► 2017 Infiniti Q60S coupe tested
► Twin-turbo V6 produces 400bhp
► On sale in March for £46,690
Of all the countries in Europe you’d want to test drive a car in, Switzerland is among the least desirable. It’s renowned for its strict speed limit enforcement and monstrous fines, and consequently it’s not somewhere you want to be assessing the finer points of a car’s performance.
But, alas, Infiniti’s European base is in Geneva – so it was here that we would be testing the firm’s new 400bhp high-tech super-coupe, inconveniently in fog as thick as cotton wool.
Surely there’s no steering-by-wire system again?
Predictably dissatisfied with the poor feedback the Q50’s Direct Assisted Steering (DAS) system received from critics – and actually the feedback it provided the driver too – Infiniti has upped its game and now it’s time for version 2.0. In order to bring the steering in line with the firm’s mantra of being ‘a driver’s brand’, the company has recalibrated the software settings to reputedly deliver improved feel.
It’s still an odd system to handle if you’re used to any other steering set-up, as it feels numb and delivers little tactile response – but that’s the point: it’s meant to make life easier and less tiring, so over bumpy roads you won’t find the wheel tugging left and right. It just tracks true to your desired direction, so eradicating the ‘feedback’ that can cause and exacerbate fatigue.
So, does the Infiniti Q60S usher in a new age?
One major advantage over any rival car’s steering is how responsive it is. There’s zero delay in reaction, which means you’re left adjusting your driving style for the first few minutes. It’s not difficult to master, though, and soon enough you get the Q60 pointing the right way every time. And it’s so refreshing to drive a car without a dull response around the straight-ahead position.
It’s not ‘engagement’ in the traditional sense, but it feels very modern and – to be honest – it’s definitely a sign of things to come. Do long-haul pilots lament the advent of fly-by-wire, I wonder? Probably not.
Another first, for Infiniti at least, is the adaptive suspension system. It’s offered on higher-spec Q60s but we didn’t think there was a big enough gap between the soft and firm damping settings. This meant we actually ended up leaving the car in its most hardcore Sport+ mode – which also livens up the engine and gearbox, and increases the steering weight.
We also ended up selecting the Dynamic+ setting for the steering, which quickens up the steering’s responses, in order to find an acceptable configuration.
What about the all-new VR30 DDTT engine?
An aspect of this car we can heartily recommend is this new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 twin-turbo – which is also expected to find a home under the bonnet of Nissan’s 370Z replacement, at some point in 2018.
It’s a monster of a powerplant, featuring water-to-air intercooling, direct injection and variable valve timing; more importantly, it sounds fantastic and pushes this 1.9-tonne (yes, really) coupe along the road with frenetic pace.
A seven-speed automatic gearbox is your only option on the Q60 and it’s an entirely acceptable solution, if a little outclassed by the latest twin-clutchers. Drive is then transmitted to an all-wheel-drive system, so this car has monstrous levels of traction – which helps to make best use of the engine’s performance, as well as offering confidence in corners. We didn’t push it too hard, however, because Switzerland.
Are there any other options?
We also got to try the 2.0-litre turbo engine that for some reason Infiniti expects to be more popular, but next to the V6 it’s as compelling as a mankini in a monsoon.
Its only saving grace the fact it’s offered in a rear-drive chassis, rather than with AWD, but that alone will pigeonhole it further for many buyers. Look at the proliferation of 4Matic, xDrive and Quattro throughout this sector, after all.
Is there any Red Bull F1 tech incoming?
Well, in light of Infiniti’s involvement with the Red Bull Racing F1 team, we’re expecting a more powerful version of the V6 to appear at some point soon. It’ll probably coupled to a hybrid system aimed specifically at delivering performance rather than parsimony.
Infiniti product strategy director, Eric Rigaux, said: ‘We all want to do it but it won’t be a different engine like the Q50 Eau Rouge – it’ll be a tuned version of what we already have.’
Keep your eyes peeled for an even hotter Q60 coming soon, then.
The Infiniti Q60S is a curious proposition in that it’s a very capable machine that is likely to be completely overlooked in favour of German opposition. It’s not the most characterful car on earth by any stretch, but technically it’s among the most interesting in its class.
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