Car reviews - Infiniti - Q60 - range
Distinctive styling, form-hugging seats, decent performance, clever collision warning technology, ownership credentials
Room for improvement
Heavy kerb weight affects response, vague steering, unsettled ride, dated infotainment system, abrupt stability control intervention
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24 Nov 2016
IT HELPS that the Q60 2.0t GT is priced lower than established competition, and with competitive specification.
Little touches such as LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels are all standard from $62,900 plus on-road costs. Even the $65,090 Lexus RC200t and $65,900 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe only include 18s.
Semi-aniline leather trim is also standard on the Q60 where others include fake leather. Where some rivals charge up to $3000 for a sunroof alone, a $3000-optional Enhancement Pack for the Q60 2.0t GT adds a sunroof, 13-speaker Bose audio system, around-view camera and adaptive headlights with automatic high beam.
This package does, however, push the pricetag beyond the Lexus to match the Benz. The Q60 also misses the standard automatic park assistance and around-view camera of the C200, the adaptive cruise control, 10-speaker audio and ventilated seats of the RC200t Luxury and the adaptive suspension, head-up display and around-view camera of the $68,900 420i.
Although the Infiniti also lacks the ability to steer itself within a freeway lane – available in the Benz – its pre-collision warning system can cleverly bounce a radar beneath a forward travelling vehicle to detect harsh braking and a potential collision with the vehicle two cars ahead.
The impressive Infiniti ownership experience also starts with a four-year/100,000km warranty and ends with roadside assistance over that period that will even provide a replacement car to one family member who owns another car, should they come into trouble.
Inside, the Q60 2.0t GT feels well built, the front seats are nicely bolstered and the seat trim quality is as impressive as the tight shut lines. However, the Nissan-derived switchgear feels cheap and the dashboard design appears generic.
It does not help that the Infiniti’s InTouch twin-screen system – an 8.0-inch satellite navigation unit atop a 7.0-inch settings control screen – are of a different resolution and do not look integrated.
The top screen features basic navigation graphics with Suna traffic information and can be accessed via the touchscreen or from a console-mounted rotary controller. The lower screen has multiple settings for other functions that can only be accessed via that touchscreen.
It is needlessly divisive with few benefits, and at a time when Audi is introducing the ‘virtual cockpit’ and BMW expanding its excellent iDrive system, the Infiniti even lacks voice control to input navigation addresses. A digital speedometer is not included, nor a head-up display.
Although there is decent legroom for rear passengers, poor headroom leaves craniums of even the moderately tall pressed into glass. The Q60 does not feature rear air vents found in all rivals, either.
The boot is sizeable, however the opening for the one-piece rear backrest is narrow and other competitors include a 60:40 (or 40:20:40) split-fold design to boost practicality.
With the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 model grade – dubbed Q60 3.0t Red Sport – delayed until March 2017, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is currently the only option.
It produces a competitive 155kW at 5500rpm and 350Nm between 1250rpm and 3500rpm, and links with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
This is ahead of 2.0-litre rivals the 135kW/270Nm 420i and 135kW/300Nm C200, but behind the 180kW/350Nm RC200t. The Q60 2.0t merely matches the 7.3sec 0-100km/h claim of the Benz because it weighs 1698kg – the heftiest in the class.
The 1675kg Lexus is similarly portly, managing the same 7.5sec sprint time as the substantially lighter 1450kg BMW using its significantly lower outputs.
Combined-cycle fuel consumption figures illuminate how hard this engine must work: the Q60 2.0t claims to slurp 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres versus 6.0L/100km for the Benz, 6.1L/100km for the 420i and 7.3L/100km for the RC200t.
The Infiniti drivetrain is smooth and refined in unstressed situations, and the coupe feels decently brisk when pressed. The seven-speed can take time adapting to more enthusiastic driving, but it then holds gears prudently, although there are no paddleshifters only a gearlever tipshifter function.
Through the mid-range the engine starts to sound grainy and feels like it is working hard, though.
Road noise is prominent, particularly on coarse-chip roads, and with the multi-mode adaptive dampers – dubbed Digital Dynamic Suspension (DSS) – reserved for the flagship 3.0t Red Sport, the fixed suspension of this 2.0t GT struggles to deliver comfortable ride quality.
Low-profile tyres trip up the Benz fixed suspension setup and the same is true for this Infiniti. Although we did not drive it around town, on sweeping roads it is constantly busy and restless.
Infiniti also reserves the fully electric Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) for the top Q60, leaving this entry grade with an electro-mechanical setup. It lacks linearity and fails to inspire confidence, with light weighting on the centre position, a hollow phase on turn-in to a corner, followed then by a sharp initial bite and heavier weighting as lock is wound on.
Handling on twisty roads feels tight and eager, with limited bodyroll from the firm suspension, although mid-corner bumps elicit steering shudder and ruffle the chassis. Attempting to feed in throttle on corner exits also results in the stability control making abrupt intervention. On smooth roads with less restrictive electronics, indications are the rear-wheel-drive Q60 2.0t GT could be a terrific drive.
If the DDS was available to cure its ride quality ills and the DAS amended its steering issues, a real driver’s car could emerge – and it is now up to next year’s Q60 3.0t Red Sport to fulfil that brief. If this model is meant to be a Grand Touring vehicle, however, it is too noisy and bumpy.
Currently, the Q60 seems unsure what it wants to be and feels overpriced relative to vastly superior opposition. Its distinctive styling will help build Infiniti’s brand image, but continual product improvement is hopefully also on the cards to match that ascent.
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