Infiniti Q60 Red Sport

Part scarlet fervour, but steering misses the turn

TONY OíKANE

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

FOLLOWING on from its underwhelming debut in turbo four-pot 2.0 GT guise late last year, Infiniti has thrown more coal into the thrown more coal into the Q60 coupeís engine room in the form of a potent twin-turbo, direct-injected V6.

Driving the rear wheels, the Q60 Red Sportís turbo six brings some much-needed excitement to the Q60 family, with strong low-end pull courtesy of a 475Nm peak torque figure that begins at just 1600rpm, and a linear power delivery maxing out at a segmentleading 298kW. Thatís more than rivals BMW 440i and Merc-AMG C43 Coupe, and for way less coin.

Hooked up to a slick sevenspeeder, the only real downside of the Red Sportís powertrain is the autoís habit of self-upshifting 200rpm shy of the redline when in so-called manual mode.

It is quick, though. The Red Sport may tip the scales at 1784kg, but it dashes to 100km/h in just 5.0 seconds Ė on par with a BMW 440i for acceleration.

Body control is excellent, despite the Red Sportís heft, and you can chuck it into a corner with surprising aggression. But thatís offset by a fussy and jiggly secondary ride, the run-flat rubber likely part of the problem. Tyre roar is prominent too, despite noise-cancelling tech.

However a bigger black mark lies with the steering. Infiniti has added another steering mode relative to the all-electric steer-bywire set-up of its sedan sibling, the Q50 Red Sport, but even the Sport Plus setting thatís touted as the most natural still doesnít deliver on tactility or feedback.

Itís sufficiently direct, and useful at filtering out the bad stuff like rack rattle and pothole jolts, but it excises much of the good stuff too.

That makes it difficult to figure out how much grip remains at the front tyres when pushing hard, and ultimately spoils an otherwise competent RWD chassis.

Value, on the other hand, is an undeniably strong Red Sport trait. It may miss out on fancier gear like a head-up display and active cruise, but the 13-speaker Bose audio thumps out tunes, the powered and heated front seats are deep and comfortable, and soft-touch surfaces are abundant.

On balance, the Q60 Red Sport is far better resolved than the underwhelming four-pot that open sthe range. At $88,900, its price-to-performance quotient is exceptional, its big wheels and bodykit have more visual zing and itís heaving at the seams with kit.

But Infiniti needs to redouble its efforts in the steering department if the Q60 Red Sport is to compete on an even footing with its Euro rivals Ė even the Lexus RC 350 steers better. We could forgive the four-pot for being doughy, but dullard steering spoils the Red Sport. eams ng xus uld oughy, t.

PLUS & MINUS

Steering devoid of feel; sharp ride; road noise; oddball switchgear layout Strong engine; exceptional value equation; best Infiniti design yet Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 2997cc V6 (60į), dohc, 24v, twin turbo 298kW @ 6400rpm 475Nm @ 1600-5200rpm 7-speed automatic 1784kg 5.0sec (estimated) 8.9L/100km $88,900 Now

Godzilla-lite?

The Red Sportís twin-turbo V6 may share the VR engine code of the mighty Nissan GT-Rís VR38DETT, but the powertrain DNA is actually quite different. Besides a smaller displacement, the Red Sportís VR30DDTT block architecture differs substantially and uses waterto- air rather than air-to-air intercoolers, unique heads with integrated exhaust manifolds and direct fuel injection instead of port injection. Brothers from another mother.