In the months leading up to its debut in 1989, Infiniti launched a major ad campaign using images of calm seas, serene skies, and open roads - just about anything but cars. In the nearly three decades since, Nissan's luxury brand has always been in the scrum, but it has rarely had the visibility of its peers. Despite fielding cars that compete with Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Audi, and the rest of the world's finest, Infiniti just hasn't thrown that knockout punch.
That's not to put the brand down. Since its inception, Infiniti has done things a little differently. When Lexus was building its foundation by aping Mercedes, Infiniti's flagship, the Q45, was bold and unabashedly Japanese. In the 2000s, the G35 and its successors were some of the most attractive luxury coupes on the market - just ask the thousands of tuner kids who still lust after them. The brand's latest luxury coupe, the Q60, is a direct descendant of those coupes. But as the performance-focused Red Sport 400, it could be Infiniti's best effort to date.
Unlike the brand rollout of the '80s, the Q60 - especially the Red Sport 400 - is central to Infiniti's marketing campaign today. The brand's recent spots show Kit Harington, Game of Thrones? Jon Snow, reciting William Blake while taking a coupe identical to our tester right up to the limit. The Q60 didn't exactly make us wax poetic, but it did turn heads. And that's a big part of what Infiniti needs because the luxury coupe segment hasn't exactly been a huge seller since M*A*S*H was on the air.
There's still a lot of prestige here though, as evidenced by the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, Lexus RC, and Audi A5 all jockeying for supremacy. Luxury coupes convey a brand's style and attitude better than almost anything else in their stable, and the Q60 certainly does that for Infiniti. It stands out from the entire segment, which charmed us. But after a week of living with one, it just barely fails to live up to its potential. If it's going to be the dominant luxury cruiser it deserves to be, the Q60, even in high-performance trim, will need a little more refining.
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