Infiniti Q60 Red Sport — Sexy performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Performance has returned to the Infiniti brand under the new Red Sport name in the popular compact Q50 sedan and Q60 coupe offering the same spirited driving opportunity available in the horsepower-infused BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes. The name to remember when shopping an entry luxury coupe is Q60 Red Sport 400.

The 400 stands for the 400 horsepower the Red Sport produces from its newly developed 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. We drove the Q60 version and discovered that we very much like Infiniti's new take on go-fast coupes.

But the Q60 Red Sport has more going for it than just performance. It features a sexy profile including a lot of Infiniti styling cues from its earlier G offerings. The front features a menacing look with headlights mimicking a squinting human eye, a big version of Infiniti's double-arch design grille, and air ducts at the base of the front fenders. It sits lower and wider than the outgoing G37 coupe with flowing lines that hint at speed.

The interior has a sporty, luxury feel while at the same time offering a spacious front seating area. Our Q60 was equipped with the shimmering optic fiber trim, highlighting the creamy leather seats and the black leather dashboard with contrast stitching — a true sports car luxury appearance. No wood required in our Red Sport model. And the fully adjustable power seats are as comfortable as any we've encountered in recent times.

At the heart of the Red Sport are the 400 horses and 350 pound-feet of torque mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and a well-tuned sports suspension that can be dialed in with Sport or Sport+ settings. There are also Standard and Eco modes for long-distance cruising and a Snow mode for those times when weather conditions pose a problem. One step beyond, Infiniti offers a Personal mode that allows the driver to adjust the car's myriad of features including steering and suspension to taste.

We most liked the Sport mode for a just-right feeling of performance and comfort. But it's the Sport+ that brings the Q60 to life with significantly sharper steering responses and quicker and more muscular throttle response holding the gears longer before shifting. Sport+ is best used on that favorite stretch of winding blacktop. — and you will congratulate yourself on the decision to invest in this beautiful hunk of sheetmetal.

For the record, the Q60 Red Sport 400 isn't the fastest in its class, but it offers plenty clocking 0-to-60 in 4.5 seconds and 109 mph in 13.3 seconds in the quarter mile. Matched that to its handling prowess, and it's a winner.

The dashboard layout may not have the modern appearance of some competitors, but we like the way it's laid out and the way it displays information including the dual touchscreen interface that can display a full-sized navigation screen on top while carrying audio, smartphone controls and such go-fast features as a Performance Meter that measures G-force
on the second screen. One of the standouts for us was the standard equipment 13-speaker Bose surround sound audio system.

While we found the surroundings spacious for the front two passengers, the Q60 like most coupes suffers with very limited room for adult riders in back. Trunk space is also limited, a smallish 8.7 cubic feet.

The top line Red Sport 400 starts at $52,205 including destination charge, but if you want the look and overall feel of the Q60, but are unable to make the heavy economic lift for the Red Sport, there are four lesser trims and two other engine options available starting at $39,855 including destination charge.

A big concern with us in Red Sport pricing is that the really good stuff comes in packages that run the bottom line up making the base price just a suggestion. For instance, our test car came with three packages as well as direct adaptive steering ($1,000).

The Technology Package at $1,850 features all the latest safety tech including intelligent cruise control, blindspot intervention, Lane departure warning and prevention, high beam assist and advance climate control. The Driver Assistance Package at $2,250 includes†back-up collision prevention, forward emergency braking, an around-view camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Premium Plus Package at $2,250 includes navigation, satellite radio, heated seats, and remote engine start. That brought the bottom line to $59,555.

If you have soured on coupes because of the lack of passenger and cargo space, the Q50 Red Sport sedan brings the same performance and technology features as the coupe, but with considerably more trunk space and comfortable room for four passengers.

Base price: $52,205; as driven, $59,555
Engine: 3.0-liter twin turbo V-6
Horsepower: 400 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 350 foot-pounds @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drive: rear wheel
Seating: 2/2
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 184.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,862 pounds
Turning circle: 36.7 feet
Luggage capacity: 8.7 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 20 gallons (premium recommended)
EPA rating: 20 city, 27 highway, 22 overall
0-60: 4.5 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus RC 350

The Good
• Powerful engine
• Sports car-like handling
• Handsome interior
• Comfortable front seats

The Bad
• Limited trunk space

The Ugly
• Rear seat space limited