It’s a rare rainy day in Southern California and I’m driving on 190 miles of wet pavement east of San Diego in the new 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400. The wet weather doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm, however, for this coupe is equipped with all-wheel-drive that easily handles the adverse conditions. In fact, the rain puts a smile on my face: Both the rain and the car make the day a special one for driving.
At first glance, the Q60 might seem to be just the two-door coupe variant of the four-door Q50 Red Sport 400 sedan, a car we test drove earlier this year in the Texas hill country outside San Antonio. And while the Q60 is naturally a more aerodynamic-looking machine, one big difference goes unseen—at least until you pop the hood. The Q60 features a brand new engine: a V-6 twin-turbo with 400 horsepower married to a 7-speed transmission. Another less noticeable touch is the drag-reducing grille shutters that open up when more performance is required, like when the Q60 bolts from zero to 60 miles per hour in an eye-opening 4.5 seconds. That kind of performance dovetails nicely with the aerodynamic exterior design, most noticeably in the long, drag-reducing roofline. (Despite the name, the Q60 is available in nine colors: mine is a radiant iridium blue.)
The Q60 feels very much like a driver’s car, particularly on a wet surface when it seems to grab and dig harder into the road to maintain traction, especially in Sport Plus mode. That sensation is reinforced by an interior cabin design skewed toward driver comfort, with seats notable for their upper body comfort.
The Q60’s road-hugging abilities are bolstered by Infiniti’s innovative drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system, which foregoes the sometimes jittery mechanical link between the steering wheel and the tires. DAS, which first appeared in the Q50, is in its second generation of development and it can now respond in a quicker and more natural manner—a trait I’m appreciating in this wet weather. It’s linked to Infiniti’s Dynamic Digital Suspension (DDS) system that adjusts the ride to individual tastes. Together, the two offer an astonishing 336 possible driving configurations. Safety technology includes predictive forward collision that monitors potential risks two cars ahead.
I’m now approaching the San Diego coastline and the rain only intensifies. But I’m still smiling. My fingers wander toward the controls for the Bose sound system. I wonder if I can find a tune about rainy beach days.