MOTORING: INFINITE APPEAL
The all-new Infiniti Q60 coupe is a remarkable combination of technology and design, as well as representing excellent value for money.
The Infiniti Q60 coupe is a remarkable combination of technology and design, as well as representing excellent value for money
At first glance, the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe could be mistaken for a European grand tourer – or even a modern American muscle car. A closer examination reveals the uniqueness of the design and – once behind the wheel – it’s clear that this sports coupe is packed with technology. Yet it possesses an ease of use that is very welcome in today’s world of cars being over-equipped with bells and whistles that often frustrate drivers and passengers.
Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan and, much like the parent company’s GT-R sports car, the rearwheel-drive Infiniti Q60 is bold and sporty. Yet the Q60 is priced much lower than a similar model from many well-known German or Italian brands, although the all-wheel-drive version of the Q60 is currently not available in Hong Kong (along with some of its safety features, due to government restrictions on radio frequency).
The Q60 is built at the recently enhanced production facility in Tochigi, which is roughly in the centre of Japan and well known among fans of onsen, temples, sake and skiing. The plant was upgraded in particular to create the bold lines and sharp angles of the Q60’s advanced design features, such as the sharply curved body panels and deep inset mounts for lamps.
This advanced design extends through to the rear of the Q60 where, in a world-first, the trunk lid is a hybrid combination of a resin skin on a steel frame – giving the designers more freedom to develop shapes that can be built in a single part.
“Infiniti has always been at the forefront of daring design and pioneering technology – and the Q60 again offers both. We believe the Q60’s qualities and core strengths – the way it looks and drives – will appeal to buyers in the premium sports coupe segment,” says Infiniti president Roland Krueger.
Additional enhancements to the Tochigi plant include a paint booth installed solely for the production of the Q60’s striking ‘dynamic sunstone red’ colour, which certainly turned a lot of heads during the test drive on Hong Kong Island. On the production line, 216 highly skilled takumi (artisans) were selected from the 4,500-strong workforce.
The Q60 expresses Infiniti’s design philosophy of ‘powerful elegance’ through flowing sculptural lines and strong, muscular proportions that combine to create an aerodynamic drag coefficient of about 0.28.
“Our powerful elegance form language makes Infiniti vehicles instantly recognisable, but rather than applying constraints and limitations upon the artistry and creativity of design, it is constantly evolving to retain its fresh and contemporary edge. Above all, Q60 brings this philosophy to life,” says Infiniti’s executive design director Alfonso Albaisa.
The brand’s ‘driver-centric, passenger-minded’ attitude gives each occupant a clearly defined space within the passenger compartment.
“Cabin artistry for Infiniti is about a fitted, personal approach. We modelled the Q60’s interior around the concept of a driver’s glove – the driver is always comfortable and the cabin is tailored for them,” says Albaisa.
The Q60 dashboard’s focus is on the driver, with the centre console housing twin touchscreens (8-inch upper and 7-inch lower) as part of the Intouch central control system – the latest generation of the brand’s infotainment technology. The touchscreen capabilities minimise the number of buttons for an uncluttered appearance.
The high-back, high-bolster seats match the curvature of the spine, providing support and minimising pressure on lower and upper back muscles. With a wheelbase of 2.85 metres, there is plenty of legroom for both front and rear passengers, while the 1.85mm-wide body creates lots of shoulder and hip space. There is also good headroom for passengers over 180cm. The Q60 has 342 litres of cargo space. Despite all this room, the Q60 is very nimble, especially when driving on the twisting mountain roads on Hong Kong Island.
“INFINITI HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF DARING DESIGN AND PIONEERING TECHNOLOGY – AND THE Q60 AGAIN OFFERS BOTH”
– Roland Krueger, Infiniti
RULE THE ROAD
The noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels of the Q60 have been improved by using significant suspension insulation and stiffer cross-members, as well as wheel spokes designed to dampen vibrations. Active noise cancellation is fitted to all Q60 models.
Making its world debut in a production vehicle, the 13-speaker Bose Performance Series sound system has also been tailored to the acoustics of the Q60’s cabin.
In the Hong Kong market, the Q60 is offered with an all-aluminium two-litre engine with four-cylinder turbo-charged DIG (direct-injection gasoline). The more powerful 400hp three-litre twin-turbo V6 engine is not available here in the Q60 (although it is offered in the Q50 model).
The two-litre engine delivers 208hp (155 kw, 211 ps) at 5,500rpm and 350Nm (258 lb-ft) maximum torque from 1,500rpm to 3,500rpm. A high-pressure direct injection with piezoelectric injectors delivers fuel to the engine in precise amounts for greater fuel efficiency (city: 10.1 litres per 100km, highway: 6.0, combined: 7.5). The idle stop-start system, fitted as standard to this engine, also helps improve fuel economy.
The DIG system, paired with a relatively low 9.8:1 compression ratio, gives the two-litre turbo engine similar performance characteristics to the three-litre V6. The Q60 also makes use of electronic ‘drive-by- wire’ systems, rather than mechanical, for steering as well as the throttle and brakes.
As a third steering system for the Q60 family, four-cylinder turbocharged Q60 models are equipped with a speed-sensitive hydraulic electronic rackand-pinion power steering system as standard. This increases assistance at low speeds and enhances the feel and response at higher speeds.
The drive mode selector (DMS) is refreshingly easy to use through the upper touchscreen. The driver can select standard, snow, eco, sport, sport+, and personal modes.
Compared to driving in standard mode at a speed of 100 km/h, the steering ratio for sport mode is four per cent quicker, and 12 per cent faster in sport+. The sport and sport+ modes come with changes to engine and transmission mapping to deliver the required driving characteristics.
EVEN THOUGH THE CHANCE OF SNOW IS ESSENTIALLY NON-EXISTENT IN HONG KONG, THE SNOW MODE IS STILL USEFUL IN WET CONDITIONS TO PREVENT WHEEL SPIN – PARTICULARLY HANDY WITH A REAR-WHEEL DRIVE.
In personal mode Q60 drivers can personalise the DAS performance by selecting one of three core ‘modes’ (standard, sport and sport+) and then specifying the level of response (default, dynamic and dynamic+).
Even though the chance of snow is essentially non-existent in Hong Kong, the snow mode is still useful in wet conditions to prevent wheel spin – particularly handy with a rear-wheel drive. The engine automatically lowers its output and the transmission adjusts to use a higher gear and lower torque / power output. In eco mode, the steering force is lighter, while the engine automatically lowers output for economy driving. For each of the drive modes, the driver can select either the ‘soft’ or the ‘firm’ electronic damper settings.
The Intouch advanced infotainment setup has been upgraded with a faster processor. Intouch allows occupants to personalise the interior environment preferences, and can store profiles for multiple drivers, identified by their I-key (intelligent key). These settings include engine, suspension and steering modes, driving seat positions, audio and navigation settings, display settings and heating and ventilation preferences.
Although unfortunately not available in Hong Kong, the Q60’s new telematic control unit (TCU) lets the owner control elements of the car remotely via smartphone app for greater security and convenience. These include remote engine start, car locator and stolen vehicle tracking.
The Q60 is equipped with six airbags as standard – driver and passenger front and side impact airbags and roof-mounted curtain airbags.
01 01 The Q60 has deep inset mounts for lamps
02 The Q60 is built at Infiniti's production facility in Tochigi, Japan
03 The trunk lid is made from resin skin on a steel frame built as a single part
04 The Q60 is offered with a two-litre engine with four-cylinder turbo-charged direct-injection gasoline in Hong Kong
05 From the smart dashboard, drivers can easily adjust various settings and access realtime navigation information
06 The spacious cabin offers plenty of headroom even for passengers over 180cm