Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD Review: Don’t call it a sports car

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Context is everything. We all make our judgments off of our own experiences prior to the present in an effort to navigate most-effectively through the world. I had been looking forward to getting behind the wheel of an Infiniti Q60 Red Sport for a while. Infiniti’s range-topping new coupe with more zest than its predecessor, largely thanks to its twin-turbocharged engine making a hefty 400hp. Yes, surely the Q60 Red Sport would be as good as I remember the Q50 Red Sport being, but in a more stylish package. There was a problem this time around, though, a problem I hadn’t had before I drove the Q50 Red Sport. Right before I drove this Q60 I drove an Alfa Romeo, and that set the context bar pretty damn high.

Had I not experienced the Alfa in such close proximity, I’d probably be writing something very similar to what I wrote about the Q50. Something along the lines of “Well done, Infiniti, you’ve upped the bar!” But my experience in the Alfa gave this drive so much more contrast. It highlighted all of the major areas where the Q60 is severely lacking as an enthusiast car.

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In a vacuum, the Q60 Red Sport would be fine, but after experiencing a car so connected with the road and the driver as the Alfa Giulia Ti, I just couldn’t get over how removed the Infiniti really is. I mean, it has no steering column at all, and I could really tell this time. They do a decent job of making it responsive to your inputs (especially in sport mode), but there is never a sense that you actually connect with the machine itself, let alone the road. Where the Alfa is like having a direct conversation with someone, the Infiniti always feels like you’re speaking through an interpreter.

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It didn’t bother me too much before when I drove the Q50 Red Sport, but this time I had a very real sense of what I was missing. I have to say it, these new Infiniti Red Sport models are not driver’s cars. They are high performance, to be sure, but there, plainly, isn’t any physical connection between the driver and the road. Everything you do in the car is just telling the computer what to do, and then the computer goes and does it. In very real terms, you could drive this Infiniti with a keyboard. The steering wheel, the gear lever, and the pedals are all just gimmicks that make the car seem conventional, but it’s not. In truth, this is really a self-driving car that just isn’t allowed to make its own decisions yet. That’s great, but if you’re a driving enthusiast, it really isn’t what you want at all.

Now, to most drivers, all of this is actually quite impressive, and very appealing. The Q60 is a very posh and stylish personal coupe, even a borderline gran turismo, if I may be so bold. With all that technology helping you out, it’s quite suited for driving long distances at high speeds. For the average driver, it is surely a dream machine of sorts. Fast, comfortable, good-looking, and it practically drives itself!

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My favorite party trick was the Q60 Red Sport’s ability to do a standing launch so easily, thanks to my test car’s AWD. It’s a proper stoplight rocket. All you do is press the brake with your left foot to hold the car in place, then hold a good amount of throttle with your right foot. You’ll feel the car lurch forward, fighting against the brakes as the turbos start to spool up. Then when you’re ready for lift-off, just release the brake quickly as you push the gas pedal to the floor (if you weren’t already there). It takes off like a bat out of hell!

Note: Don’t do this too often or you may hurt your transmission, and don’t hold it in place with the brakes for more than a few seconds. Also, if something does break, never ever admit to the dealer that you did this, as they may void your warranty. Again, I’m not telling you to do this, I’m just saying it’s fun (if you are inclined to take your own risk in doing so)

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Don’t get me wrong here. The Infiniti Q60 Red Sport does have its entertainment value for enthusiasts, but it also doesn’t check many of the boxes we want. To most people, it’s a wonderful car, and I do respect it for what it is. It’s a high-performance luxury coupe, but it sure as hell isn’t a sports car. If you’re a fellow enthusiast, you’ll know the difference. Also of note, I did find the AWD in this Q60 Red Sport seemed to tame the experience quite a bit compared to the RWD Q50 Red Sport I drove prior. The lack of grip at the rear with 400hp gives you a sense of the beast getting out of the cage that I never quite felt in the AWD Q60. It’s still a very quick car with AWD, but just not quite as exciting. If you need AWD, get it, but if you can work with RWD, I recommend it.

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Dollars and Sense

The Q60 Red Sport 400 I drove here was well-loaded with options. I suspect it would run $65-70k on the showroom floor. I don’t think it’s a terrible new car purchase at that price, but you also don’t need to spend that much. I configured the one I’d buy and it came to around $57k. For under $60k, I definitely think the Q60 Red Sport is a fantastic buy.

Competition wise the Q60 Red Sport goes up against the BMW 440i, Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe, and the Audi S5. If you really want a driver’s car, the Infiniti isn’t on the same level as the Europeans, but if you’re not worried about the nuances of dynamic feel the Infiniti is a serious contender. It’s got more power by a fair margin than its German rivals and doesn’t leave anything to apologize for at the curb.

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Verdict

The Q60 Red Sport is a well-executed modern luxury coupe, for better and for worse. Favoring technology and advanced safety over driving engagement, it is a well-rounded machine that will impress the average driver, while leaving enthusiasts looking for more.

Infiniti did a fantastic job with the Q60 Red Sport, but it’s no longer the well-dressed sports car its predecessor once was.

-Nick

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MoM Score: Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD
Primary Function: Driving Experience: 1
Secondary Functions: Luxury(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 2
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10

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