Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400

by Michael Satterfield

When INFINITI launched the third generation of the Q60 last year, I admit I didn't really pay any attention to it, sure it didn't look terrible, it had the right numbers, yet it struck me as just another "starting at" mid $50K sports coupe, a segment that has a way of making a performance car shockingly boring. But then I had the opportunity to drive the Q60 Red Sport 400 both on the road and at the track a few weeks ago and I have to admit, INFINITI got this one right.

INFINITI calls their design philosophy "Powerful Elegance" and use words like taut, striking, and daring to describe the look of the Q60. If you were to hear their description before seeing it, you might be expecting an avant-garde styling exercise more akin to a concept car, but you would be sadly disappointed. The car does have a nice look to it, but an Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera is striking, the Q60 I would describe more like a friend with a "great personality" who you are pitching for a blind date, words like safe, proportional, and unoffensive come to mind. It's not a bad thing, and the styling will appeal to the suburban upper management types who want something nice to commute in, but striking, it is not. Even the $2,250 optional carbon fiber package, while it helps, is a little underwhelming. 

If any aspect of the Q60 could score style points it would be the interior, replete with carbon fiber and top-quality leather. It is a nice place to be and strikes a balance between the ostentatiousness that is expected in this category of luxury performance cars and the more minimalist styling that we saw in the INFINITI Q80 Inspiration Concept back in 2014. If you are going to order one, I would suggest Monaco red leather with silver carbon fiber to add a little more drama.

As you would expect it has a Bose premium audio system, a nice touch screen, and optional packages like the Proassist Package and Proactive Package that add features like backup collision intervention, rain-sensing wipers, active lane control, adaptive steering, and a lot more for their combined $4,600 price tag. For just $420 more you can also add illuminated kick plates, suggesting that you would need to be high to want illuminated kick plates in 2019.

But all of the pretentious language used to describe the styling can be forgiven because once you slide behind the wheel and switch over to sport mode you see that the money they saved on styling was spent on engineering. So much has been done to make the Q60 go faster, handle better, and stop shorter, from active grille shutters, dynamic digital suspension, and intelligent all-wheel-drive that the Q60 is one of the most surprising cars I have ever driven.

The VR30 DDTT V6 channels 400hp through a seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with manual shift mode that is shockingly responsive. Switching over to Sport+ mode the car really comes alive and feels more like GTR and less like an old G35. On the track, the Q60 was easy to drive fast, the intelligent AWD system allowed the car to perform like a rear-wheel-drive sports car only reigning me in when I pushed beyond the limits of grip, which it has plenty of. After a few hot laps around the course, it was time to drive back to my hotel, a quick switch to standard mode and the Q60 switches back to a comfortable daily driver again.

While the Q60 was fun to drive and the performance was much more than I had expected, the price of the Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD with all the options comes in at $67,315, which is a lot of money for a really nice Nissan. My first thought as an enthusiast is that a BMW M4 is "just" a few grand more, but when you compare options and equipment the Q60 fully loaded is still over ten grand cheaper than the Bimmer.

While the Q60 wouldn't be my first choice, it does make my top five for this segment, and being an INFINITI will be a reliable and safe car for years to come, which is what most people who are shopping in the segment are looking for anyways.

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