In­finiti 2017 Q60 Coupe tested in two FLAVOURS

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS -

“Wow, that’s a nice red,” the girl said as she handed me my cof­fee and donut.

“Uh, yeah, it is, isn’t it?” I replied, a lit­tle sur­prised at her com­ment.

Peo­ple think au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists get jaded but surely it should be just as hard to arouse in­ter­est dur­ing the con­stant pa­rade past the Tim Hor­tons driv­ethru.

But the red res­onated on this Q60, a ve­hi­cle we can con­sider a “halo car” for In­finiti, be­ing the only coupe in their lineup.

Yes, the Q50 sedan shares some of the same decor and DNA but pre­mium sports coupes are where de­sign­ers hang their hats, where they find the free­dom to push the styling en­ve­lope and ac­cen­tu­ate form over func­tion more boldly.

And this newest 2017 ver­sion of Q60 dares to wear its charisma with con­fi­dence, from its wide, ag­gres­sive stance to the dou­ble arc grille, the deep crease be­low the belt­line ac­cen­tu­at­ing two-door sporti­ness, the sneaky nar­row lights front and back, and the con­ver­gence of curves and lines cul­mi­nat­ing in a sleekly mus­cu­lar pro­file.

Some con­sider the over­all ef­fect a lit­tle too busy but I like the added touches - the chrome side gills and the widen­ing chrome strip of the cres­cent-cut C-pil­lar.

There’s also a neat lit­tle chrome but­ton, in­set in the driver’s side tail­light that opens the trunk. I was less impressed with the trunk it­self be­cause, on rainy days, rais­ing the deck lid tends to stream wa­ter into the cargo area, a per­plex­ing faux pas of fun­da­men­tals.

That seemed about the only de­sign clanger of the car, out­side of the ar­chaic pedal park­ing brake, a bit of an old-school sur­prise.

Yes, there are some sac­ri­fices for sex­i­ness in­her­ent in two-door coupe styling - the low ceil­ing un­der a slop­ing roofline, the snug quar­ters and the 2+2-style rear seat that is re­ally more of a repos­i­tory for brief­cases, bags and the oc­ca­sional brat.

But, in­side and out, the up­scale touches come to­gether har­mo­niously and the Q60 is loaded with lux­u­ries, tech­nolo­gies and ameni­ties you’d ex­pect from a pre­mium brand.

The Q60 of­fers three power choices (I’m round­ing off here) that step up in 100 hp in­cre­ments, from 200 hp to 300 hp and 400 hp. All en­gines are mated to seven-speed au­to­mat­ics and stan­dard all-wheel-drive here in Canada.

The lineup starts with an en­try-level 2.0-litre sin­gle scroll turbo in­line four-banger than makes 208 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. But we’re go­ing to fo­cus on two V6 ver­sions tested here. Q60 3.0T AWD: Our first tester, a Q60 3.0T model ($52,990) came hand­somely dipped in a deep blue shade of Elec­tric Indigo. Un­der the hood, a light­weight 3.0-litre Twin­Turbo V6 en­gine makes 300 hp and 295 lb/ft with fuel econ­omy rated at 12.4/8.8L/100km (city/hwy).

There are no Stop/Start or cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion tech­nolo­gies at­tached and, frankly, I’d like a lit­tle more tuned ex­haust brouhaha here, but the quiet power rush pushes you firmly into your seat back.

And the ex­haust and en­gine noise sub­tleties seem some­how in sync with the civ­i­lized quar­ters, leather-bound and serenely com­fort­able, nicely trimmed and well put to­gether, a 13-speaker BOSE Sim­u­lated Sur­round Sys­tem pro­vid­ing the sound­track to your drive, in­fo­tain­ment se­lec­tions avail­able through dual eight-inch up­per and sev­eninch lower touch­screens.

Nim­ble han­dling is en­hanced by the all­wheel-drive’s de­fault 50/50 power split be­tween front and rear, by the In­finiti Drive Mode Se­lec­tor Set­tings choices - Stan­dard, Sport, Sport+, Snow, Eco or Per­sonal modes, and, in this case, by an op­tional Driver As­sis­tance Pack­age ($2,000) that adds dy­namic warn­ing and in­ter­ven­tion tech­nolo­gies.

It all rounds out to a com­pe­tent mix of sport per­for­mance and styling panache.

Of course, you could choose to push that per­for­mance one step fur­ther with the ul­ti­mate Q60 Red Sport 400 ($60,990).

This uber ver­sion of Q60 takes its name from the red “S” sport badge mounted on the rear. But the Dy­namic Sun­stone Red paint job that our Tim Hor­tons girl liked so much matches the Red Sport abil­i­ties and at­ti­tude per­fectly.

The 3.0-litre Twin-Turbo V6 en­gine gets an ex­tra boost here, with 14.7 psi boost pres­sure in­stead of 8.7 psi, also adding a sec­ond in­ter­cooler wa­ter pump.

The re­sult­ing 50 per cent horse­power jump to 400 hp and 350 lb/ft adds an adrenal­ized edge to hair-straight­en­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion. Fuel econ­omy is rel­a­tively un­changed by the power in­crease, rated at 12.5/9.2L/100km (city/hwy) but both testers av­er­aged around 12L/100km (comb) in a real world mix of test­ing.

Other Red Sport en­hance­ments in­clude a Dy­namic Dig­i­tal sport sus­pen­sion sys­tem, big­ger red-fin­ished brakes, unique brushed satin ex­haust tips and spe­cial 19-inch wheels, com­pleted here by a Tech­nol­ogy Pack­age ($3,200).

Throw in Sil­ver Op­tic Fi­bre trim to counter the con­trasts of creamy leather and black and you have one of the pret­ti­est in­te­ri­ors I’ve ever sat in. The Red Sport is the com­plete pack­age.

But, re­gard­less of trim choice, the broad pal­ette of Q60 good­ies and go-fast abil­i­ties might just have the Ger­man pre­mium brands a lit­tle on edge. And this Q60 pre­mium sport coupe lineup is a wor­thy con­tender for the at­ten­tions of lux­ury per­for­mance cus­tomers.

The tested Q60S 3.0T Red Sport 400 comes with a sump­tu­ous in­te­rior dec­o­rated in Gallery White leather con­trast­ing black tex­tures and with Sil­ver Op­tic Fi­bre trim pieces.

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