Super-powered coupe for those who stand out from the crowd
Super-powered coupe for those who stand out from the crowd
First impressions after driving the Q60 Sport Coupe in the UK strongly support that view, judging by the number of admiring looks this coupe has received compared with any of its main rivals.
The impression is further enhanced by the 400bhp generated by the twin-turbo six-cylinder 3.0-liter engine. The Q60 is Infiniti’s best ever looking and most powerful car.
There is a hint of prejudice against Infiniti in the European press, and that applies to all Japanese premium cars trying to break the European monopoly in that segment.
The suggestion that European cars are born superior to Japanese or American cars is baseless. Yet unfortunately it is embedded in most European motoring reporting.
The admiring looks at the excellent exterior design of the Q60 S Coupe by other drivers on British roads exceed what any German coupe in the same class would get. European exterior design of rivals in that segment has not changed much in the past few years and this year’s models pretty much resemble last year’s and the year before’s.
Infiniti cars are also scarce on UK roads and many drivers have not seen an Infiniti car before. But the Q60 S Coupe is not about good looks alone. The V6 engine and 7-speed automatic gearbox present a new formula in that class and should be tested before being judged.
German brands should feel a little uncomfortable with the Q60 package, with the exception, perhaps, of the BMW 4 Series. The Q60 is a coupe for those who want to stand out from the crowd.
The Q60 S Coupe sprints to 100km/h in five seconds and to a maximum speed of 155mph. The driver can select one of six driving modes including snow; eco (weak on acceleration); standard (sufficient for normal driving); sport (good on fast roads) and sport + (for the track). From standard to sport + there is no noticeable turbo-lag.
There is also a personal mode in which the driver sets his own parameters. In fact, Infiniti proudly proclaims that there are 336 distinct possibilities for the tuning of the Q60. And that, to a normal person, could be a problem. For a spirited drive, sport mode is enough for most needs.
The V6 Q60 Coupe offers all-wheel drive and adaptive digital suspension — both come as standard with the V6 cars. The exterior design is muscular and imposing with sculpted lines along the profile of the car. All exterior lights are of the LED type with auto-leveling front headlights and daytime running lights.
The Q60 S Coupe has stiffer suspension than the sedan but it delivers a compliant and comfortable ride that stands out in this class. The suspension setting changes with selection of the drive mode and for long journeys the best setting is sport mode.
Future generations of Q60 are likely to get a fresher treatment from the newly appointed chief designer Karim Habib, who moved over from BMW. He would certainly have a great impact on the brand in the future. He may also steer Infiniti toward the right branding for its products, especially for this niche coupe.
Roland Krueger took over as president of Infiniti in 2015 after previous boss Johan de Nysschen left the company the year before to lead Cadillac from New York. One of Infiniti’s strong assets is its design team and that shows in the current Q60 model.
There are many competitors in this segment but no dominant model. BMW 3 Series Coupe used to be the best model other coupes aspire to be but the 4 Series replacement does not have the same hold on the segment. Cadillac ATS coupe and Lexus RC are emerging as strong competitors in the segment, along with Mercedes-Benz’s new C Class coupe which poses the strongest challenge.
The Q60’s greatest feature is its Dynamic Digital Suspension, an adaptive system digitally controlled to deliver a compliant ride that stands out in this segment and puts luxury before sport.
Infiniti has succeeded in making a statement with this coupe. The Q60 is strong on style. It would appeal strongly to a segment of young Arab drivers in the GCC region who put a great value on its sports character and 400bhp power.
Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla’s backyard, with assist from Amazon
SAN FRANCISCO: German luxury car brand Audi on Monday staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla Inc, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make recharging its forthcoming e-tron models easier.
The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.
All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab share of that market from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.
“I want Audi to be the number-one electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also head of rocket company SpaceX, planned to mark the e-tron launch occasion by staging a SpaceX event in Los Angeles at roughly the same time on Monday evening as Audi’s unveiling.
Audi and parent Volkswagen are using the US launch of the e-tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales — the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.
Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.
Amazon’s partnership with Audi to provide home charging systems is the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.
“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.
Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system.
Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.
At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of US diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.
Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America. Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.
“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.
Lifting the Curtain
Audi has been heralding the launch of the e-tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.
The e-tron is electric, and has two electric motors — one in the front and one in the rear — driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the e-tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.
In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by US regulators.
However, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.
The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel.
Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under US testing procedures. The e-tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D.
The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the US government.