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New Q60 to play small volume, big brand-builder role for Infiniti
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25 Nov 2016
INFINITI Cars Australia has declared its new Q60 premium medium coupe will play the role of brand builder rather than volume seller when local sales commence this month with a line-up priced from $62,900 plus on-road costs.
The company is banking on the three-tier range – comprising entry 2.0t GT, $70,900 2.0t Sport Premium and $88,900 3.0t Red Sport, the latter two of which are delayed until March 2017 – pulling buyers into showrooms primarily with its distinctive styling.
“Q60 is a very important product from a brand perspective, because it says three things,” Infiniti Cars Australia managing director Jean-Philippe Roux said at the national media launch of the Q60 in Melbourne this week.
“The first thing is from a design perspective it’s a very striking vehicle, the second element is there is a very strong emphasis on performance, obviously more with the 228kW (3.0t Red Sport), and the third there is a lot around technology.
“Design and technology are two key pillars when it comes to the brand and I think Q60 is a very strong embodiment of what the brand stands for. This is a very good product when it comes to changing the brand perception on the road.”
An Infiniti-signature LED headlight ‘eyebrow’, double-arched grille, C-cut C-pillar shape, pronounced side creases and integrated rear spoiler were listed as main design elements of the two-door that reduces body height by 60mm compared with the four-door Q50 on which it is based (now 1395mm).
The Q60 also wipes 100mm from the overall length (now 4690mm) of the sedan but shares its 2800mm wheelbase and rear-wheel-drive platform.
Added Infiniti Cars Australia product planning manager Bernard Michel: “Design is one of the bigger pillars of the program, when you think back to the profile of the customer, generally quite a selfish customer, they want the look of the car to be striking and they want to be noticed.
“That’s what has come up in the research and this certainly hits that mark.”
Mr Michel refused to disclose volume targets for the new coupe, but admitted: “It’s incremental volume, it’s not a volume seller like Q30 so it is a very select market,” targeting 40 to 55-year-old professionals.
Although the Q60 commands a $9000 premium over the Q50 sedan, its entry price undercuts the Lexus RC200t Luxury ($65,090), Mercedes-Benz C200 ($65,900), and Audi A5 1.8 TFSI and BMW 420i ($68,900).
Mr Michel said that offering more equipment for the money was an important part of the brand’s growth process, with the Q60t 2.0t GT arriving equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels versus its rivals’ 18s.
“We know we have to stand for something and the value equation is quite strong through our model range,” he explained.
“We look at all competitors in that range, 4 Series BMW, Audi A5, Lexus RC are some of the products, not one that’s singled out but rather a range.”
Standard equipment includes auto-levelling LED headlights and foglights, front and rear parking sensors, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, electrically foldable door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather trim with heated and eight-way electrically adjustable front seats including driver memory settings, six-speaker audio with digital radio, satellite navigation and twin 8.0-inch/7.0-inch colour screens, voice control for audio and phone functions, cruise control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Safety technology extends to six airbags, a reversing camera, switchable electronic stability control and traction control, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with Infiniti’s mooted ‘predictive’ forward collision warning – which can bounce a radar beam under the car travelling ahead onto the car ahead of it to more quickly predict sudden braking and potential traffic collision.
While metallic paint is a $1500 option, the single remaining extra is a $3000 Enhancement Pack including a sunroof, 13-speaker Bose audio system, around-view monitor and swivelling headlights with automatic up/down high beam.
Although a 342-litre boot volume is claimed to be 100 litres larger than the outgoing Q60, which was previously called the G37, it pales alongside the Q50’s 500l cavity.
As the badging suggests, for now a Daimler-derived 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol will be the only option in the single-specification Q60 2.0t GT, delivering 155kW of power at 5500rpm and 350Nm between 1250rpm and 3500rpm, linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
With a kerb weight of 1698kg the smaller Q60 2.0t GT is 52kg heavier than the equivalent Q50 – although a claimed 7.3-second 0-100km/h and a combined cycle fuel consumption claim of 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres are identical.
In five months’ time a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol with 298kW/475Nm will follow, also priced $9000 above the equivalent Q50.
Infiniti has declined, however, to offer a Q60 in lower-output 224kW/400Nm V6 guise as in the Q50 3.0t Sport Premium, but said it was “not ruled out”.
“We’ll look at it and study it, but the market’s telling us that everyone is downsizing in terms of that volume car and we thought those two models hit the mark,” Mr Michel added.
Japanese production capability has forced the delay of the more fully featured four-cylinder and flagship twin-turbo V6 model grades, according to Mr Michel, who confessed the local outfit would have liked to launch the Q60 as a complete range first.
“We could have waited until March next year (to launch Q60) but this was the car that was available to us,” he continued.
“We wanted it in the country as early as possible, and in terms of the product launches we had this year we wanted to keep the momentum with new products. I suppose if you wanted to go back and look at it, maybe we would have launched with the high-powered (version) but Audi have done it for years where they launch RS models 18 months out from the new model.
“There’s no perfect science to it. It (Q60 2.0t) was a good opportunity to launch the volume seller, and it is the volume seller at the end of the day.”
While all Q50 2.0t models utilise double-wishbone independent front and rear suspension with fixed dampers and electro-mechanical power steering, Infiniti’s adaptive Digital Dynamic Suspension and fully electric Direct Adaptive Steering will be available (and standard) only on the twin-turbo V6-engined model.
Full specifications for the Q60 2.0t Sport Premium and Q60 3.0t Red Sport will be announced closer to their March 2017 arrival.
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