It may be impossible to determine when an infinity begins, but we know when INFINITI started. Nissan’s luxury automotive division opened its first 51 dealerships in the United States in 1989. They had two cars on their showroom floors: the Q45 sedan and the M30 coupe. INFINITI incorporated the now-iconic VQ V6 engine into its vehicle portfolio in 1995. In 1999, it started welcoming owners to the perks and unique experiences available in the INFINITI Owners Club. Intelligent Cruise Control and INFINITI’s RearView Monitor debuted two years later. The year after that, INFINITI began offering its vehicles with voice recognition. By 2011, INFINITI had joined forces with Red Bull Racing to compete in Formula 1.
Those are just a handful of milestones in INFINITI’s timeline. When a company’s been around for nearly 30 years, firsts get harder and harder to come by. INFINITI started operations with a sedan and a coupe. It got into the SUV market more than 20 years ago. Some of its technological innovations were rolled out when tomorrow’s leaders were toddlers.
If you look hard enough, you can still find firsts at INFINITI, though. You see the car at the top of this page? Its beautiful bodywork is wrapped around a big first for the brand. INFINITI began offering its first-ever twin-turbo engine in the 2016 Q50 sedan. The 3.0-liter V6 was available in two states of tune: 300 horsepower and 400 horsepower. The 400-hp version of the forced-induction V6 is now the most powerful engine available in the 2017 Q60 line of coupes, topping the 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo I4 and the 300-horsepower iteration of the V6.
Recently, we got the chance to spend several days in the rear-wheel-drive version of the flagship Q60 (all-wheel drive is an option), the 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400. In addition to the official start year of INFINITI sales, we can also tell you when we started putting our right foot down in its hottest coupe: as soon as possible.
2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 Exterior
We had to get inside the Red Sport first, though. That took a while. Every time we laid eyes on the Dynamic Sunstone Red beauty, they ended up lingering there. We weren’t the only ones who gazed at it for long periods of time. The Red Sport made people talk – about how attractive a design it had. Perhaps they were dazzled by the eye-like LED headlights or drawn closer by the dark beauty of the 15-spoke, 19-inch wheels or pleased by the sporty look of the perforated exhaust tips, which are exclusive to the Red Sport 400. We’re not really sure. However, we know what we liked the most about our loaner’s exterior: its profile. It doesn’t look as if INFINITI stamped the Q60 Red Sport’s door and quarter panels. They appear to have been sculpted by experienced artisan hands, carved into by masterful craftspeople, and swept back by the winds that rush over a car that charges through them with the power of 400 horses.
2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 Interior
Before we closed the driver’s door, we took note of something else. The doors of a lot of vehicles have fixed points at which they stay open. Thanks to the Q60’s flexible doorstops, we didn’t have to hold the driver’s door open in a certain position or worry about it banging into the car next to us.
Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised by the Red Sport’s interior dimensions. The cockpit had a sportscar-like quality to it. The roofline was low, yet provided plenty of headroom in the first row. The shift lever was perfectly positioned for immediate manu-matic shifts.
INFINITI’s designers filled those perfect dimensions with black trim, pristine Gallery White leather, and eye-catching, optional Silver Optic Fiber accents. Factory workers bolted in some great equipment. Our review special had keyless entry and start, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 13-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system with Bose Centerpoint surround sound. The optional Premium Plus Package added the convenience of remote engine start capability, the comfort of heated front seats and steering wheel (too bad we drove the Red Sport during a Texas summer), and the usefulness of navigation with voice recognition.
Although legroom in the back seat was more abundant than we expected it to be, we found the second row to be more suitable for short people, children, or groceries.
2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 Performance
Once we were done getting an eyeful of the Red Sport’s exterior and appreciating its interior, it was (finally!) time to fire it up and drive it. We put a foot on the brake, pushed the starter button, and the 400-horsepower/350-lbft twin-turbo V6 came alive. The INFINITI Drive Mode Selector that controls various performance aspects of the Red Sport can be set to operate the car in a variety of ways, including fuel-saving ECO, traction-focused Snow, and custom Personal modes. Leaving it in Standard mode was never a disappointment. Most of the time, we found ourselves switching it to Sport and Sport+. It would be a crime to not use the ultimate performance modes in a car with 400 horsepower. It would also be a (real) crime to keep your right foot planted in a Red Sport. It wants to go as badly as cops want to pull over a zooming red road rocket. We felt its back tires wanting to let go of the road during one particular short sprint – in a straight line. Once the turbos spool up, you’d better have both hands on the wheel. Your knuckles will turn white as the force of the Red Sport’s manic acceleration turns the look of shock on your face into a pair of wide eyes and an even wider smile.
Our test car was outfitted with the optional Direct Adaptive Steering system. INFINITI states the digital, non-mechanical setup “lets you steer quicker and smoother.” We believe what they say because we experienced what they made.
No matter which mode we had the Red Sport in, its Dynamic Digital Suspension’s continuously variable electronically controlled shock absorbers did a great job of neutralizing the disruptive forces of rough pavement.
2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 Safety
The Red Sport comes standard with front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags. Features such as Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force distribution, and a tire pressure monitoring system are also standard.
Our particular Red Sport was equipped with the optional Technology and Driver Assistance Packages. Those protected us (and those around us) with a long list of features, including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, Blind Spot Warning, the Blind Spot Intervention System, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, an Around View Monitor, and Backup Collision Intervention.
2017 INFINITI Q60 Red Sport 400 Overall
You can get into a rear-wheel-drive 2017 INFINITI Red Sport 400 for as little as $51,300*. Our test vehicle had an as-tested price of $60,355. You can get one just the way you like it at an AutoNation-affiliated INFINITI dealership. Then drive it away quickly to discover why INFINITI’s first twin-turbo engine shouldn’t be its last.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.