Review: Infiniti’s seductive Q60 tugs at heartstrings

The Infiniti Q60 is a two-door coupe with three new engine choices for 2017. Video by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — Some cars are pure seduction, and Infiniti Q60 draws pulls at your heartstrings right from the start.

It’s long, low and understated. Its sides are chiseled to perfection without looking like a folded envelope. The roofline arcs back to the raised trunk in a way that makes the two-door model appear it is forever vaulting forward. There’s a touch of chrome, but designers resisted getting carried away.

Artistry is at the core of this car. The Q60 was designed as, basically, a personal luxury coupe — one that will make its owners revel in their success on the way to work and wow spouses or dates for weekend getaways. Yes, there’s a backseat, but it’s almost an afterthought.

Since beauty and speed are the Q60’s calling cards — not necessarily practicality — the coupe will likely play a small but important role in Infiniti’s lineup.

“No one ever needed coupes. These are objects of desire,” explained Keith St. Clair, Infiniti’s director of product planning, after we took a test drive of the Q60 through the winding hills here north of San Diego. He is quick to point out that coupes make up only about 5% of the new-car market.

For those lost in Infiniti’s new nomenclature, Q60 is the worthy successor to the G35 of 2002 and later, the G37 of 2007. But it goes up against some tough competition: Lexus SC, BMW 4 Series and Audi A5.

All have the kind of styling meant to stir souls, though not necessarily sales charts. Infiniti hopes it will get its edge over rivals with silky-smooth new engine choices — three of them, compared with one in the past — and a gorgeous interior.

The engine lineup starts with a 208-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder good for 25 miles per gallon. But we suspect most buyers will opt for the 3-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine that comes in two different horsepower ratings, 300 or 400.

We drove the 400-horsepower, rear-wheel drive version, the imposing Q60 Red Sport 400, which has one of the smoothest, most assured engines that we’ve encountered. There was no hint of dreaded “turbo lag.” The Q60 takes off from a stop like a shot. Even at that, the engine is rated at a respectable 22 mpg.

Infiniti has long had a key advantage over many competitors with its steer-by-wire system. The steering wheel is connected to a computer that tells the car’s wheels how to turn, not through the mechanical linkages like cars dating back to the dawn of the auto industry. As a result, Q60 has the ability to let you set how much steering effort you would like — a nice touch.

There’s also a “drive mode selector,” allowing drivers to set engine and transmission response based on conditions. In the Q60, it’s a dizzying array of 336 choices, way too many in our opinion. There’s the standard setting and one for personal preference. There’s also one for snow, best gas mileage, sport driving and “Sport Plus.”

If the overall package isn’t enough to grab you, the Q60 has two more aces up its sleeve — the paint and the interior.

Infiniti touts a new color for the Q60 called Sunstone Red, perhaps the prettiest deep ruby sheen we’ve ever seen. The companion to the remarkable paint job is the Q60’s optional refrigerator white interior — so pristine and seemingly difficult to keep that way that there’s a restoration kit in the glove compartment.

You’ll never want to bring your morning coffee into the car again or dare to let your kids chomp on a chocolate chip cookie in the back seat.

The price of seduction? $39,855 for the most basic Q60 and $52,205 for the Red Sport 400, both including $905 in delivery charges. Hey, no one ever said seduction comes cheap.

What Stands Out

Looks: Wow!

Purr: 400-horsepower V-6 stands out

Paint: Sunstone Red sparkles

2017 Infiniti Q60

What? A luxury sport coupe

When? In showrooms now

Where? Made in Tochigi, Japan

How big? 15.4 feet

How much? $39,855 to start, $52,205 for the Red Sport 400, including delivery charges

What makes it go? Three engine choices — a 208-horsepower four-cylinder engine and either 300- or 400-horsepower V-6, and a seven-speed automatic transmission

How thirsty? 22 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg overall in the base version; 22 mpg overall in the Red Sport

Overall: Not exactly sex on wheels, but getting close

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