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 Peak (Hong Kong) - - Contents - STORY GLEN WAT­SON

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

02

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

04

05 06

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