2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport: A Sport Coupe Made for Real People

Published on October 4, 2016 in First Drives by Marc-André Gauthier

All too often, we automobile journalists use the same yardstick for all vehicles. And that’s a mistake. It makes much more sense to determine whether the Toyota Avalon delivers what its clients are looking for, versus an absolute standard against which even the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is compared. Right?

That’s the problem that struck me when I was asked to write about the Infiniti Q60. Why? Because if we compare it to a Porsche, the poor thing doesn’t stand a chance. Even pitted against the BMW 4 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, the Q60 just doesn’t serve up the same level of dynamism.

But what if we were to accept that sizing up its dynamic qualities was an exercise in futility? After all, what Q60 owner is going to test his car on the track? It’s safe to say that 99% of Q60s, if not more, will never spend a day at the circuit. So why do we focus so much on its ability to tear up the track? Maybe we should just stick to its ability to perform in real-life conditions.

The truth is that for everyday driving, the 2017 Infiniti Q60 is actually pretty impressive—and very likeable.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Stylish yet anonymous

Admit it. The first thing that struck you about this vehicle was its style. Crafted to perfection, the Q60 is definitely the nicest car to come out of the Infiniti workshop in years. Every curve was carefully studied and deliberately placed to catch the eyes of onlookers.

Inside, the cabin is very similar to that of the Q50 sedan, including the sense of overall quality. It’s especially nice in white. Design-wise, however, they should have updated the infotainment system’s graphic interface. It’s perfectly functional, but the design and colours don’t convey a sufficiently high-end look.

Back to the passenger compartment. We tested the Red Sport, which is the most powerful and sporty of the bunch. So how do you tell a Red Sport apart from the “normal” and Silver Sport versions? The regular version bears the Q60 badge, while the Silver Sport has a silver S beside the Q60 badge. On the Red Sport, that S is—you guessed it—red.

A lot of folks criticize the Q60 Red Sport for coming up short on distinctive emblems, like the ones found on the BMW M3 (compared to a regular 3 Series). But Infiniti has not made the Red Sport into an M Division, and the Q60 is already extreme enough as it is. Anything beyond that would have been in poor taste.

Real life driving

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 was made for people who like to drive. And one look at the symbolic rear seats is enough to tell you that this isn’t a family car.

The Q60 is available with three engines. There’s the baseline 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, which is good for 208 horsepower. Then there’s the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 with 300 horsepower, but make that 400 horsepower in the Red Sport. The 100 extra ponies are provided by the turbochargers that pump more pressure, as well as the hardware needed to maintain it.

Whatever the engine, the Q60 comes with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Combine 400 horsepower and all-wheel drive, and you’ve got something good going on! Yet, the vehicle isn’t overly powerful, meaning you can leverage all the power without fear of slipping, as you might in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

The seven-speed automatic gearbox does an honest job and responds well to acceleration. To give you an idea, it’s much better than the eight-speed gearbox found in the Lexus RC 350, its rival.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport comes with a sportier suspension and yet it’s pretty comfortable, even on poorly maintained roads.

With regard to the dynamic qualities I mentioned in the intro, I was primarily referring to the chassis, which was designed for the highway, and the steering. The Q60, like the Q50, uses a system in which the steering wheel does not communicate mechanically with the wheels, except in case of emergency. Instead, motors relay commands to the wheels, depriving the driver of the usual vibrations felt in the steering wheel (which can give you useful information on the road).

In the real world, this system automatically corrects the vehicle’s trajectory, so that you don’t have to constantly rectify it yourself to compensate for imperfections in the pavement. The experience is relaxing—especially since the optional electronic safety shield enables the car to follow the lines painted on the highway. Combined with intelligent cruise control, this feature almost makes you feel like you’re driving a Tesla.

In short, this car offers abundant and useable power, as well as plenty of comfort; it’s perfect for your everyday driving needs. You’ll have a fast set of wheels that’s up for a good time. Sure, it’s not really designed for the track—in contrast with its German competitors—but in the real world, the Q60 is just as good, if not better. You get all the performance of an M4 without the drawbacks in the 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport!

Test drive report
Test model 2017 Infiniti Q60
Trim level Coupe 3.0t Red Sport 400 AWD Technology
Price range $45,990 – $64,190
Price as tested CA$64,190
Warranty (basic) 4 years/100,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 6 years/110,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 13.1 / 9.3 / 10.0 L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Lexus RC, Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Strong points
  • Heart-stopping good looks
  • Nicely crafted cabin
  • Interesting engines
  • Responsive automatic gearbox
Weak points
  • Steering will disappoint purists
  • Red Sport version doesn’t stand out
  • Impractical rear seats
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.5/5 10 L/100 km for 400 horsepower: That’s not bad at all!
Comfort 4.0/5 Good position and forgiving sport suspension.
Performance 4.5/5 Good accelerations, responsive automatic gearbox. Power useable 100% of the time.
Infotainment 3.5/5 Several features, but the graphic interface is low-end.
Driving 3.5/5 Not everyone likes the power steering. Your neighbour will like it, but purists won’t.
Overall 4.0/5 Infiniti wasn’t designed for the track, but it’s great for real-life driving conditions. It’s hard to find fault with the final product.
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