2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Premium: Fun to infinity from Infiniti?
Price: $55,525 as tested (the Technology Package added $1,850 for adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and other driver aids; more on options throughout the column). A base model can be had for $38,950.
Marketer's pitch: "Form meets function."
Conventional wisdom: Motor Trend likes the "V-6 engines with plenty of power; stunning exterior styling; extensive number of ways to customize driving dynamics," but doesn't like that there's "no manual transmission available; convertible variant is still a long way out."
Reality: To infinity and beyond. Just a couple of downsides.
What's in a name? The Infiniti Q60 – I have a hard time keeping their Marvin the Martian nomenclature straight ("The illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator!") – is a small premium sports car. It resembles a grown-up version of the Nissan 360Z.
Up to speed: The 300-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 turbo provides all the oomph necessary to rocket this sports car around. (Motor Trend says it hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.)
Shifty: The 7-speed (7? I've always found this an unusual choice) shiftable automatic mostly did its job. The brushed nickel shift lever added a beautiful touch, but I gave up on shifting it myself because the feel was slushy and the location was awkward. Alas, no manual is available.
On the road: Infinitis tend to handle in their own unusual way, and the Q60 is no exception. On my initial voyages, with the setting to normal mode, the Q60 wanted to drift a bit beyond the lane before overcompensating and swerving hard. Sport mode made the ride a lot more harsh and the driving a bit more fun, but personal mode really gave it the handling and sway that makes driving a delight. Direct adaptive steering added $1,000 to the price tag, and it may be worth exploring whether this option is right for you.
Driver's (and Mrs. Passenger's) Seat: Front-seat occupants are bathed in the Q60's eight-way power, front semi-aniline leather seats ($1,350). They are soft and supportive in just the right doses. During one of the initial trips, the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat and I spent over an hour in stop-and-go traffic to an anniversary dinner, and we arrived without any kinks or knots. (And after this many years of marriage we tend to be less kinky and more knotty.)
Check it out: Everything about the interior just felt premium. Infiniti (and even Nissan) has a way of making the occupants feel as if they're really in a luxurious vehicle; the $400 dark maple wood trim certainly added to that feel in the Q60 tested.
Friends and stuff: It's a two-door sports coupe. We should all be thankful Nissan even bothered to give it a backseat at all. Just enjoy the hilarity that ensues when people are riding back there. Make snide remarks about their frequent complaints. Slowly slide your own seat backward like some rude coach passenger on a transatlantic flight. And guffaw when Sturgis Kid 2.0 tries to extricate himself from the back row, and resembles a baby dinosaur being born.
Play some tunes: The standard Bose Performance 13-speaker audio system provided some of the richest sound I've heard in a long time; I'm going to call it an A+. I could hear parts of songs that I didn't know/remember were there. Operating it could be a bit of a pain, though. With two screens, the map always remains active, which is a good thing. But the stereo has just one dial for volume and the rest of it is controlled through the touchscreen. Too much time monkeying around means a distracted driver.
Keeping warm and cool: The Q60 interface has three buttons along the bottom of the touchscreen allowing the second screen to switch among audio, temperature, and other functions. The touchscreen heater controls are easy to follow and are supplemented by buttons along the outside for temperature, fan, and other functions.
Visibility: This can be sports cars' fatal flaw, but seeing around the Q60 is fairly simple. It also comes with Infiniti's fantastic AroundView Monitor (part of a $2,250 package that also added blind-spot and front-collision warnings, emergency braking, and backup collision intervention). I got all those systems to work and they were not intrusive.
Fuel economy: I averaged 20 mpg in a more stop-and-go heavy round of driving than usual. Feed the Q60 premium only.
Where it's built: Tochigi, Japan.
How it's built: Though no report is given on the Q60, the Q50 sedan hails from the same plant and Consumer Reports gives it a reliability rating of much worse than average.