Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: November 15, 2017
I’m going to miss the VQ, the venerable motor that has powered nearly the entire Nissan and Infiniti line-up. While this engine may still earn a spot in the product family, its presence in Nissan’s sports sedan pipeline has come to an end.
Stout, reliable, and more importantly, powerful, the VQ was a fan favourite amongst many, and it was the heart that propelled the G35/350Z into hundreds of copies of tuner publications. Let’s not forget the culture it drew when the 350Z was featured in the third Fast and Furious installment (though the VQ-powered Nissan Maxima did make a showing in the first film).
Over time, tighter emissions and a more competitive landscape meant Nissan needed a new way to draw power for their sports sedans and coupes, something that can be developed to make more and keep up with the pack. Enter the VR30DDTT. Some enthusiasts may recognize the prefix - indeed it’s in the same family as the mighty Godzilla itself, Nissan’s GT-R. Which means performance should be in this new motor’s blood. Like the GT-R, the VR30 uses forced induction to keep emissions down and performance pinned in the red. A set of turbochargers optimized to minimize lag helps boost the performance of this 3.0L V6.
Currently only available on the Q50 sedan and Q60 sports coupe, you can choose to have your V6 in one of two flavours: a standard 300-hp model or a high performance 400-hp variant. We’ve thoroughly tested the high performance Red Sport models but I’ve had some reservations about the mid-tier 300-hp alternative. Does the new VR really best the VQ it replaces?
On paper, the VQ looks like it’s got the new VR beat on power, producing 332 hp from the 3.7L naturally aspirated block, 32 hp above its replacement. But that’s only part of the story. The VQ makes peak power at 7,000 rpm. Meanwhile the VR manages this earlier at 6,400 rpm. More importantly though is the torque figure, you’ve got to really wring out the ol’ motor to attain a peak twist of 276 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 3.0L manages to produce 295 lb-ft of torque from as early as 1,800 rpm, and will hold that figure all the way to 5,200 rpm.
In practice, this makes the new Q60 a heck of a lot more usable in the city. There’s no fuss, whether exploiting pockets in traffic or accelerating off the line. Torque is readily available, and there’s a big fat range for you to capitalize on.
Infiniti mates all of this power to a 7-speed automatic transmission, sending power to all four wheels and that’s your only choice. Customers demanding to row their own and do proper skids in a parking lot are in for a rude awakening, this is a big departure for the “purist”. But it’s an inevitability for a brand that’s been hard at work ushering in a “digital” driving experience.
Dynamic Adaptive Steering for example, makes a presence on the particular coupe that I tested. It’s a drive-by wire system that Infiniti envisions to be the future of automobiles, using a complex system of sensors and actuators to translate steering input via electric signals. This is already second generation technology and while markedly better than the first, still falls short in weight and feedback from the competition.
However, the culmination of driving advancements aren’t without merits. The coupe offers an accomplished driving experience even in some of the harshest roads in Toronto. Though the ride leans heavily towards comfort, Infiniti’s sporting pedigree shines through when pushing the car in its paces, remaining well planted when maneuvering through fast switchbacks.
Despite all the progressive steps to the lead us into the “future of driving”, the cabin isn’t so reflective of that sentiment. The biggest culprit lies in the dated infotainment system.
Driver’s are greeted to dual screens on the centre console, one in direct sunlight (that’s of course glossy), and one shrouded by a slight hood (this one is matte). Open the moonroof cover and the bottom screen becomes a nightmare of glare. Not to worry though as the designers anticipated this, so you can find all the same information in the screen above - granted you can stand staring at something that mimics the resolution of a Tamagotchi. The effect of using both displays in conjunction most closely mimics stacking an iPhone 1 on top of an iPhone 8.
It’s an ugly mar on an otherwise well executed interior. Ample amounts of leather adorn all the right spots, with the centre-piece being a beautifully sculpted steering wheel. It conveys luxury, sophistication (as long as the screens are off), and hints at the vehicle’s sporting purpose. Step outside, and there’s no mistaking it: the Q60 is a sexy piece of work. My personal favourite is the coupe’s silhouette. The curves of the front and rear fenders form a crease that rests just below the prominent waistline. Above, the chrome Hoffmeister Kink accentuates the bulges in this low-slung coupe’s rear quarter panels. Draped in a cool shade of Platinum Ice Metallic, the Q60 absolutely dazzles at night.
At an as-tested price of $58,840 it’s not a hunk of change that anyone can throw around without some careful deliberation. In many ways, the Q60 represents a forward march to its predecessor. The styling, and drivetrain are all leaps and bounds above the G37. Yet from behind the wheel, the Q60 offers a more refined ride but with less visceral excitement. The best way to view the Q60 is on a spectrum. On the far left is a thoroughbred sports car, the right, a comfortable luxobarge. The middle is a line that almost no car can straddle - equal parts comfort and sporty. The G-series of Infiniti’s certainly fell on the left side of the middle. This Q60 falls well on the right side of the scale. What that means to each individual will vary, but as I said, I’m going to miss the VQ.
型号 Model: 2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t AWD
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $52,990
試車售價 Price as Tested: $58,840
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,850
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,690 / 1,850 / 1,395
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,750
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 1,600 - 5,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 11.2 / 8.5
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.4