The Coupé seeks to re-establish Infiniti’s credentials in the segment, with new technology and a great new powerhouse.
Infiniti has had a rather long and affectionate run with the breed of the sedan-based Coupé, which has also enjoyed the tag of being a sports coupé due to the power on offer. From the G35 and G37 to the M37 and M56, the genre has been a natural fit for the brand. It allows the two characteristics of luxury and power to come together without trying to actually sell an all-out performance car along the lines of the GT-R.
The latest version of the Q60 Coupé has landed in the region after a rather successful first few months on sale in the United States. We have actually run a test drive report last year of the car driven in the United States by our contributor James McCarthy. So it isn’t entirely new to our readers, but then we weren’t about to let a small thing like that get in the way of driving the car ourselves.
The Q60 Coupé gained the tag in the process of the brand shifting from the G37. Now the car is made on the all-new CV37 platform that has been developed as part of the new partnership with Daimler as is one of the engines on offer in the range.
The Q60 sits on a 2,850mm wheelbase and offers the generous +2 arrangement of the breed. The door is quite large, swings out almost to a right angle and the seat release to access the rear is good. An adult can sit in the rear quite comfortably, with the only challenge being the legroom. This tautness of the cabin is visible from the outside – the sweeping roofline stops short of the rear deck, while the kinked Infiniti styling of the rear quarter glass tries to maximise visibility for the rear seats.
Overall, the Q60 is one of the best-styled cars on the road at the moment. The aggressive front end, with its signature light elements and prominent spindle grille serve as the focal point from where the cars lines set off in swoops and flicks to define the hood, fenders and profile. We absolutely loved the headlights in this setting, seeming like they were the eyes of some Japanese Manga Robot.
The interiors are familiar to the Q50 origins of the car, with the use of twin display screens stacked one over the other on the centre console with independent functions and menus assigned. Navigation gets the larger 8” screen on top while the lower 7” display offers the touchscreen menu selection. There are three hardkeys thrown in at the bottom that allow you to toggle between home, audio functions and climate control, reducing a significant amount of physical keys in the process.
The IP is twin dial analogue layout with the graphic display in the centre and the minimalist steering wheel manages to cram in all the significant controls. You even get the snappy paddle shift of the platform on the wheel. Other than the touchscreen method for interacting with the infotainment system, you can use the scroll wheel on the console or even wing it with voice commands.
Our test drive involved Q60 Coupés in the Red Sport trim level, which now means the 400hp output versions of Infiniti’s new 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engines. The VR30 DDTT series of engine, brings the thrills of direct injection, turbocharging and twin water to air charge coolers with up to two water pumps. The engine output of 400hp is matched by a broad torque band from the turbochargers – 475Nm across the 1600-5,200rpm band. Of course the same engine is also offered in a lower output 300hp format, with just a little bit of hardware missing. This allows the company to maximise the production efficiencies of the platform.
The entry-level engine in the Q60 still remains the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 208hp of output and 350Nm of torque, although in the nature of the 4-cylinder and its single-scroll turbocharger the torque peaks a little earlier than on the V6. Nevertheless it remains a very usable engine, offering an affordable entry point into the Coupé.
In any case, the engines are mated with the seven speed automatic gearbox that we are accustomed to in the brand.
The other two bits of technological superiority that the car offers in the drive department are linked to the steering wheel and suspension. The steering wheel debuts the next generation of Infiniti’s direct drive. Depending on the grade of the car you buy you can get a quick responding hydraulic rack and pinion arrangement (in the 2.0-litre), or the Rack Electronic Power Steering that is offered as standard on the 3.0-litre or go the whole hog with the Direct Adaptive Steering that takes the Q60 in Playstation territory. This drive-by-wire system uses electric motors to pass on the steering effort and also for the feedback mechanism and detaches the physical connect of the steering column in the process.
DDS or Dynamic Digital Suspension on the other hand uses electronic damper control to offer a finer and more instantaneous control over the suspension, allowing the car to switch between magic carpet ride to hard cornering responses. Of course the car also get the latest generation of adaptive sruise control with lane keeping and automated steering, although we must emphasise that it isn’t quite auto pilot grade.
Our test drive route took us out from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah and in the process we navigated some rather quick roads which bring to the fore the car’s character. The Red Sport is one of the sportiest Coupés we have driven without shifting character into a track machine. It stops just short of that barrier, in the process telling us of the journeys that it would really like to do – like a drive across the Pyrenees or some serious long distance driving down an Ocean highway. Perhaps, the open top version is what we really need.