Cool Coupe: 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400
Sales of luxury coupes might be declining, but they’re still hard to resist.
Romeo, oh Romeo, pray tell us why two-door luxury sports coupes, like the swoopy, curvaceous 2017 Infiniti Q60 I’m driving, make our hearts soar, our hands go clammy and our heads fill with the overpowering urge to sign on the dotted line?
After all, coupes make no rational sense. They have two doors instead of four. Their back seats are best suited to that vertically-challenged Mini-Me fella from Austin Powers. And getting in and out of their low-slung cabins usually requires the contortionistic skills of a Russian gymnast.
Add to these negatives the fact that these days so many four-door sedans and luxury sport-utes actually look like stretched coupes, and the appeal of a low-slung two-door should be non-existent.
Yet feast your eyes on this newest creation from Infiniti. It’s roofline is like the cross-section of a jet wing. Its rear fenders bulge and swell like Stallone’s biceps in Rocky 43. And that little side window kink is just candy for the eyes.
This is a truly gorgeous car. Lithe, taut, muscular, it looks like it’s hitting its 155 mph electronically-limited top speed standing still. This is the reason we throw practicality to the wind and lust after two-door coupes.
Infiniti knows a thing or two about cool coupes. Remember the stunning G35 and G37 Coupes? While the G37 got re-badged as the Q60 in Infiniti’s confuse-the-buyer name-changing strategy in 2014, this latest Q60 is brand, spanking new.
It’s based on Infiniti’s new Q50 sedan, sharing its platform and running gear, though it’s body sits two inches lower and is four inches shorter nose to tail.
Like the sedan, there’s a choice of a new Mercedes-sourced 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder rated at 208 horsepower; or an all-new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 cranking out either 300-hp, or must-have 400-hp. Take your pick from rear-drive or all-wheel drive.
While you can slide behind the wheel of a base Q60 for a surprisingly attainable $38,950, we’re driving the flagship Q60 Red Sport 400 coupe, with that muscley 400-horse twin-turbo V6 driving the rear wheels. Base price $51,300, or $60,355 very nicely loaded.
And to drive it is to adore it. Unlike the previous G37 which had an exhaust note that sounded like the Arnold gargling with roofing nails, the focus with the G60 is more about refinement than aural fireworks.
Even when the big V6 is spinning towards its red-line, the noise from under the hood is surprisingly muted. Perhaps a little too much. In these days of active exhausts and AMG grunt, the Q60 needs to boast about its 400 horseys a little more.
As you’d expect, it’s rocketship-quick. The rush from zero to 60mph takes a mere 4.4 seconds, its seven-speed automatic firing off shifts with bolt-action precision. And with the twin-turbo V6 delivering all its 350 torques from just 1600rpm, response from pretty much any speed is immediate.
Our tester came with Infiniti’s remarkable drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering, which replaces the traditional steering column with a bunch of sensors. While the first-gen system from 2014 was a little like steering through marshmallow connections, this latest version if a significant improvement.
Find yourself a curvy backroad and this new Q feels supremely responsive, poised and balanced. While the helm isn’t Porsche Cayman-precise, it has lovely weighting and delivers terrific feedback. Grip from those 19-inch gumballs at each corner is like Velcro on velvet.
And you steer from a cockpit that is a masterpiece of cool design, high quality and tactile beauty. Those semi-analine leather front seats are comfy and supportive enough for 600-mile-a-day road trips.
Yes, luxury sports coupes like this Q60, along with BMW’s 4-series, Lexus’ RC, Merc’s C Coupe and Audi’s A5 Coupe, are a dying breed.
But as Romeo will tell you: “Tempt not a desperate man desperate for a two-door coupe.” Or words to that effect.