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First drives: Infiniti Q60

I ran a vox-pop around the office when the Infiniti Q60 arrived in my car park for testing. Only one of the approximately 10 people I asked actually knew what it was.

​​​Almost without exception they all loved the styling, and when I reeled off the technical credentials most wanted to 'help me evaluate it'. However, with low-volume sales around the country and no Infiniti dealer in Tasmania, the brand is certainly having an identity crisis.

The Infiniti is a premium brand spawned out of Nissan, which of course is nothing new as Toyota/Lexus have been doing it for years.

The Q60 Red Sport is an imposing but elegant design. It takes some styling cues around the rear haunches from Nissan's mighty R35 GTR, while the remainder provides flowing lines and warrants plenty of looks as you cruise the streets. The deep-looking Dynamic Sunstone Red paint was the perfect colour to accentuate the flowing lines.​

Under the long bonnet there's a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 that punches out a huge 298kW and 475Nm. The seven-speed hydraulic automatic handles the output seamlessly. Driving on the highway I managed around 8.5L/100km, but the numbers mount quickly if your right foot becomes too heavy.

Q60 features a unique fly-by-wire steering system, meaning steering inputs by the driver are sent electronically to the steering rack rather than by direct mechanical connection.

This does allow multiple steering modes that are programmable via the media interface, depending on your required driving preferences. The Sport+ setting provides some additional weight on the wheel when turning and speeds up the steering ratio for faster turn-in. Select eco or standard mode and steering weight decreases.

This system takes a bit of getting used to, as I found myself cutting corners tighter than I might ordinarily like. You do adapt to it, but if you are pressing on through winding roads, steering weight and feedback can be unpredictable. Driveline output and responsiveness can also be adjusted.

The Q60 is also fitted with adaptive dampers, allowing you to select a setting to give a preferred ride quality. As usual with these adaptive systems you can set a personal mode. It probably took me about a week to program it as I like, as some of the settings are very subtle and only prominent in certain driving conditions.

Inside, the leather covered seats are supportive with multi-electric adjustment and memory settings. Seat heaters are also standard. Infotainment, navigation, climate and vehicle settings are managed via twin screens. While bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition are standard, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are missing, as is a digital speedo. Sound is delivered by a high-end 13-speaker Bose system.

Road noise on course chip surfaces is louder than I'd expect in a premium luxury car, boot space isn't huge, and you see the odd part they've shared with the run-of-the-mill Nissan range.

The Q60 Red Sport has a comprehensive list of safety features including AEB, blindspot warning and intervention, backup collision intervention, lane departure warning and prevention, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, around view monitor and adaptive LED headlights with high beam assist. A single button press activates the safety shield system that will activate the brakes for you in normal traffic, not just in emergency situations.

Infiniti comes with a four-year warranty with 12-month 15,000km service intervals. The first three services will cost you $1232. If you feel like you need to have a Q60 Red Sport, you'll need the best part of $94,000, a plane fare to the nearest dealer in Victoria and a fare on the Spirit of Tasmania to get you back home.

- Darren Moody

Published in the Dec/Jan 2019 issue of Journeys