2019 Infiniti Q60 review: Can power top subpar tech? – Roadshow
One bad apple doesn’t always ruin the whole bunch, and the 2019 Infiniti Q60 proves that, especially in its powerful Red Sport 400 spec. There’s a whole lot to like about this sleek little coupe, but while parts of it will have you signing up for social media just to shout its value into the ether, other parts will leave you wondering where your money went.
The Infiniti Q60’s body doesn’t look like it debuted two years ago. In fact, I think it’s my favorite Infiniti design of the last decade, replacing the lumpy awkwardness of the previous-generation G37 Coupe with something svelte and special. The front end keeps it tight, with a right-sized grille and thin lights that lead into curves, curves and more curves. The rear end terminates with a slope that’s evocative of the O.G. Infiniti G35 Coupe. The Q60 looks expensive, like a luxury car should.
There are some touches that help the RS400 stand apart from the regular Q60, but they’re subtle, allowing me to fly under the radar most of the time. Special badges adorn the fenders, red brake calipers make their presence known behind 20-inch alloy wheels and the exhaust tips are larger than usual, but that’s it. The gaudiest part of my loaner is the $ 2,280 carbon fiber package, which adds the lightweight woven material to the trunk, mirror covers, fog lamps and fender vents. But even then, it’s pretty low-key, leading me to wonder if the visual flash is worth the scratch (probably not).
The interior plays a strong aesthetics game, too. The seats are intricately designed with plenty of soft leather and distinctive stitching, but things get a little frustrating in the back, where the engineers may have forgotten that many human beings have legs — and noggins, because my head spends every minute getting personal with the headliner. Sadly, that’s par for the course for a luxury coupe. My absolute favorite part of the interior, though, has to be the silver carbon-fiber-lookin’ trim on the doors and center console, which is standard on my Red Sport 400 tester and looks the absolute business.
On the capacity front, the Q60’s 8.7-cubic-foot trunk offers a large-enough opening, but its overall space pales in comparison to the competition. In a group including the Audi A5, Cadillac ATS, Lexus RC and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, the Infiniti has the smallest boot by a long shot. It makes me wonder if the second row isn’t better off lending some room to the luggage compartment and converting the rest to the glorified parcel shelf it already kind of is.
Red Sport Redemption
While many Q60 buyers are probably content to cruise around in fashion-forward normalcy with the car’s base, 300-horsepower V6, I believe the Red Sport 400’s power bump is integral to the experience. Its twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine puts out a proper 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, and I dig it. There’s motive force no matter when you need it, pulling from a well of torque down low without much, if any turbo lag. Its seven-speed automatic transmission does a commendable job keeping up with my right foot, but some hard shifts reveal a lack of polish that I find on most eight-speed cog-swappers.
The rest of the driving experience has its ups and downs. In terms of positives, I’m a big fan of the Q60’s brakes, which are easy to modulate and provide enough stopping power to back up the V6’s push. The standard adaptive suspension is plenty cushy, soaking up the bumps that the thin 255/35R20 Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS all-season tires can’t, yet the dampers get just stiff enough to keep the car sorted during more spirited efforts.
As for the negatives, we’ll start with the steering. My tester lacks Infiniti’s drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering system, which is good; it’s almost entirely physically disconnected from the front end, and it feels that way. Then again, the stock steering system isn’t much better. I mean, the alloys turn when I wrench the wheel, but beyond that, there’s not much feeling or excitement to be had.
Sound is a major player in a car’s character, too, and I wish there was more to enjoy from the RS400’s six-pot. There’s a pretty bass-heavy rumble on cold starts, and it’ll sing you the song of its people when the tachometer stretches north of 5,000 rpm, but otherwise it’s far quieter than I want it to be. I get it, the whole car is kind of a research paper in demure performance, but that just makes it harder to stand alongside the competition and their better-sounding engines. Not every sound is a good one, though, including the surprising amount of road noise I experience at highway speeds.
Sports cars aren’t expected to return brilliant fuel economy, and as such I’ll give the Q60 RS400 a “Meets Expectations” sticker. At 19 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg highway, the Infiniti lands closest to the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe’s 19/27 EPA estimates, but it falls way behind the Audi S5’s rating of 21 city and 30 highway. Those estimates prove mostly true on the road, as I am able to meet the city mileage while exceeding highway by 1 or 2 mpg.
Tech that really needs an update
This is where things go downhill. Infiniti’s InTouch system is possibly my least favorite in the industry, combining confusing aesthetics with notable software omissions.
The top screen traditionally displays the navigation map, and it’s manipulated using either the touchscreen itself or the dial just below, but the dial only works with the top screen. While the map does its job well enough — it’s just a map, after all — it carries the same graphics as the Garmin GPS unit I used to consider adding to my 1998 Honda Accord. The top half of InTouch feels woefully out of date.
The bottom screen fares a little better, but not by much. A glossy finish means it catches more distracting (and screen-obscuring) reflections from the sun, and it maintains the notion that InTouch just feels like two discrete systems shoehorned into one. The graphics on the lower half appear drastically newer, and while I appreciate that the navigation inputs are always available from the home screen, it pushes most of its limited app suite onto a second page, requiring more glances away from the road. The quick-swap buttons on the bottom for accessing climate and audio are welcome, though.
If you’re looking for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Infiniti has promised that it’s adding these phone-mirroring systems in the future, but for now, they remain disappointingly absent. The backup camera could stand to be updated from its current low-res setup, and while I appreciate my tester’s optional surround-view camera getup, the resolution is still on the low side.
That clever 360-degree monitoring system is part of this car’s $ 2,250 ProAssist package, which also adds blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and reverse automatic braking. Forward autobrake with pedestrian detection is standard. If you’re looking for the lane-holding ProPilot Assist scheme with adaptive cruise control, that’s part of an additional $ 2,850 package, which my tester lacks, that also adds steer-by-wire and requires the aforementioned ProAssist package. Thus, if you want the full suite of safety systems and driver aids, prepare to drop an extra $ 5,100.
How I’d spec it
The Infiniti Q60 starts at $ 40,850 before destination, but I want the Red Sport 400, which brings the price up to $ 55,000. Adding all-wheel drive for all-weather peace of mind throws another $ 2,000 into the pile. This car’s Iridium Blue paint is free, so I’ll stick with that. I’ll swap out the white leather for red, another free option, because I don’t want the interior to look like denim-stained rubbish in a year.
The only two tech packages on offer are the $ 2,250 ProAssist and $ 2,850 ProActive packages, both of which I want, again for a little more peace of mind. My test car is saddled with all manner of silly accessories, and I have no need for $ 420 illuminated kick plates, a $ 310 cargo package that adds a net and a floor protector, $ 465 puddle lamps and $ 510 interior ambient lighting. I’ll also skip the $ 2,280 exterior carbon fiber package.
That brings my out-the-door price to $ 64,090, including $ 995 for destination. It’s $ 50 cheaper than my tester’s $ 64,130 window sticker, because that single driver-aid package covers the gap left when I ditch all the extraneous overpriced bits.
Down to brass tacks
The midrange luxury performance segment is a busy one. The Lexus RC offers decent performance, but the styling already feels old, and its infotainment system is also not my favorite. The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe is an absolute blast on backroads, but it’s punishingly stiff at all times. The soon-to-expire Cadillac ATS-V is more expensive, but it’s also more fun, and it can be had with a manual transmission. The Audi S5 is newer and has better tech, but it’s down on power.
There’s a lot to like about the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400. It looks good, it drives nicely and it’s not obscenely priced among its competitors. Yet, this porkchop isn’t cooked all the way through, charging buttloads for driver aids and packing tech that should have been left in the last decade. With a little bit of elbow grease, Infiniti could keep this car relevant for years to come.