In the year 2002, Infiniti gave us the stunning G35 and G35 Coupé, the hottest Infiniti product ever; one that is very highly regarded to this day. The G35 put Nissan’s premium brand on the map and was the object of affection for every car enthusiast during its initial years. When I was in university, it was the hot car to have, and those of us driving around in older beaters were envious of the kids whose parents’ bought them the G or its sibling, the Nissan 350Z. Fast forward a decade and a half, and the 2018 Infiniti Q60 3.0t AWD tries to accomplish the same mission, so it became a mission to spend a week in one to see just how it fares.
From a looks perspective, the Q60 is simply beautiful. The lines flow in a spectacular manner, and I personally remember visiting Infiniti’s San Diego design studio months before the coupé’s launch to get a secretive preview of it. This is the two-door version of the Q50 (reviewed here), also a car that looks fresh and clean, with modern wheel designs and LED lighting front and rear. The two-door Q60’s proportions are exceptional and the car just looks great from any angle.
On the inside, things change a little bit. The interior is great to look at, with adequate materials and pleasant aesthetics. Appointments overall are quite good, with comfortable seats and easy access to most major controls (including physical buttons for primary tasks). The two-tiered touchscreen system is a weak point though, as the top screen has graphics that date back to the 2008 G37. The lower screen uses the Infiniti InTouch system (powered by Intel) and while it looks great, the system exhibits lag reminiscent of an older Windows computer and we experienced quite a few glitches over the course of our test.
Materials however, don’t feel quite as nice as they look. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is hard and isn’t quite as supple as it should be. It also can’t be heated, which is annoying when Nissan’s own Maxima (reviewed here) has offered this function since 2001. The leather that upholsters the seats is very nice, and the bolstering is good. Front and center ahead of the driver is the instrument gauge cluster that looks like it hasn’t changed since the last G37, and the colour screen within it could use a refresh.
The active safety suite Infiniti calls a “Safety Shield” is definitely one of the better ones out there, with forward collision warning, blind spot information, and adaptive cruise control that worked flawlessly. It’s also very easy to turn all of the nannies off with an easily accessible button on the wheel; this is a good feature that is often overlooked by most manufacturers, especially with active safety becoming more and more intrusive.
The Q60 offers three powertrains, and this is the “middle ground” offered to Canadians. Base models get a 208-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (reviewed here), whereas the two V6 models finally do away with the VQ37 V6. As dated as that engine was, it was iconic in its great power delivery and raw sound. The VR-series 3.0L V6 that succeeds it is sure to attract a fanbase the same way the VQ did. In this application, output is 300 horsepower, which is more than the BMW 430i and Mercedes-Benz C 300 (reviewed here).
When you put your foot down, the Q60 responds quickly and immediately, and the powertrain sounds great too. The seven-speed automatic transmission shifts reasonably quickly, though it baffles me that Infiniti has not included paddle shifters as standard fare on V6 models (the optional 400 Red Sport powertrain is equipped with these). Chassis rigidity is good, and the car stays planted around corners with minimal roll, but ride quality in the city is rougher than its competition. The Lexus RC 350 (reviewed here) is in a similar league, and has a more composed ride in typical Lexus fashion.
An object of criticism since its 2014 inception is Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS). What’s special about this technology is that it’s a full steer-by-wire system, which eliminates any physical connection between the steering wheel and the drive wheels. It’s all controlled through a computer, though there is a mechanical backup that can jump in within milliseconds if there is a failure. Within the drive select menu, the driver can select varying degrees of steering response.
With the steering in its most dynamic setting, there is no dead zone on center and the Q60’s steering is extremely fast. This system has been improved significantly since it was new, and the technical advantage is undeniable. Unfortunately, it means when pushing the Q60 around corners, the steering is devoid of any feel whatsoever. It feels like a very realistic driving simulator, but at the end of the day, it still has the characteristics of a video game.
The other problem in the Q60 lies in its competition. This test vehicle comes in at just over $60,000, and while it’s quite loaded at that price point, it still “only” offers 300 horsepower. Competition from Germany at the $60,000 price point includes the BMW 440i (reviewed here), Audi S5 and Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupé. All of these vehicles offer significantly more power, a higher quality interior, and comparable equipment even at their respective entry-level price points. The Q60 is the winner of all of the style points, but that’s about the only advantage it has over the others.
Our road test of the Q60 consisted of the usual commute between home and office for a week, but also included a 280km round trip on the highway. It’s an ace as a highway cruiser, with a quiet cabin and a steering setup that does not require constant correction. Fuel economy is also significantly improved over any VQ 3.7L V6, with this car returning a test average of 10.2L/100km. The longer highway haul resulted in 8.3L/100km, and the entire period took place on 91-octane premium fuel.
Infiniti is still a very relevant player in the premium section, and this is a very competent sporty coupé. The 2018 Infiniti Q60 3.0t AWD is a gorgeous two-door that has plenty to offer for the typical buyer, but there are some updates that it should receive before going head-to-head with the big names from Germany. With the Lexus RC 350 being its main competitor, it’s in a good place with the Japanese offerings. The Q60 isn’t quite as iconic as the original G35 was, and it’s too early to say whether or not its design will age as gracefully, but it’s not a poor buy by any means. Our recommendation is to do your due diligence and sample the competition, as this entire segment is often purchased based on sheer visual appeal rather than straight value and practicality.