There are now more luxury sports coupes on the market than at any time in recent memory. But only one offers 400 horses with a base price in the $50,000 range: Infiniti’s new Q60 Red Sport 400.
As with the competition from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz [see sidebar], Infiniti also offers a base model with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four. However, it’s the twinturbo 3.0-liter V-6 that raises the Q60’s red mist. A 300-hp tune is standard, but tack $3000 onto the sticker and Infiniti turns the boost up from 8.7 to 14.7 psi, delivering the extra ponies that put the Red Sport into that space between a standard offering and a dedicated performance variant like a full AMG or M car. At least on paper.
Infiniti wraps this powerful engine with gorgeous sheetmetal that turns heads and generates lingering stares. To the layman, it looks like a Ferrari, which is precisely the point. Underneath its ample curves, however, 58.6 percent of its 4066 pounds rests on the front axle. You feel it on the road in the way the front end pounds the pavement and the way the Q60 pushes into corners.
Part of our test car’s reluctance to turn is its all-wheel-drive system, a $2000 option that adds 161 pounds to the curb weight, according to the manufacturer’s specs, but no additional fun to the driving experience. Ordering all-wheel drive also means trading staggered summer tires for square all-seasons. This fitment was able to generate 0.88 g on our skidpad, which, in Infiniti’s defense, is right in line with the competition. The tires did no harm to braking, stopping the car from 70 mph in 164 feet, or one foot less than we measured for a Q50 sedan riding on summer rubber.
Infiniti largely remedied the artificial feel that plagued its by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (a $1000 option) in this second generation of the technology. Next up on its list of improvements should be a proper manual transmission, as the seven-speed automatic in the Q60 doesn’t have the reflexes necessary for a car of this sort, paddle shifters notwithstanding.
Still, excessive horsepower absolves plenty of engineering sins. See: The enduring and ubiquitous popularity of Chevy small-block transplants. This new Infiniti needs nothing of the sort, as even the kind of crazy who would bolt a crate engine to a pogo stick will be impressed with the way this V-6 quickly spins past 7000 rpm. Its 133.5 horsepower per liter is enough to shoot the Q60 through the quarter-mile in an exhilarating 12.9 seconds. Going fast in a straight line is always fun.
2017 INFINITI Q60 RED SPORT 400 AWD VEHICLE
TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $62,355
BASE PRICE: $54,205
ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
DISPLACEMENT: 183 cu in, 2997 cc
POWER: 400 hp @ 6400 rpm
TORQUE: 350 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE: 112.2 in
LENGTH: 184.6 in
WIDTH: 72.8 in
HEIGHT: 54.9 in
PASSENGER VOLUME: 86 cu ft
TRUNK VOLUME: 12 cu ft
CURB WEIGHT: 4066 lb