The Infiniti Q60S aims to be the Japanese alternative to a BMW 440i, Audi S5 or Mercedes-AMG C43. We find out if it stacks up
Hmm, this or a BMW 440i? Infiniti’s obviously hoping you’ll deny yourself the obvious answer because the 440i (or Audi S5, or AMG Mercedes C43 coupé) is just that. Want to fly under the radar instead?
Fly you will. Just under £47,000 buys you a 399bhp, 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that drives all four wheels via a seven-speed auto trans. That translates to a (limited) top speed of 155mph, which the Q60 heads inexorably towards after dispatching the 62mph benchmark from rest in 5.0 seconds dead. The figures match the 440i’s, though the Infiniti wields nearly 80bhp more to overcome its 264kg weight deficit. This is one substantial car, at 1879kg.
So it works hard, yet you’ll rarely feel that’s the case. More on that in a bit. What Infiniti needs to work harder on is brand recognition. Despite the company trying hard for years, its name is still relatively unrecognised in the UK. ‘You know, like Lexus is to Toyota…’ you’ll tire of saying. Still, reaction to the styling is largely positive, though I personally find it a bit hefty around the rear haunches, and that kink in the rear side window is no substitute for proper character in design.
Its character elsewhere takes a little time to shine through too, though the Q60 is likeable from the off. It’s beautifully built, for a start, exuding an air of quality. That V6 growls encouragingly yet behaves with impeccable refinement, and the ride, although firm, is never harsh and keeps body movements well in check.
Some have found the steering a little disconcerting. It’s a fly-by-wire system, and therefore devoid of mechanical resistance, so any weighting is entirely artificial. But unlike the more conventional EPAS systems offered elsewhere, there’s no deadness around the straight-ahead. The merest hint of a turn at the rim translates into a reaction at the front wheels. Which is welcome. Though it might startle the unwary.
It’s tempered, however, by a slight lack of bite to the handling. The steering response is incisive, actual turn-in less so. Yet you soon get used to the Infiniti’s relaxed attitude, and enjoy instead unerring grip and complete neutrality through a series of corners. No roll, either. It’s a great way of covering ground at high speed, in comfort, encouraged by a soundtrack that’s rousing yet never over-insistent.
And it’s rapid. The power delivery is consistent, there’s no lag, and it revs right round the clock. But unless you’re travelling at fairly silly speeds, it’s all a bit uninvolving. Fiddling with the drive control switch on the centre console helps (annoyingly, it defaults after every switch-off to Comfort, which makes for tardy throttle and transmission mapping).
Sport sharpens things up; even better, for everyday purposes, is to programme the Individual mode for Sport settings and back-off the suspension to Comfort: great for fast-flowing driving in any circumstances. But when you’re properly on it, select Sport+. It’s harder-edged without being too edgy and can make a blast along twisting B-roads quite a thrill.
Infiniti has developed a medium-sized coupé with excellent GT credentials, one that can play the fast yet relaxed cruiser comfortably, and which can entertain when you want to go harder. As British government legislation gradually eases us away from diesel power, so the Q60 might ease a few away from BMW’s 435d. How they’ll cope with low-20s mpg as a result is another matter.
Words: Glen Waddington