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The reinvention of the upmarket Infiniti brand in Australia continues apace with the recent roll-out of the new Q60 sports coupe, bringing to the range ‘Powerful Elegance’ in design, world-first technology and the latest production processes at its facility in Japan.
Infiniti has form in the sports coupe class with the G35 and G37, launched in 2002 and 2008, respectively - the latter, renamed the Q60, coming Down Under in 2012. Now the third generation has landed.
The two-pronged assault kicks off with the Infiniti Q60 GT and the GT with Enhancement Pack both powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 155 kW and 350 Nm, channelled through the rear wheels.
From March 2017 the Q60 2.0t Sport Premium model grade and the Q60 Red Sport, powered by a 298 kW twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, will both join the range.
Signature Infiniti design cues such as a double-arch grille and crescent shaped C-pillars that arc forward and emphasise the car’s dynamism work well.
It also reads driving behaviour and adapts shifts to driver feedback. Clever stuff.
LED headlamps, which make use of ‘light guide technology’ to spread light evenly on the road ahead, are designed to emulate the shape of the human eye, providing an attractive face to the car.
Lower and wider than previously, an aggressive stance gives a greater impression of stability, while the lower centre of gravity improves driving dynamics. This is further emphasised by new-design 19-inch alloy wheels with gaps between tyres and wheelarches being tighter than ever.
Aerodynamic efficiency comes into the picture with the Q60’s drag coefficient of 0.29. Part of this results from vents in the front guards directing air from the engine bay.
Door mirrors do their bit, not only reinforcing the Q60’s looks, but also improving the flow of air down the flanks of the vehicle.
The driver remains the focus inside the cabin with the centre console incorporating twin touchscreens (8.0-inch upper and 7.0-inch lower) as part of the InTouch central control system – the latest generation of the company’s multimedia technology.
This has reduced the number of buttons, giving the cabin a neat, uncluttered appearance with modern quality trim. With a faster processor, InTouch allows occupants to personalise the interior environment and can store profiles for multiple drivers, identified by their I-key (intelligent key).
InTouch is able to memorise more than 250 programmable settings, including driving seat positions, audio, and navigation settings; display settings, and heating and ventilation preferences.
A clever graduated door opening arc allows the wide doors to be held in a number of positions, preventing paint damage in tight parking spaces.
Legroom front and back is not generous, shoulder width is ample for those people of average build. The coupe roofline limits headroom for taller people. A generous boot is big enough to take two golf bags.
Infiniti’s hallmark ‘spinal support’ seats have been adapted for the Q60 to reduce the spinal curvature that many traditional seats force occupants to adopt. Extensive upper body support spreads the occupant’s weight more evenly all the way up the chair.
The sprint from zero to 100 km/h comes up in 7.3 seconds. With the aid of engine stop / start technology Infiniti lists the combined-cycle fuel consumption at 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
During a launch drive through the Victorian countryside, the turbocharger has peak torque on tap at a wide range of engine speeds and freely revved to a red line of 6300 rpm accompanied by a sporty growl.
The Q60’s seven-speed automatic transmission incorporates Adaptive Shift Control with a lateral acceleration sensor to detect changes in the road, such as hills or corners, and enhances gear-select patterns according to the changing conditions. It also reads driving behaviour and adapts shifts to driver feedback. Clever stuff.
Drive Mode Selector provides a range of modes - Standard, Snow, Sport, and Personal.
Sport mode increases the level of steering effort required and quickens the steering ratio for more immediate handling responses. In addition, changes to engine and transmission mapping deliver the required driving characteristics.
In Personal mode Q60 drivers can personalise the steering performance by selecting one of two core modes (Standard, Sport) and then specifying their preferred response (Default, Dynamic). Three mode and response combinations are available - Standard and Default; Sport and Default; Sport and Dynamic.
In Snow mode, the engine automatically lowers its output and the transmission adjusts to a higher gear, and lower torque and power output to help prevent wheel spin.
Of the modes tried on launch, Sport appeared to have the car at its most comfortable with the conditions – narrow, twisting, undulating bitumen of varying standards.
Infiniti Q60 safety technology enables the car to monitor potential hazards and actively help the driver to avoid them. If a collision is unavoidable, the system helps to mitigate the effects.
Included are Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian braking system, Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection.
The Q60 is equipped with six airbags as standard – driver and passenger front and side impact airbags, and roof-mounted curtain airbags with a rollover sensor. A pop-up bonnet, engineered to meet new global safety standards for pedestrian safety is also fitted.
The Q60 2.0-litre Turbo-Petrol Q60 2.0t GT sells for $62,900, with an estimated driveaway price of about $69,935. An optional Enhancement Pack adds adaptive front lighting, power glass sunroof, Bose Performance audio with noise cancellation and around-view monitor for $65,900 (approx. $73,085).
The new Q60 is built at Infiniti’s production facility in Tochigi, Japan, upgraded to meet the specific production needs of the new premium sports coupe, in particular to create the bold lines and sharp angles of the Q60’s design.
There is no doubt selling the Q60 to the premium sports coupe crowd, with the right marketing, should not be short on success. However, selling the name ‘Infiniti’ to the motoring public in general will be the real challenge.