When Nissan launched its luxury sub-brand, Infiniti, in the UK in 2009, it was aiming high. However, eight years later it’s still quietly struggling against the mighty established power of the German premium brands.
Although it has made a little bit of headway with its new Q30 family car and QX30 small SUV, that has come largely from simply offering a car in a market where before it had none. To really grow, Infiniti needs to make its larger models more competitive and better-tuned to British tastes, because nobody who’s spending top dollar on a executive saloon, SUV or sports coupé is minded to make excuses for it, even if it is a leftfield choice.
The mission begins with this, the new Q60 coupé, which replaces the G37, a car that sold is such small numbers in the UK that you've probably never laid eyes on one. The Q60 takes on the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series, and is effectively an extra-stylish two-door version of the Q50 saloon, it offers a choice of four and six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. Here, we’re driving the cheaper 2.0-litre, rear-wheel-drive model.
What's the 2017 Infiniti Q60 like to drive?
The Q60 has 19in alloy wheels and firm, sporty suspension that thumps and rumbles a lot over broken roads, making for a fairly uncomfortable ride in town. It’s not great on the motorway, either, although the payoff is good grip, balance in corners and tight body control on country B-roads. The A4 and 4 Series ride much more comfortably but have the same prowess.
Things would probably be better with the higher-spec adaptively damped suspension, but you can only have this with the more expensive 3.0-litre engine.
The Q60’s engine grumbles a bit at low speeds, but settles down at a cruise. It works with the slow-responding seven-speed automatic gearbox in an awkward manner, and the torque it provides at low revs never feels as hefty as the brochure promises.
Only when you really push the accelerator, the gearbox has got its act together and the rev needle gets up above 4000rpm, does performance feel strong.
In the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol form, the A4 and 4 Series are quicker and considerably more refined. They’re also more economical.
Infiniti offers fully electronic steering as an £800 option on the Q60 – although it’s fitted as standard on Sport and Sport Tech trims – but we’d avoid it. It removes the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels, and has inconsistent weight and directness and only makes it harder to accurately place the car.
What's the 2017 Infiniti Q60 like inside?
The Q60’s interior is a broadly comfortable place. The leather sports in the front are supportive and a good size, but taller drivers will find themselves short on head room. In the rear, there’s enough space for two shorter adults.
The dashboard looks and feels quite classy for the most part, although some of the lesser-used switches feel flimsy and cheap.
With a roomy armrest cubby, decent-sized door bins and cupholders and a generous glovebox, interior storage is good, but the boot is much smaller than you get in the A5 or 4 Series, with a high loading lip and a narrow loading area with intruding wheel arches.
The infotainment system, which is split between two touchscreens – one 8.0in and one 7.0in – above one another. Compared with the slick, connectivity-heavy graphical splendour of Audi and BMW’s infotainment systems, the Q60’s set-up is a long way from being good enough. The screens take a while to respond to touches, the sat-nav mapping is pretty low-rent, and while there are some smartphone connectivity, they’re very slow to load.
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