2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport quick review

By Tony O’Kane, 18 Apr 2017 Car Reviews

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2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport quick review

Infiniti’s twin-turbo V6 performance flagship is now in the country, with a strong standard equipment list and commendable bang-for-buck for a reasonable $88,900.

INTRO

Following on from the four-cylinder Q60 coupe that launched here late last year, Japanese luxury automaker Infiniti has at last brought out its more powerful V6-engined sibling, the Q60 Red Sport.

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TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

Featuring the same 298kW/475Nm powertrain as the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport sedan, the Q60 Red Sport performs almost identically but boasts a sportier two-door layout. There’s also an extra steering setting for its complex steer-by-wire system that aims to make it the most satisfying to drive model in the Infiniti showroom.

Retailing at $88,900, the only option available on the Q60 Red Sport is what paint colour you prefer – the list of standard equipment is so extensive, that Infiniti reckons buyers will want for nothing.

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STRENGTHS

  • The engine is a standout part of the Q60 Red Sport experience, with linear power delivery and a generous torque band that stretches from 1600rpm to 5200rpm. Power tops out at 298kW and peak torque is a sizable 475Nm, which puts the Red Sport well above rivals like the BMW 440i and Mercedes-AMG C43.

  • There may not be a manual transmission option, but the Red Sport’s seven-speed torque converter automatic is a peachy unit that shifts smoothly but decisively when left to its own devices. Tip it into manual mode, and gear changes are quick on upshifts and smoothly rev-matched on downshifts.

  • Exterior design may be a bit wild for some people’s tastes, but the Q60’s classic coupe proportions and confident styling are arguably the most cohesive interpretation of Infiniti’s current design language to date. It has presence, even if the badge can’t quite match its rivals for brag-factor.

  • Equipment levels are extensive. As the flagship of the Q60 range, the Red Sport has auto-everything (windows, wipers, LED headlamps, keyless entry), heated and powered front seats, a high-end 13-speaker Bose audio with digital radio tuner, top-down camera view and a dual-display infotainment system. The only option on the Red Sport: metallic paint.

  • Handling is superb, especially considering the Red Sport’s hefty 1.8-tonne kerb weight. Body control is excellent with minimal roll during hard cornering. The grippy Dunlop tyres stick to the road well too, and the Red Sport will attack twisty roads with confidence.

  • Braking performance is just as strong as the suspension and powertrain, with sizable Akebono fixed calipers at front and rear providing plenty of stopping power to rein in the somewhat porky Red Sport.

  • Sound is a key part of the performance car equation, and the Q60 Red Sport delivers strongly on this front. With a refined V6 growl emanating from the twin tailpipes, the Red Sport has some aural similarities with its very purposeful cousin the Nissan GT-R. 

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WEAKNESSES

  • Steering is perhaps the biggest flaw of the Red Sport. Infiniti’s “Direct Adaptive Steering” system effectively transmits driver inputs at the steering wheel electronically to the steering rack, bypassing a traditional mechanical linkage. The result is a steering ratio that can vary intelligently to make the car easier to drive, but the result in the Red Sport is dull steering feel and feedback that makes the car less engaging to drive. Not such a huge deal in a regular car, but in a performance coupe it’s a bit of a handicap.

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  • The Q60 Red Sport has a firm suspension tune – as expected given its performance-oriented posture – but on choppy bitumen it delivers a harsh ride. And that’s despite having dual-mode electronically adjustable dampers. With the ability to switch between a performance-oriented suspension tune and something more appropriate for regular driving, it’s surprising that the Red Sport’s ‘normal’ suspension calibration is as stiff as it is.

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  • Road noise is quite loud on the coarse-chip roads that are commonplace throughout Australia. The Q60’s audio system is apparently equipped with noise-cancelling technology, but there’s still plenty of tyre roar that makes its way into the cabin.

  • The Q60 Red Sport’s seven-speed auto is a decent transmission is most respects, but for one thing: its habit of automatically upshifting when in manual mode.

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  • Even in their lowest position, the front seats have a fairly high seating position that means taller occupants may be a little closer to the headlining than they’d like.

  • Strange centre-stack ergonomics take some of the sheen off the interior. Button-heavy with unusual placement of the ventilation controls either side of the lower infotainment screen, the Q60’s dashboard isn’t the most user-friendly cockpit in its class. The two screens also look markedly different, with the upper screen (dedicated to sat-nav functions) appearing more downmarket than the sleek display beneath it.

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ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

There are plenty of sporty luxury four-seat coupes from the usual suspects – BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – but none can really equal the Q60 Red Sport’s combination of performance and price.

The Lexus RC 350 Sports Luxury comes closest with a keen $88,280 price tag, but with only 233kW from its 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6 and a similar kerb weight it can’t keep up with the Infiniti.