Style be­fore sports

The Q60 is a lux­ury head-turner — wait four months for the per­former

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - CRAIG DUFF

THE Ja­panese take on a sporty coupe doesn’t com­ply with the Euro­pean mind­set in craft­ing the same ma­chine. The Land of the Ris­ing Sun caters to its own whims but also to those of the Amer­i­cans who rep­re­sent their big­gest global mar­ket.

Lux­ury and looks are more im­por­tant than sprint times, at least in the en­try mod­els that ac­count for the bulk of sales.

With that in mind, the third­gen­er­a­tion Infiniti Q60 coupe stands as a mas­sive pro­gres­sion over its pre­de­ces­sor, even in the base guise that will be the only ver­sion on sale in Aus­tralia for the next four months.

The $62,900 en­try price un­der­cuts log­i­cal ri­val Lexus by $2000 and is clear again by the same margin from the most af­ford­able of the Euro­peans in the Audi A5.

A $3000 “En­hance­ment Pack­age” adds a sun­roof, adap­tive front light­ing, 360de­gree cam­era and 13-speaker Bose au­dio with ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion to quell what is al­ready sub­dued out­side sound.

Infiniti adopts the Mercedes-Benz 2.0-litre turbo to power its new­est coupe and the re­sults are re­spectable when paired to a seven-speed au­to­matic and rear-wheel drive.

Far more im­pres­sive is the ex­te­rior styling. Like or loathe the con­vo­luted creases and asym­met­ric panel shapes, the Q60 makes a strik­ing im­pres­sion.

En­gi­neer­ing had to adapt to the de­sign, which meant that pan­els such as the boot lid had to be made of a plas­tic/metal hy­brid be­cause metal stamp­ing pro­cesses couldn’t pro­duce the re­quired shapes.

In­side it is dressed with dou­ble-stitched leather and alu­minium high­lights.

A dual dig­i­tal dis­play dom­i­nates the cen­tre con­sole — the up­per area deals with sat­nav and the lower screen con­trols the in­fo­tain­ment and in-car func­tion­al­ity. That amounts to a classy car but one that isn’t likely to trou­ble the Euro­pean tri­umvi­rate for dy­nam­ics. That isn’t the Q60 2.0 GT’s re­mit.

This is a style-driven propo­si­tion with high lev­els of tech and lux­ury for the price, which won’t hurt in the much­needed pro­mo­tion of the brand.

Infiniti is still a rel­a­tive min­now in Aus­tralia. Four years af­ter Nis­san’s lo­cal launch of its pre­mium mar­que, the brand is yet to achieve 1000 sales.

More — and bet­ter — prod­ucts and a roll­out of deal­er­ships in the cap­i­tal cities are fu­elling the growth, which re­mains a slow burn.

ON THE ROAD

Love the chas­sis, de­test the elec­tric steer­ing. In the stan­dard driv­ing mode, the Q60 me­an­ders over ev­ery crease on a straight road and seems to will­ingly defy at­tempts to set a con­stant steer­ing an­gle around a rip­pled turn.

Switch into sport mode and the steer­ing set­tles but the per­cep­tion is that the al­ready firm sus­pen­sion be­comes harsher to the point where it is un­com­fort­able over hard­edged ruts such as train and tram tracks.

It’s a long way from the smaller Q30 hatch’s range of sus­pen­sion com­pli­ance and sim­ply isn’t in the class of Euro­pean ri­vals such as the BMW 4 Se­ries and MercedesBenz C-Class coupe. I’d un­der­stand it in a sedan but it is in­con­gru­ous in a coupe.

Ex­ac­er­bat­ing all of the above, the sta­bil­ity con­trol in­ter­venes with more alacrity and ag­gres­sion than an over­wrought he­li­copter par­ent. I don’t want to snap the tail out but I do want to drive out of the turns with­out hav­ing a tourni­quet ap­plied to the power.

The chas­sis it­self feels as if it is built of bil­let alu­minium and doesn’t flinch un­der abrupt changes in steer­ing an­gle, which adds to the frus­tra­tion. Coupes are meant to be play­ful and the great fun­da­men­tals are un­der­mined by a com­bi­na­tion of the ex­tra weight (a BMW 420 is about 160kg lighter), the

INFINITI Q60 GT

PRICE From $62,900 WAR­RANTY 4 years/100,000km CAPPED SER­VIC­ING $2030 for 3 years SER­VICE IN­TER­VAL 12 months/25,000km SAFETY Not tested, 6 airbags EN­GINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 155kW/350Nm TRANS­MIS­SION 7-speed auto; RWD THIRST 7.7L/100km DI­MEN­SIONS 4690mm (L), 1850mm (W), 1395mm (H), 2850mm (WB) WEIGHT 1698kg SPARE None; re­pair kit 0-100KM/H 7.3 sec­onds in­ter­ven­tion­ist sta­bil­ity con­trol and the un­re­spon­sive steer­ing.

The turbo en­gine sounds pur­pose­ful and pulls all the way to the rev limit, while peak torque from 1250rpm en­sures it kicks along with more pur­pose than its di­rect com­peti­tors, at least in a straight line.

Ac­tive trace con­trol — a fancy term for torque vec­tor­ing — works well on sweep­ing corners, tight­en­ing the line and en­sur­ing the Infiniti is al­ways on the black stuff.

In ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments the Q60 will more than do the job and turn more heads than an Audi A5, if only due to rar­ity. As such it ful­fils the de­sign brief but has yet to be en­gi­neered as a truly global car. Yanks might buy it — that’s the big­gest mar­ket — but that doesn’t make it a world beater.

VER­DICT

If you want a pre­mium state­ment of style and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, the Infiniti takes some beat­ing at this price.

If you want a sports coupe, best hold out for the $88,900 twin-turbo V6 (298kW/ 600Nm) due in March.

It will fur­nish the per­for­mance to match the pedi­gree — pro­vid­ing it comes with a be­spoke sus­pen­sion tune.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.