Automobiles

[REVIEW] 2019 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Luxe Coupe

The Q60 is Infiniti’s stab at the premium sports coupe market. Based on the Infiniti Q50 sedan, it has only one Japanese rival, the Lexus RC coupe.

However, the field is currently crowded by European rivals such as the Audi A5 coupe, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, as well as the venerable BMW 4-Series.

Infiniti has an uphill battle as these brands currently own the lion’s share of the market partly due to their upscale reputations for heritage, quality, and sportiness.

What’s the appeal?

These days, increasing number of luxury auto manufacturers are offering their formerly rear-wheel-drive only coupes with all-wheel-drive variants.

No longer does owning a sports coupe have to be an oxymoron to the word “winter”. Just swap out the all-season or summer tires for a set of good snow tires, and you are set to go for a Canadian winter.

However, two door coupes still fall into the realm of playthings. They’re too cramped or too impractical to be family cars and they compromise functionality for style.

But yet, for die hard sport-car enthusiasts, the extra responsiveness and entertainment in handling characteristics are worth it all.

What’s under the hood?

The Q60 coupe is offered in two engine variants, both 3.0-litre V6s with twin turbos. My test model, the Q60 3.0t Luxe AWD, was the more placid of the offerings, with 300 horsepower.

The hot tamale of the duo of engines, available only in the I-Line Red Sport version of the Q60, gets a significant bump to 400 horsepower.

Torque with the lower tuned engine maxes out at 295 lbs-ft, peaking at an around-town-friendly 1,600 rpms, giving the coupe a decent kick of acceleration in most situations.

The Q60’s twin turbocharged V6 may well produce more power than its rivals, but doesn’t shout about it. The exhaust is snarly but still relatively quiet and power is delivered smoothly and cleanly.

If anything the lack of drama is surprising because the refinement and cosseting makes it difficult to judge how quickly the Q60 3.0t actually is.

The seven speed automatic transmission is a traditional torque converter unit with Downshift Rev Matching. While the transmission can be sequentially shifted in manual mode with the gearshift lever, only the Q60 3.0T Sport or I-Line Red Sport get steering wheel mounted paddles.

This is an odd omission for a car that is supposed to be biased towards performance, but I suppose that’s why Infiniti is trying to differentiate the Q60 trim lines the way they are.

Performance-wise, the gearbox shifts relatively quickly and smoothly, however, it is not as snappy as those from its German rivals. The delay in changing gear sadly robs some enjoyment from the excellent engine.

Engine and transmission responses can be customised by the Drive Mode Selector, to fit your personal preferences, whether it’s cruising in comfort, a bias towards fuel economy, or the highest performance output that the car can put out.

What’s it like to drive?

With hushed cabin noise levels, the Q60 3.0t Luxe biases comfort and grand touring over outright performance. Still, the coupe rides more firmly than it’s Q50 sedan cousin.

Quick directional changes show off the chassis’ agility and the firmer ride results in little body roll. No doubt the Red Sport or Sport, with their dynamically adjustable shocks, will be even better.

The Q60 features Infiniti’s second generation steer-by-wire system that has infinitely adjustable ratios. Called Direct Adaptive Steering, the system uses actuators and sensors to convey steering wheel input to the tires rather than an actual mechanical connection.

Fear not, should the electronics fail, there is still a clutch in the steering column as a solid connection back-up.

The system has been significantly improved in feel since the first-generation version of this technology. Engineers have dialed it in for more accuracy and feel, however, the steering could still transmit more meaningful feedback to the driver’s fingertips.

For example, you become aware of understeer when you’re finding yourself carving a wider arc than you intended since the mechanical feedback of how the front tires are scrubbing is not as apparent.

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that Direct Adaptive Steering almost requires a different mindset to full appreciate the technology at work. One can tweak both the steering weight (and therefore feel) as well as its responsiveness.

That is to say, in its most aggressive Sport+ setting, there is less steering movement needed with the steering wheel when required to initiate a sharper turn to get around a corner.

Once you get accustomed to the artificially quick dartiness especially upon initial turn-in, and work with the settings, setting the car up properly for your favourite bit of twisty tarmac brings on a different type of driving pleasure in a video game meets reality sort of way.

It’s not totally realistic, but yet it’s good fun, in a different new way. Will purists love it? Probably not, but for those that accept it, the Q60 responds loyally to the inputs and it doesn’t take long before it feels intuitive to place the Q60, even with the changing steering ratios.

Supplementing this steering technology is Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system with torque vectoring. This system system can adapt to the changing conditions by constantly monitoring wheelspin, throttle position and vehicle speed.

In dry conditions, the system is able to send 100 per cent of the power to the rear wheels for more responsive road performance.

However it can automatically divert up to 50 per cent of the available power to the front wheels to enhance traction and control in adverse conditions.

Particularly in Sport or Sport+ mode, there is a palpable sense of the Q60 sending power to the rear as it pushes you out of a corner.

There is so much grip and traction that some of the fun may actually be taken out of it. The benefit, of course, is that the Q60 remains composed in almost any situation, whether wet or dry.

Active Trace Control further adjusts the brakes and suspension settings on the fly (when equipped with the adaptive shocks) to enhance the feeling of cornering, giving the driver more confidence attacking corners at speed.

Infiniti’s Safety Shield package includes adaptive cruise control, active blind spot warning, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.

With only one button to activate the system, it is one of the easiest and most comprehensive systems on the market.

Fun fact. The “Eco” drive control setting makes use of the same active throttle pedal system and can gently push back on the driver if he/she is accelerating too aggressively, similar to if the system detects an obstacle and is trying to get attention.

Interior accoutrements

Infiniti’s dual touchscreen infotainment system from the Q50 is carried over in the Q60 coupe. This means a lot of infotainment settings and car control customizations, but also a sometimes unexpectedly complicated level of menu hunting for simple controls.

The controls in and of itself can be learnt by owners over time. However, what is disappointing to see is that the system is still a bit laggy.

While certainly improved over the first time I had a taste of it 3 years ago, one questions why progress is behind that of its competitors.

As of this time, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are not offered.

Happily, Infiniti has upgraded the camera quality for the excellent surround view system at least. I really liked the curbside split screen view in order to avoid curb rash on the attractive looking 19” wheels.

The Q60’s front seats are extremely supportive and comfortable. Being a coupe, the Q60 is rather low slung and slinky Therefore, as expected, it takes a bit more dexterity during entry and egress. Buyer beware as the Q60’s front headroom is a bit limiting for those who are taller and have longer torsos.

The rear perches are usable only for kids and small adults and the headrests that are integrated into the rear seatback are really quite inadequate for anything but persons of that size.

The trunk is reasonably sized for a coupe with a low liftover. But the rear seatback only folds down as a single unit (versus a 60/40 split), so one cannot place a long object and a passenger on the other side.

Parting Thoughts

The Q60 is a well-appointed coupe that combines the Infiniti brand’s blend of value, performance, and luxury.

Compared with its other Japanese competitor, of which there really only is one in the form of the Lexus RC350, the Infiniti remains competitive and arguably more sporty and elegant.

Moreover, it has the right blend of maturity, stance and proportions.

Head to head with the German coupes that dominate the market though, the Q60 has a heavier reliance on electronic aids and is therefore less engaging to drive.

Ultimately, most buyers will be satisfied when they realise that therein lies the compromise with the Q60. It is undoubtedly more luxurious in its base form versus that of the Europeans, and for thousands less.

Therefore if value for money and a heavy features list is what you’re looking for, the Q60 coupe will be fully up to snuff.

Andrew Ling
Andrew is a proud car and tech geek who has worked in Surrey for over the last 10 years. He comes from a communications/marketing background and has worked for automotive-related companies such as Edmunds.com, BenzWorld.org since 1999. From track driving, to rally driving to autocross, he has done it all! When he’s not reading about the latest automotive news, he can be found outdoors snapping pictures at various events around town.
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