Of course you don’t need to put 400 horsepower on the road, through four fat slabs of rubber, while sitting in a snug little cabin that looks like a GQ design layout.
Of course, you don’t.
The Infiniti Q60 coupe, especially the outrageously powerful and not inexpensive I-Line Red Sport 400 AWD version ($65,295), is an indulgence. A luxury. A toy for a handful of privileged enthusiasts who – damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead – crave a low, nasty little piece of automotive business that will stand on its head to make you happy. If you are of a certain type.
And those certain types are a shrinking breed. Infiniti Canada sells, oh, 30, 40, maybe 50 of these Q60s a month. And sales in 2019 are down about 45 per cent, year-on-year. That’s not so much a slight on luxury sports cars as the expression of a broader trend. Sales of the Q60 and its ilk are off about 11 per cent in Canada this year.
But by god, even the greenest of the jolly green drool when they climb down into the cockpit here, snuggling up to a cabin with cushy leather buckets and fancy finishings that surely have inspired fashion statements sold at Leone. During my test, I invited one of my Naomi Klein-like pals for a spin. She was breathless at the sight of this car, giggling when I punched the throttle and we flew away. I’m certain she felt a sense of betrayal – of herself, her socialist values.
I remain convinced that many who scoff at fast cars and delicious automotive designs have mostly taken the measure of them from a distance – and after studiously informing themselves of the fuel consumption and CO2 numbers. They manage to overwhelm their visceral response – that rush of blood to the head and loins — with the conscience of something that resembles a Catholic who has discovered the joy of sex. Without procreation at its root, naturally. The guilt of it all. They want more, but beg for confession on Sunday.
In any case, I, too, share the imperative of acting quickly to reduce emissions and care for this planet. And I also know that in the very, very near future, the best sports cars will be electrified hybrids or fully functional battery electric rides that are even faster than this awesomely powerful Q60.
Infiniti, part of the bigger Nissan Group and the even bigger Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, is one of the world’s most important and successful producer of EVs (electric vehicles). Hell, the Nissan LEAF has been on sale for a decade. Even at Infiniti, I am certain there are whispers of acceptance, that the Q60 of today is soon to be an anachronism, replaced by an EV coupe that will make you swoon. It’ll be that fast, that amazing.
But in the meantime, there is this lovely Q60. I enjoyed ever second of it. I, too, confess.
The lovely throttle response, the flat cornering that proved to sharp as Damascus Steel. The exterior design hits all the proper notes, with curves and creases and an all-business stance that is matched by its aerodynamic excellence – 0.28 coefficient of drag. The interior is an elegant delight, with carbon fibre highlights, seats designed to spread your weight about, and a 13-speaker Bose sound system that surrounds you with pure notes and tones.
For the record, and for now, Infiniti Canada offers two version of the Q60, the least expensive of which starts in the low-$50,000s and has the 300-hp version of the same twin turbo V-6 in I-Line Red Sport. This is a superb and balanced mill, winner of awards and the darling of powerplant mavens.
Beyond power, the I-Line Red is dressed up with a blacked-out sport grille, 20-inch glossy black wheels, a carbon fibre rear spoiler, badging, black mirror caps and a stainless-steel exhaust that not so much roars at the right moments, but throbs and purrs like an angry leopard. The electronically controlled suspension is dialed into provide both gentleness and precision. And the list of computerized confections is as long as a chronicle of Donald Trump’s lies.
It will come as no surprise when I say I enjoyed my short time with this coupe. I’d bet that even Ms. Klein herself would enjoy a road trip in one, with Rachel Maddow navigating and giggling. Nonetheless, I can see a time, very soon, when its replacement will be a something even faster, with electric motors and batteries and such.
In the meantime, I applaud what’s here, like I did the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour.
2019 I-Line Red Sport 400 AWD version.
Price: $65,295. As tested with options, freight and PDI: $30,545.
Engine: 3.0-litre V-6, twin turbo (400 horsepower/350 lb-ft of torque).
Transmission: seven-speed automatic with computerized shift control.
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.5 city/9.2 hwy using premium fuel.