Nissan's luxury line is upping the ante with fresh designs and sophisticated technologies.
When Nissan started its luxury Infiniti brand in 1989, the early cars and crossovers were easy to overlook. The styling was so restrained, they simply didn't stand out in a crowd. But they were well made and gained a growing following over the years of owners who appreciated their refinement and quiet rides.
Today, the Infiniti line is anything but subdued. The styling is radical and performance has replaced refinement as the number one selling point.
The completely redesigned 2017 Infiniti Q60 is a case in point. Based on the popular Nissan Z Coupe, it is even more aggressive looking, with sharper lines and a bolder grill and front air dam. But the interior wraps occupants in the highest levels of leather and technologies, including dual display screens to reduce knobs and buttons.
The new Q60 is available with multiple drivetrains. It comes standard with rear-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine rated at 208 horsepower. But it can also be ordered with all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged V6 that pumps out 300 horsepower. And a special Red Sport 400 edition comes with a turbocharged V6 rated at 400 horsepower. All are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Unfortunately, my test drive was cut short by a historic winter storm that shut down my part of town for days. The low-profile summer performance staggered tires on my RWD Red Sport 400 couldn't get any traction in the snow and ice that covered the roads for more than a week. The car seemed very powerful during my short initial drive, and yet the cabin was as quiet and comfortable as any other Infiniti I've tested in the past.
In comparison, the other auto writer for the Portland Tribune and Pamplin Media Group had a completely different — and very enlightening — experience with another Infiniti during the storm.
Jeff Zurschmeide was testing a dazzling midsize 2017 QX60 luxury crossover when the snow started following and had no trouble getting around in it. Surprisingly, although Jeff originally thought QX60 was equipped with all-wheel-drive, he soon looked at the window sticker realized it wasn't.
What's up with that?
"What's up is the suite of traction and stability controls that almost all new cars come with as standard equipment. Infiniti gives the QX60 the ability to modulate its engine power and torque delivery, plus the ability to selectively apply a little brake pressure to any wheel that starts slipping. When you select Snow mode, the QX60 knows to keep an extra close watch on traction, and it works," Jeff writes in his review, which can be read at tinyurl.com/hkmmugo.
The revelation is further proof that Infiniti is pushing the boundaries of automotive design with their latest vehicles, making them well worth considering for anyone interested in today's most advance cars and crossovers.
2017 Infiniti Q60
Base price: $38,950
Price as tested: $56,705
Type: Compact sport coupe
Engines: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4 (208 hp, 258 lbs-ft); turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (300 hp, 295 lbs-ft); turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (400 hp, 350 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 19/26 to to 22/30
Overall length: 184.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,727 pounds