AT $88,900, THE INFINITI Q60 Red Sport is the least expensive way into 400 premium ponies Of course, Chrysler, Ford and Holden all offer cheaper 400bhp tricks, but the 298kW (400bhp) Red Sport seriously undercuts the similarly powered offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Producing 298kW at 6400rpm, the Red Sport’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 is almost twice as powerful as the Q60 GT (155kW from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder) yet asks a premium of $26K, or just $18K if compared to the more luxurious but still 155kW GT S Premium. Factor in the very high level of standard equipment, and the Red Sport offers significant bang for your bucks.
The 298kW power peak is accompanied by 475Nm that arrives at an impressively low 1600rpm and stays constant until 5200rpm. Given the stout power figure, however, it did immediately strike me that 475Nm didn’t quite marry up, and this thought was confirmed when l considered that Mercedes-AMG’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 in the C43 Coupe produces 270kW but a stronger 520Nm it certainly gives a clue to the character of the Infiniti’s turbocharged V6 and a hint to how the coupe might drive. Slugged with a hefty 1784kg kerb weight, the Red Sport packs a power-to-weight ratio of 167kW and 266Nm per tonne. The 1660kg C43 Coupe boasts 163kW and 313Nm per tonne. There’s no official 0-100km/h claim for the sportiest Infiniti, but considering the C43 Coupe’s 4.7 second claim, and after consulting our well-tuned seat-of-the-pantsometer, we’d estimate that the Red Sport might just sneak into the fours. Maybe.
In maximum attack mode, the otherwise slick seven-speed torque converter auto doesn’t do the Red Sport any favours, upshifting at least 200rpm short of redline even when in manual mode. It’s a shame, as the engine is really beginning to stir along at this point and sounds great doing so with a raspy V6 note overlaid with proper induction whoosh. While the kerb weight blunts the Red Sport’s ultimate pace, the suspension does a fine job of keeping it in check when you’ re exploiting the high grip levels generated by the 245/40 Dunlop tyres (mounted on 19-inch alloys). Those tyres, however, are runflats and, combined with the tautness of the suspension, deliver a choppy low-speed ride that isn’t really justified by the Red Sport’s sportier side. That’s not to damn the Infiniti with a worst-of-both-worlds statement, but a little more one way or the other would give the Red Sport a more resolved USP.
Infiniti led the way with steer-by-wire technology and has been stung by criticism of the system. To its credit, it’s taken note and worked hard to improve the system in an attempt to give it more linear and organic feel. While significantly improved over earlier Infiniti models, the steering in the Red Sport remains its weakest link. In fact, if only there were a link… Regardless of which of the three modes you select (Standard, Sport and Sport+), there’s an Inconsistent gloopiness that fails to transmit any real information about the levels of front end grip. To drive the Red Sport to its potential, you first need to overstep the mark a few times to learn where the limit Is and adjust your driving accordingly. It feels a bit like putting the horse before the cart and it’s not the way I like to approach a car. If this all sounds a bit negative, it’s not meant to. The Q60 Red Sport is significantly more resolved than previous offerings from the brand and it offers loads of performance and luxury for a sub-$100K entry point. Fix the steering, improve the ride and the Red Sport could hit the spot.