The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

ROAD TEST Infiniti Q60 Red Sport: Fledgling attention-grabber

STRIKING good looks are vital for Infiniti. The arresting Q60 sports coupe fits the mould, it's an attention-grabber of the highest order.

Turning heads is pivotal for the fledgling brand in Australia.

Some may recognise the badge from the lapels of F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, but most ask "what is that"?

Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan (akin to Lexus and Toyota, or Hyundai and Genesis), has been around officially Down Under since 2012. Dealership roll-outs have been slow, but can now be found in five metropolitan locations around Australia.

The sensual coupe arrived here last year, but only with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Our experience then found the chassis could handle a whole lot more horses...enter the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. It's a cousin to the donk which inspires the much-admired Nissan GT-R, and damn does it pack some punch.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

VALUE

This is where Infiniti has to deliver to match it with the German big guns.

Given the Red Sport is the coupe's performance showcase, it gets the top-notch Akebono brakes, 19 x 9.0-inch dark chrome alloy wheels with low-profile run-flat rubber along with a digital suspension system that constantly monitors body-roll and bounce rate for the best ride.

Other basic equipment includes a pumping 13-speaker Bose audio system, leather trim, dual exhaust, full bluetooth connectivity - but no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring apps.

Servicing is great value compared to the Euro marques, with total costs for three visits to the dealer $1232 over three years (intervals are annual or 15,000km).

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

COMFORT

Sitting lower and wider than previous Infiniti coupes, it can take some effort to slide into the Q60 seats for those lacking flexibility. That's not confined to the Q60, but a general issue with any sports car.

Rear seat space is limited, although there is enough knee and head room for kids and small adults. Getting into the back means circumnavigating the folded front seats.

While a sports machine, not all commonsense has been cast aside. Dual cup holders, a centre console and a handy spot in front of the shifter provide useful storage spots.

Boot space is only 341 litres, which was enough to handle two large suitcases and a smaller carry-on piece. There's also no power boot opening...not a major issue given it's small lid but the functionality is becoming commonplace on all luxury models.

Interior finishes live up to premium expectations. Feeling tailored with a mixture of soft-touch, leather as well as a mixture of carbon fibre and silver optic fibre finishes, there are also twin touchscreens (8-inch upper and 7-inch lower) as part of the InTouch central control system.

Operationally it's simple and straight forward with key functionalities on the lower screen. It does revert back to the home screen every time you turn off the vehicle - we'd like it to only return to the home app options when the button is pressed.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

DRIVING

When your cousin is the rampaging, insane Nissan GT-R, you know you're onto a good thing.

Within the company are some industry leading experts when it comes to getting the most from a V6, and this twin turbo is a raucous piece of gear.

The supercar from Nissan is just plain insane, whereas the Q60 Red Sport is quick, fun and nimble, without having to peel yourself from the driver's seat every time you accelerate.

When first introduced the Rack Electronic Power Steering is interesting. Insanely sharp and direct, the traditional mechanicals are replaced by digital technology with the adaptive steering making up to 1000 adjustments a second.

It doesn't take long to become accustomed, just initially it can catch the uninitiated off-guard via its sharp response and no vibrations through the wheel.

Gaining Sport+ mode over the other Q60 models, the driver can choose the personality to best suit terrain and mood. Sporting derivatives firm up the body and respond quicker to steering and acceleration inputs.

There is also an Eco variation for fuel saving...although that just seems to make the right pedal feel like you're playing an organ.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

SAFETY

There's no official safety rating from ANCAP, but the Q60 comes with all the latest kit, including automatic emergency braking if a forward collision is detected (pedestrians included), an around view monitor with moving object detection function, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and active assist which can keep the vehicle from wandering outside the lines as well as automatic high beam.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

ALTERNATIVES

Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe ($106,211).

A whole lot of fun and good looks to match.

Lexus RC350 Sports Luxury ($87,991).

Beautiful external lines and excellent specification list.

BMW M2 Pure ($90,210).

One of the best sports cars you'll find for this coin. A modern classic.

Audi S5 Coupe ($105,511).

Great drive with good space in the back.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

VERDICT

Infiniti continues to battle against the Germans for a foothold in the prestige segment. It would take a keen buyer to opt for the Q60 over the European rivals.

It possesses gorgeous looks and impressive sporting prowess, although falls short in overall penache to woo keen steerers.

 

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport.

AT A GLANCE

Infiniti Q60 Red Sport

PRICE $88,900.

ENGINE 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo 298kW/475Nm.

TRANSMISSION Seven-speed auto, RWD.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING 4yr warranty, 3 services $1232 (cheap for luxury marque)

THIRST 8.9 L/100km


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