Price & Equipment - Winner: Infiniti Q60 Red Sport
The premise here is more hi-po coupe grunt and fruit for less, but does the Infiniti Q60 have the talent to take on Germany? The $88,900 Red Sport version starts by undercutting the BMW 440i by $11K, and you get keyless entry/start, sunroof, around-view monitor, collision warning and AEB, adaptive suspension and an extra 58kW.
The top non-M 4 Series gets sat-nav, reversing camera, head-up display, adaptive dampers, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and city braking systems. There’s also a parking assistant, adaptive LED headlights, high-beam assist, heated front seats, and BMW Connected Drive that offers live traffic information and valet services.
Interior & Versatility - Winner: BMW 440i
It’s easy to get comfy in the Q60 thanks to sumptuous seats and a powered steering column. Dash/console design brings a cocooning feel with high-quality materials and finish. Unique dual-screen layout with nav up top and infotainment functions on a higher res screen below. Some generic-looking switchgear lets the overall image down.
High tech, such as its digital instruments, lives with straight-edged design and plain plastics where the Infiniti often applies something richer, which gives the 440i a more austere feel. Yet the Q60 feels like a heavily gilded Japanese coupe and the BMW is more consistently ‘premium’, with slick infotainment and slightly roomier rear quarters.
Performance & Economy - Winner: BMW 440i
The six-pack pair align with 3.0-litre cubic capacities and forced induction, but Infiniti’s VR30DDTT engine has its pistons in a vee with twinned turbos. There’s 298kW and 475Nm on offer, 58kW/25Nm more than the BMW. The Q60 is addictively thrusty and good at laying its power down via its seven-speed automatic and rear-drive.
The 440i plays a modern rendition of the classic BMW straight-six tune and powers via an eight-speed auto to a forceful top end. Its official 6.8L/100km figure is about 30 percent less than the Q60’s thanks to its 259kg-trimmer kerb weight (1525kg). With smaller outputs pushing fewer kilos, the 5.0sec 0-100km/h claim feels right.
Ride & Refinement - Winner: BMW 440i
Having 19-inch tyres isn’t necessarily the bane of ride quality, but the Infiniti’s are run-flats and, despite the ability to relax the adaptive dampers via a comfort mode, the Q60 and a bumpy road never really get on. It’s busy on both patchy urban tarmac and coarse-chip country roads, where the Infiniti is noisier than its rival.
The 440i is more compliant despite being on 19-inch run-flats too. Its adaptive dampers strike a sweeter ride/handling compromise that brings composure and comfort over undulations. Fidgety ride over sharp bumps is seemingly the work of shallow, stiff sidewalls. But the 440i is better at isolating its occupants from wind rustle and tyre roar.
Steering & Handling - Winner: BMW 440i
Common electric steering critiques of being ‘disconnected’ and having ‘no feel’ are more apt of the Q60’s by-wire steering. By design it lets nothing from the road make its way to your hands and although Infiniti has tried to synthesise the sensation, the result doesn’t feel natural. It’s the link missing from the well-balanced Q60 chassis.
Having an actual steering column in the BMW contributes to making it the pick for driver confidence and involvement. Its feel and the chassis’ innate adjustability becomes more obvious the harder you drive the 440i, and the suspension is better at keeping the tyres glued to the surface when exiting bumpy corners.
Verdict - Winner: BMW 440i
The Infiniti Q60 Red Sport has in its favour uniqueness, high value, twin-turbo thrust, and basically decent dynamics – aloof steering aside.
The lighter BMW, on the other hand, is a known quantity with similar straight-line performance and notably superior official economy, in what’s ultimately a more cohesive driver’s package.
The Infiniti comes backed by the brand’s four-year/100,000km warranty, a year more than BMW’s. If you need greater practicality, the four-door 440i Gran Sport is available for the same money, yet you could also opt for a four-door Q50 Red Sport for almost $20K less than the BMW.
Either way, the German justifies its price by delivering the key ingredients of steering and handling that hit the high-performance coupe mark.