F1 team will likely bear more fruit. Of course, without product it would have meant nothing. The launch of the Q50 family sedan in 2013 opened many eyes and subsequent additions like the Q60 have widened them.
Vettel treated me to some fast and exciting laps in the Q50 but recently I one-upped him when I took the Q60S Red Sport 400 Edition for a weekend tour of the Cowichan Valley region, of Vancouver Island. No track work but lots of back roads and freeway.
Sports coupes are in demand and the Hong Kong headquartered marque is aiming the Q60, which has spun off from the G35 and G37 coupes, squarely at the Lexus RC 350 and the BMW 4 Series. The G coupe successor has a more contemporary design – lower and wider.
The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine revving under the hood ahead of me would supply me with the power of 400 horses once I got off the ferry! No, I didn’t start up until we had docked. Incidentally, that’s 100 more horsepower than the base BMW rival though an M Series version does top it with another 25 horses.
But that’s just a numbers game and, of course, I’m always less enamoured by technical specifications than real performance. As we hit the highway to Victoria, the car smoothly pulled away from everything around to 100 klicks in less than five seconds, thanks to the responsive seven-speed auto transmission.
Nice driving position and good visibility fore and aft. Comfy seats front and rear.
Taking to the backroads, we felt the benefits of the Dynamic Digital Suspension, which smoothed the bumps as advertised. The standard rear wheel biased, all-wheel drive saved us from getting seriously stuck in a mud pooled back woods track. This is not intended to be a deep woods machine but it was impressive and saved my blushes.
Back to the local black top to play with the driver mode selector. Sport provides the rush and Sports Plus adds to the excitement. I was less than impressed with the paddles in terms of gap between the tap and response. Good road feedback and cornering is much improved over the sibling Q50.
The centre stack has two high-resolution touchscreens. The large eight-inch top screen displays the navigation information, while the slightly smaller lower screen is used to provide touch access to the car settings.
The tester was tech-loaded, including lane keeping assist, and an adaptive cruise control that looks well ahead, as you should! It then offers early warning for the need for emergency braking. two cars ahead, giving early warning for emergency braking. It also means you can get lazy on the freeway in good conditions and enable the car ahead to govern your speed. You slow when it slows.
In addition to the hot edition I had, which has a fuel economy of 12.5 city/9.2 hwy L/100 km, there also trims offering a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine with 300 horsepower (12.4 city/8.8 hwy L/100 km), and a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, 208 horsepower engine (11.2 city/8.5 hwy L/100 km) from Mercedes-Benz.
Base sticker price for the Q60 2.0t AWD is $45,990. Step up to the base six-cylinder and the price rises to $52,990. As mentioned, my tester was the 3.0t Red Sport 400 AWD Technology and that will only be yours if you shell out $64,190 plus freight and taxes.
Sebastian Vettel would be envious.