- Published: Monday, 05 June 2017 17:32
Infiniti dips into the hard-fought executive coupe segment with eye-catching results
SINGAPORE - For coupes, the small executive car segment is where it’s at, with Mercedes-Benz and BMW leading the pack.
While Mercedes has the benefit of icons like the SL and SLC, we’re betting the vast majority of the cars sold were C-Class coupes and 4 Series models, specifically the less-expensive C 180 and 420i variants.
Even Lexus has a hand in the small executive coupe fight, with the muscular RC coupe that’s recently launched with a new 2.0-litre turbo engine (see earlier this issue), the better to take the fight to the Germans above. The latter aren't standing still either, with the new 420i just launched in Singapore, and Audi also dropping the new-gen A5 into the picture. But jump up a segment and there’s only the Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe, now literally in a class of one, since the BMW 6 Series is not a direct competitor and rumoured to be gone soon.
That all just shows how tough a fight the outsider in this equation has it, and that’s a label which still fits Infiniti in this segment, as its previous coupes like the G series showed, even if its Q50 sedan has gained enough traction to be a true contender against the 3 Series and C-Class.
Design and uniqueness is one of the Infiniti Q60's key strong points - it looks gorgeous
Just as the Q50 replaced the G sedan, so does the Q60 replace the G coupe. The engineering is all quite recognisable, taking the same Nissan RWD ‘FM’ platform used in the Q50 - it’s lower, but otherwise identical in basic proportions and wheelbase and thankfully, slightly lighter (8kg) than the sedan at 1,692kg.
A kerb weight like that is not good news in this segment, and shows Nissan’s need for an updated platform with less flab if it’s really going to push the Germans. In contrast, the C 200 weighs 1,525kg and the 420i 1,490kg - which goes some way to explaining the BMW’s class-leading dynamics.
The Q60 overcomes its weight deficit with extra power, it having 208bhp against the Germans with sub-190bhp apiece, since all three have an identical 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds. Thanks to the Nissan-Renault and Daimler tie-up of course, the engine longitudinally-mounted under the bonnet of the Q60 is actually the familiar Mercedes 2.0-litre turbo four.
It’s just as home here, with the seven-speed automatic gearbox, and a good match to the quietness of the Q60’s cabin. As noted, it’s not much to yell about in excitement terms, but delivers smooth, predictable power. The Q60 itself isn’t particularly noisy for a car of this type, though some tyre noise is apparent.
Drivers can tune the dynamics to a certain extent - engine, steering, gearbox and so on - but the lack of adaptive dampers highlights the stiffness of the ride. In day-to-day driving, it won’t make you replace tooth fillings, but it becomes more apparent the harder you push the car, with the busy ride unsettling the body and sapping confidence.
Just as it is with the impressive Q50 400 Red Sport, shaving off weight would probably have left the engineers much less to compromise.
The rest is typical coupe living, with a smaller boot and rear seats best reserved for people you only like enough to give a lift to. Infiniti’s cabin ambience is good, on par with the less expensive Germans in some areas, although the occasional plastick-y bit can be spied when up close.
The Infiniti’s saving grace is just that - grace. Infiniti has honed its design chops and leveled-up with the Q series of cars and with the Q60 has made all the lines and proportions quite right when it comes to desirable coupe. The little kink in the rear windows is a good example - not following established trends while making an interesting, unique design statement. That Infiniti’s paint quality, like Nissan’s, is superb and needs to be seen to truly appreciated is another plus point.
The other grace the Q60 has is that it will make your wallet a little less elegant or slim than the Germans, since it’s less expensive. Dynamically it’s not a match to the 420i, but closer to the C 180 / C 200, in any case when it comes to coupes of this variety, that’s probably less important than looking good.
Infiniti Q60 2.0 T
Engine 1,991cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 208bhp at 5500rpm
Torque 350Nm at 1250-3500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
Top Speed 235km/h
0-100km/h 7.3 seconds
Fuel efficiency 7.5L/100km
Price $200,800 with COE