Infiniti is taking a softly, softly approach to cracking the European market, so its Q60 Coupe will have exclusivity on its side. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
On paper, Infiniti looks to have a very competitive Coupe on its hands. The Q60 three-door has 320PS, can crack 62mph in under six seconds and comes with a ton of equipment at an attractive price. The car looks pretty good too but running costs could prove high and the depth of talent evident in the established contenders will take some beating.
For many coupe owners, their cars are as much about looking good as they are about going quickly and it's much easier for a car to look good if the person doing the looking hasn't seen five of them already that day. A little bit of exclusivity can go a long way towards getting your car noticed and the Infiniti Q60 Coupe is a model that, in the short term at least, is going to have plenty.
The 3.7-litre engine is the very same that's found in the Nissan 370Z but it's been de-tuned slightly to generate 'only' 320PS. This is where you should divorce the two cars in your mind because the while the Nissan is 4250mm long and 1525kg, the stretched chassis of the Q60 (previously known as the G37) is 4,660mm and 1706kg. It's a far larger proposition with more of a focus on comfort and refinement. That said, it will still complete the 0-62mph sprint in under six seconds and lock horns with its speed limiter at 155mph. A more fitting comparison, and one that the Q60 development engineers doubtless had in mind, is with the BMW 435i Coupe (306bhp, 1,600kg, 5.5s, 155mph). Like the BMW 4-Series, the Q60 Coupe is rear-wheel-drive. Unlike it, the Infiniti can be specified with a four-wheel steering system. This works by applying small amounts of steering to the rear wheels in order to assist those that the front. It aids manoeuvrability, tightening the turning circle at low speeds, and increases stability at high speed. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual but there's also Infiniti's ASC Adaptive Shift Control automatic which has seven speeds and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Compared to the less sporting saloon variant, the Q60 Coupe has been altered to produce a more sporting exhaust note and more reassuring brake pedal feel in a bid to appeal to the keener driver.
Design and Build
The styling job that's been done on the Q60 Coupe is enough to make it the most attractive model in the Infiniti stable. The shape is classic 3-door Coupe with its long bonnet and roofline rapidly dropping away towards the tail. There are elements of 370Z in the swept back headlights and the chunky rear end but in general the car is more about its cohesive shape than any standout details. Infiniti played it quite safe with this early effort for Europe and rightly so. The interior hosts a four-seat layout and a 275-litre boot. The cabin of premium coupes is a vital area for it's here where owners must be reminded that the premium they've paid over more proletarian models has been worthwhile. As you'd expect from a Japanese brand, the build quality is hard to criticise but there are lots of buttons cluttering up the fascia and the cohesion of design that the leading brands achieve isn't quite there. Infiniti makes a valiant attempt at compensating for any shortcomings with an equipment list as long as your leg.
Market and Model
Two trim levels are at the disposal of Q60 Coupe customers. There's a standard GT model, then comes the sporty S range-topper. That's not to say that any Infiniti customer is likely to feel shortchanged. Standard stuff includes leather trim and electric heated seats plus an electric sunroof, Bi-Xenon cornering headlights, speed-sensitive power steering, electric front seats, parking sensors, I-Key smart entry, a six CD stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and 19" alloy wheels. The S model has four-wheel-steering, a limited slip differential, firmer suspension, sports seats and upgraded brakes for just under £2,000 over the GT. The competition for the Infiniti Q60 Coupe will be tough. The likes of Audi's A5 and BMW's 4-Series Coupe aren't about to lie down and give a newcomer breathing space. The Infiniti is a little cheaper than the versions of these rivals with equivalent power but it's a lot better equipped so the value proposition could prove crucial. Infiniti will also be banking on the Q60's relative exclusivity to give it an edge and the firm has made great claims concerning the special quality of its customer service.
Cost of Ownership
The big V6 in the Q60 Coupe returns around 27mpg on the combined cycle, with accompanying CO2 emissions in the region of 246g/km. This equates to hefty running costs which might be a deterrent to some. Residual values will be a major determining factor in the Q60's fortunes in the UK and it may take a while before the market settles on how it's going to value Infiniti products in comparison to rivals.
If the Nissan 370Z was well fed, watered and left to mature for a few years, then put through a high class finishing school to have its hooligan tendencies well and truly ironed out, it would most likely end up looking much as the Infiniti Q60 Coupe does. The two cars are quite different but share basic underpinnings and Infiniti will be hoping that the Q60 can mimic some of its cousin's success. The package certainly looks strong on value and with the novelty value of the Infiniti name and the classy customer service offering, the car should have a chance of meeting its modest sales targets.