Infiniti – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:14:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Why Infiniti Thinks Formula 1 is Relevant to its Business http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-formula-1-relevant-business/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-formula-1-relevant-business/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 00:50:44 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1010227 As Formula 1 completes its back-to-back North American swing this weekend in Mexico City following last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Infiniti and Renault executives insist the Japanese automaker’s involvement in the sport is more than a marketing exercise. Instead, they say, there is real engineering know-how behind Infiniti’s partnership with the Renault Sport Formula...

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As Formula 1 completes its back-to-back North American swing this weekend in Mexico City following last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Infiniti and Renault executives insist the Japanese automaker’s involvement in the sport is more than a marketing exercise. Instead, they say, there is real engineering know-how behind Infiniti’s partnership with the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team — to the benefit of both marques and their on- and off-track products.

If you follow F1, you likely know this represents a significant shift compared to the previous five years, when Renault officially powered Red Bull Racing’s grand prix cars, which also prominently featured Infiniti’s logo. But the Infiniti/RBR relationship stood for little in terms of shared technology. Other than its F1 involvement yielding what Infiniti identifies as positive brand exposure and awareness, its only remotely tangible results for automotive enthusiasts were the 560-horsepower, Nissan GT-R-powered Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept — effectively irrelevant, as the car never went on sale—and a limited-production, essentially forgotten Sebastian Vettel-edition Infiniti FX SUV.

“We wanted to become more credible,” says Tommaso Volpe, Infiniti’s director of global product strategy and motorsport. “We are not a sponsor anymore. We are an actual player in the sport. Totally different than where we were.”

We heard a similar spiel about “technology transfer” at the beginning of the RBR deal, too, but little of that occurred. Recognizing professional racing as a veritable swamp of public-relations hyperbole, often with little or zero substance, we pressed Volpe and Renault Sport Racing managing director Cyril Abiteboul on what has changed and why Renault this year resumed its position as a full-fledged F1 team for the first time since 2010.

“The core project is co-development of [the energy-recovery system], hybrid tech,” Volpe says. “We as Infiniti already use hybrid tech [in our road cars] as a power booster, not as a consumption saver.”

Abiteboul adds, “There was little credibility from Infiniti being in F1 despite awareness success. Renault has a lot of credibility but [got] very little exposure as just an engine supplier.”

When that exposure does come, there is no promise of the type of publicity it brings, a long-standing challenge in the sport regardless of manufacturer.

“When you are just an engine supplier … when you win it is either the driver or the team,” Abiteboul acknowledges. “When you lose it’s all because of the engine,” he chuckles with resignation. “We were incurring most of the cost that you need to incur when you participate in Formula 1. Because actually, [about] 50 percent of the budget of a Formula 1 team is the engine development. But you have far less revenue out of the engine development.

“When you have a team, it’s still 50 percent or so for the engine development, but you also have income from the prize fund for competitors, from merchandising, and from sponsors. So actually the business case for being a team is not so bad compared to the business case of being just an engine supplier. And by becoming a team, there is no question about exposure. Exposure will come with success.”

Infiniti partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team 01 Infiniti partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team 10 Infiniti partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team 06 Infiniti partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team 08

Indeed, success or lack thereof commands the spotlight in F1, often outshone only by off-track comments from the players in a racing series that spends a large chunk of its time mimicking a political soap opera. So it was perhaps inevitable Renault’s relationship with RBR disintegrated in 2015 when the latter pointed a finger publicly at Renault’s hybrid drivetrain, branding it the weak link in its package. That put Infiniti in a touchy position.

“We’ve been the most exposed sponsor in F1 for years, so we couldn’t complain from that standpoint,” Volpe says. “But the moment they started to make negative comments on Renault, of course we started to put the relationship in discussion. … [But] we made it clear since the beginning, as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we would have [joined] Renault [if it became its own team]. Because for us, in any case after five years, we really wanted to make the step forward and become an active player in Formula 1. … [Despite anything said last year], we would have made this move regardless.”

Still, how much technical firepower in F1 can result from Infiniti’s knowledge of production-car hybrid drivetrains? The system it offers in its Q50 Hybrid Premium sedan, for instance, isn’t transferrable directly into a Renault Sport F1 R.S. 16 car, so it might initially seem a stretch to suggest there is potential for much crossover other than branding. But F1 teams value technical partners with established automotive processes, even though the specific parts in question are different between road and race cars. Another benefit should come in the form of having everything under one umbrella; Renault F1 previously outsourced its hybrid system, a weakness when racing against competitors who run full chassis and drivetrain programs under one roof.

“It’s really very much the hybrid tech, the electronics in particular [that we value],” Abiteboul says. “An F1 power unit has two electric motors, one huge battery, working in a particular way on the electronics involved with engine software. One of the difficulties is to get all of the engine and sources of energy, the fuel and battery, to all work in harmony at different times of race: defend, attack, overtake, save fuel, use fuel—all of these scenarios are what we are constantly improving, and software is important. This is typically an area Infiniti [knows], thanks to background and years of experience of hybrid tech—more than Renault, which no has experience [with those things]. The only entity [in our company] with that experience was Infiniti.”

Infiniti partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team 09

Volpe adds, “The hybrid in the Q50 recovers energy from braking, it works the same as in F1. No, we don’t transfer direct material or systems to F1 because it is much different, but the know-how is very similar in some areas.”

Additionally, and like another Japanese manufacturer, Infiniti now moves employees from the production-car side in Japan to the race team in France, a practice for which Honda became famous and ultra-successful in the 1980s—though it will not confirm how many people are involved.

“We start with us helping Renault on a specific technology, but definitely we want in the future to take this expertise to our product,” Volpe says. “So the people now working in France will be transferred back to our R&D department working on our hybrid technology again, trying to improve in the future.

“This is much easier now because we have an actual technology we are working on in the car. But also, because of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, there is no problem transferring intellectual property or expertise. What made everything difficult before is when you work with a third-party company you always have strong limitations, especially when you involve Formula 1, where everything is highly confidential.”

Abiteboul offers, “Two things can happen [with such a program]. First it is processes: F1 is all about rapidity of development. We do a new engine in a year; a road car is five years. You improve your time-to-market, your capability of adapting to [the needs] of customers, so you put the company in better shape. Then you have a number of tech breakthroughs that apply to the road car. Not just the hybrid but, for instance, we made substantial steps this year with a new spec of engine, an extra 35-40 horsepower, which equals 0.3-0.4-second per lap. We are looking at putting [the development that gave us that improvement] on a road car for 2020, lowering consumption and improving power by overall combustion. This is the type of exchange we are trying to develop.”

None of this, however, is to say marketing does not remain a critical arm of the program, as is almost always the case in professional motorsports regardless of the category, from F1 to IndyCar to Le Mans racing.

“The image of hybrid tech in the U.S. is that it’s not for performance but is slow and not exciting,” Volpe admits. “Infiniti has had opposite approach, since the launch of the hybrid V-6, to add electric torque to the existing power of the engine. [We’re trying to tell] the story of performance technology, not just efficiency.”

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2017 Infiniti Q60 Named Neiman Marcus’ 2016 Fantasy Gift http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-named-neiman-marcus-2016-fantasy-gift/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-named-neiman-marcus-2016-fantasy-gift/#respond Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:03:18 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1007372 While most of us find the holiday ads featuring cars with bows on them to be completely unrealistic, those that receive Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book probably have different feelings. For those, the luxury retailer offers this year’s fantasy gift, the 2017 Infiniti Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition. Using the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 as...

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While most of us find the holiday ads featuring cars with bows on them to be completely unrealistic, those that receive Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book probably have different feelings. For those, the luxury retailer offers this year’s fantasy gift, the 2017 Infiniti Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition.

Using the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 as the base, the Q60 Neiman Marcus will come bearing gold paint (officially called “Solar Mica”) accented by carbon fiber fender vents, fog-light finishers, mirror caps, and rear spoiler. Inside are Gallery White leather-appointed seats and Silver Optic Fiber interior trim.

Under the hood, the Neiman Marcus Q60 is powered by the same 400-hp and 350 lb-ft version of Infiniti’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo as the Red Sport. It will come equipped with Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering and Dynamic Digital Suspension systems, as well as the Bose premium audio system.

In addition, Infiniti throws in an ivory leather weekender bag and a branded car cover and will donate $1,000 to Neiman Marcus’ charitable foundation with each sale. Only 50 Neiman Marcus Q60s will be made, so if this is the car you want to put a bow on this December, you’ll need to move quick. The car goes on sale on November 2 at a Neiman Marcus-appropriate price of $63,000.

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2017 Infiniti QX60 Receives Extra 30 hp, Priced at $44,095 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/powerful-2017-infiniti-qx60-priced-44005/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/powerful-2017-infiniti-qx60-priced-44005/#respond Fri, 07 Oct 2016 20:30:44 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1002087 Details on the 2017 Infiniti QX60 were released today, revealing a slight price increase to $44,095 and an updated engine making more power. That price is $500 more than the 2016 Infiniti QX60. Opting for all-wheel drive will cost you an additional $1,800. The 2017 QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 295 hp and 270...

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Details on the 2017 Infiniti QX60 were released today, revealing a slight price increase to $44,095 and an updated engine making more power. That price is $500 more than the 2016 Infiniti QX60. Opting for all-wheel drive will cost you an additional $1,800.

The 2017 QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque—an increase of 30 hp and 22 lb-ft versus the 2016 model—paired to a continuously variable transmission. It’s essentially the same powertrain that made its debut in the updated Nissan Pathfinder, the QX60’s platform mate. Other updates include a revised power liftgate that is activated by kicking your foot underneath the bumper and an updated Premium Plus package that bundles in Infiniti InTouch Services. Additionally, the updated Theater Package includes a Wi-Fi hotspot option along with dual eight-inch monitors. There are no styling updates to report since the QX60 received a face-lift for model-year 2016.

A number of packages are still available for the QX60. For starters, the Driver Assistance Package costs $1,850 and includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, and more. The aforementioned Premium Plus and Theater packages cost $2,900 and $2,100, respectively, while a Premium Package includes items like a Bose sound system and an Enhanced Intelligent Key for a total of $1,800. A Deluxe Technology Package is a pricey $7,300, but includes everything in the Driver Assistance Package and other goodies like 20-inch wheels and a moonroof that extends from the second to the third-row seats. Finally, premium paint and 20-inch wheels are available at $500 and $1,000, respectively.

The 2017 QX60 is available in dealerships now. Infiniti says that details on the QX60 Hybrid model will arrive by the end of the year.

Pictured is the 2016 Infiniti QX60

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First Drive: 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-red-sport-400-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-red-sport-400-first-drive/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2016 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1000787 SAN DIEGO—Nestled among the vine leaves is the gorgeous 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400, a reboot of the company’s popular G37 Coupe. Likewise, high up in the verdant hills outside San Diego at the picturesque Vineyard Grant James, the vistas are stunning. There’s enough natural beauty here to make Ansel Adams weep. The thing...

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SAN DIEGO—Nestled among the vine leaves is the gorgeous 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400, a reboot of the company’s popular G37 Coupe. Likewise, high up in the verdant hills outside San Diego at the picturesque Vineyard Grant James, the vistas are stunning. There’s enough natural beauty here to make Ansel Adams weep. The thing that draws the most attention, however, is a Japanese automaker’s latest product. Out here in wine country, where the modern tends to take a backseat to the traditional, the Q60—packed to the rafters with new and improved tech—stands out like a Sharpie in Michelangelo’s brush box.

Its Dynamic Sunstone Red paint job bisects the sand-colored escarpments and azure blue sky like a livid metallic slash, while the Golden State’s sharp mid-morning sunshine accentuates the Q60’s all-new, athletic musculature.

Lower and slightly wider than its predecessors, it sits with a youthful, purposeful stance that hints at the car’s performance, while the new-look front end, with its larger, sportier grille and forward slanting headlight arrangement, exudes a more menacing expression than that of the G37. It’s more shark than happy guppy.

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The interior, too, feels sporty and luxurious, with a tactility that belies the Q60’s price tag. Its cabin is bright and spacious, while the cosseting, fully adjustable leather seats are capable of carrying you on long drives without making you feel as though your legs have been amputated at the buttocks. After punishing his undercarriage defending the frozen north of Westeros on horseback, I’m pretty sure that’s why Kit Harrington looks so happy in the TV commercials. He’s probably wondering if Infiniti’s “spinal support” cushioning can be retrofitted to the Iron Throne.

A literal highlight, though, is the trim. Unlike so many cars in its class that clad the dash with dark carbon-fiber pieces or piano-black wood, Infiniti has chosen to weave shimmering optic-fiber into every hard surface of the Q60. It’s an aesthetic masterstroke that gives the cabin a clean and elegant finish.

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The car has five main drive modes: Eco, Snow, Standard, Sport, and Sport+. Additionally there is a Personal mode, which allows the driver to adjust the minutiae of the Q60’s myriad features, from steering to suspension, with hundreds of possible customization permutations.

The brand-new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 twin-turbo came to life with a press of the start/stop button. For a car with such visual presence, disappointingly, there was little fuss; there were no histrionics from the exhaust, and the entire initial experience was quite muted. In Standard mode, I pulled out onto Old Julian Highway and started the hour-and-a-half-long route skirting Palomar Mountain. Serving up some lovely twisty roads, gentle inclines and drops, and some wide, empty straights, it was a perfect test of the Q60’s sporty credentials.

The first real stab of the throttle made it obvious the Q60 is happy to play, with the twin-turbo showing no sign of lag and the drivetrain delivering power immediately. The engine growled a subtle tone of approval, but nothing that got my blood pumping.

There is little difference between the Standard and Sport modes, but there is a marked shift in the car’s attitude between Sport and Sport+. With the latter activated, the Q60 sprang to life. The steering became much sharper, and the response from the accelerator was considerably more bellicose. Planting my foot into the carpet at 60 mph, it delivered an immediate and rowdy burst of speed, accompanied by a satisfying bark from the engine. In a matter of 200 feet, I was already into triple figures, proving the Q60 certainly has hooligan chops to back up its athletic physique.

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This car is equipped with Infiniti’s second-generation, software-controlled direct adaptive steering and “steer-by-wire” systems that first appeared on the 2015 Q50 four-door, as well as an all-new dynamic digital suspension setup. Automotive journalists are often immediately suspicious of software-controlled steering, but if I didn’t know it was there, I would have been none the wiser. The car was sharply responsive and the steering had decent heft, giving me the impression of feedback from the wheels but, thanks to the electronic disconnect, not the vibrations from the road.

So, with 400 horsepower, oodles of low-end torque—350 lb-ft from just 1,600 rpm—and that impressive throttle response at my beck and call, I felt confident swinging the Q60 into corners and attacking bumpy straightaways with speedy abandon. The car responded superbly, with enough body roll to keep the adrenaline levels up, but with no hint of mischief from the rear-wheel drive—the car stayed firmly planted to every line I pointed it at. Under the duress of some spirited driving, the Q60 remained adroit and unflappable.

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All of this was assisted by the Q60’s seven-speed automatic transmission that has been engineered with Adaptive Shift Control, which uses a lateral acceleration sensor to detect hills or corners and enhance gearshift patterns accordingly. Under hard driving in Sport+, I could feel the car holding onto the gears longer, enabling me to tap into as much of the engine’s power that the speed limits would allow.

At times, however, I felt the ever-present driving aids become a little intrusive. While I appreciate that they are there to work in the driver’s favor, I found myself admonished constantly for my slightly vigorous driving style.

For instance, when attacking tight bends in an aggressive manner, I was scolded by a multitude of pings, beeps and vibrations as the car fought to takeover. There were lane-departure warnings as I inevitably scuffed the yellow divider, while the steering wheel would shake in my hands as if trying to adjust my line, and the car would apply the brakes as I tried to apply speed on the exit. It was like being read the riot act by your mom, but in the middle of an EDM party.

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However, in defense of what on the entertaining Route 79 seemed like unnecessary nannying, all of this electronic wizardry really came to the fore when negotiating the busy lanes of Highway 15. The Blind-Spot Intervention, for example, was a revelation. A small light embedded in the A-pillars illuminates when a vehicle is traveling in your blind-spot and flashes with increasing urgency should you, or said vehicle, start moving closer together. It made negotiating Southern California’s congested freeways a far less stressful experience than usual.

Even short highway stretches were far less mentally exhausting thanks to the latest generation of Infiniti’s Intelligent Cruise Control, which maintained speed and kept the car in its lane with a series of minute steering adjustments. There’s Predictive Forward Collision, too, which can see at least two cars in front and will actively brake and accelerate as it assesses the road ahead. It put itself to good use once or twice as cars, as they are wont to do here, swept in front of me without indicating their intentions and then immediately dropped their anchors. The Q60’s electronic instincts beat my reactions to the punch almost every time.

Fortunately, you can toggle the level of the car’s omniscience via a steering-wheel button, which is perfect for when you pull off the highway and face miles of twisty country roads.

At drive’s end, I alighted from the Q60 with a sense of immense satisfaction. If I was in the market for a sporty two-door to help me commute mindlessly to and from work, while offering a little something extra for weekend road trips, then the Infiniti makes a compelling argument against, say, an equivalent BMW 4 series. With a starting price of $52,205, there’s certainly a lot more bang for your buck than if the same luxury options—leather interior, premium trim, 19-inch wheels, and the plethora of matching technological upgrades—were applied to the BMW. And with the money I’d save, I would have something to put toward the inevitable speeding fines I’d accrue testing my driving skills against the car’s CPU on those jaunty country drives.

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2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $52,205 (base)
Engine: 3.0L DOHC twin-turbo 24-valve V-6/400 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 350 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA Mileage: 19/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 184.4 x 72.8 x 54.5 in
Wheelbase: 112.2 in
Weight:  3,862 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.8 sec (est)
Top Speed: 155 mph
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Infiniti Updates the QX Sport Inspiration Concept for Paris http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-updates-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-paris/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-updates-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-paris/#respond Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:20:06 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=999015 Infiniti is working hard to bring its new variable-compression engine to market, and previewed what the first SUV to receive the engine might look like. For this year’s Paris auto show, Infiniti updated the QX Sport Inspiration concept, and announced the production form of the QX concept will pack the new trick powertrain. We got...

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Infiniti is working hard to bring its new variable-compression engine to market, and previewed what the first SUV to receive the engine might look like. For this year’s Paris auto show, Infiniti updated the QX Sport Inspiration concept, and announced the production form of the QX concept will pack the new trick powertrain.

We got our first look of the Sport Inspiration concept at this year’s Beijing auto show, but Infiniti gently massaged the SUV for its time in the Parisian limelight. Now, the rakish SUV rides on 22-inch wheels versus the “little” 21-inchers from Beijing. These new rollers are coated in a subdued bronze paint, and hide brake calipers in the same color.

Don’t adjust your screen contrast; the Sport Inspiration replaced its silver paint for a matte gray scheme. Inside, brown leather adds a bit of panache to the original black-and-white interior.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration rear end Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration side 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration interior Infiniti VC Turbo 02

If you like the look of the Sport Inspiration, stay tuned. This is Infiniti’s preview of the near future, and you can expect most of the design to bleed over into the next QX50 SUV.

The real story is up front, under the well-sculpted hood. Infiniti’s variable-compression engine has commanded headlines for the past few months, and it’s for a good reason. This is the first time this powertrain technology has made its way to full-blown production, and we are excited to see what it is capable of. Essentially, by modifying the compression ratio on the fly in the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, Infiniti can jump from incredible efficiency to very impressive power. Speaking of power, Infiniti claims an approximate output of 268 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque, more than the 3.5-liter V-6 engine now used across the lineup. Look for the engine to debut with the next-generation QX50.

For a comprehensive look at the new groundbreaking engine, check out our coverage here.

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2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 to Start at $52,205 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-red-sport-400-start-52205/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-red-sport-400-start-52205/#respond Sat, 10 Sep 2016 18:17:18 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=988558 Infiniti announced pricing for its new 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400 coupe, which is set to arrive in showrooms this month with a starting price of $52,205, including destination. The all-wheel drive version is an additional $2,000. The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 is powered by the automaker’s new VR-series, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that...

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Infiniti announced pricing for its new 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400 coupe, which is set to arrive in showrooms this month with a starting price of $52,205, including destination. The all-wheel drive version is an additional $2,000.

The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 is powered by the automaker’s new VR-series, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that first appeared on in the 2016 Infiniti Q50 sedan. As the name suggests, the engine makes 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission will be the sole gearbox choice.

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The Red Sport 400 sits on top of the Q60 lineup and comes standard with the automaker’s Digital Dynamic Suspension system, upgraded brakes, and 19-inch wheels that are staggered for the rear-drive version.

Prices for the other Q60 models were announced earlier, with the base Q60 2.0t starting at 39,855. That car is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 208 hp and 258 lb-ft. The Q60 3.0t starts at $45,205 and features the same twin-turbo V-6 used in the Red Sport 400, but tuned to produce 300hp and 295 lb-ft. Like the Red Sport 400, all-wheel drive is available for the Q60 2.0t and 3.0t for an additional $2,000. With the return of the Q60, Infiniti looks to join the fray of sport luxury coupes including the BMW 4 Series, Lexus RC, and Audi A5.

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2017 Infiniti QX30 Priced at $30,945 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-priced-30945/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-priced-30945/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 08:00:48 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=972911 The 2017 Infiniti QX30 will start at $30,945 when it goes on sale this September. The small luxury crossover undercuts key competitors, including the Mercedes GLA, Lexus NX, and BMW X1. The base Infiniti QX30 comes standard with front-wheel drive, LED daytime running lights, smart key, a 7-inch touchscreen, manually adjustable driver seat, rearview monitor,...

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The 2017 Infiniti QX30 will start at $30,945 when it goes on sale this September. The small luxury crossover undercuts key competitors, including the Mercedes GLA, Lexus NX, and BMW X1.

The base Infiniti QX30 comes standard with front-wheel drive, LED daytime running lights, smart key, a 7-inch touchscreen, manually adjustable driver seat, rearview monitor, paddle shifters, two USB ports, and dual zone automatic climate control. Stepping up to the Luxury model, priced from $33,595, brings extra features including Nappa leather, heated 8-way power adjustable front seats, and rear seat pass-through.

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Priced at $36,295, Premium models get a 10-speaker Bose premium sound system, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, rain-sensing windshield wiper with heated washer, LED fog lamps, aluminum kickplates, and chrome trunk embellishments.

One step up is the QX30 Sport, which includes cosmetic updates like a gloss black grille, a 0.6-inch lower ride height, and unique front and rear lower fascias. Buyers also get a flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum-accented pedals, Intelligent Park Assist, and sport seats with leatherette and Dinamica seating surfaces. Prices for this model start at $39,495.

With a starting price at just over $30,000, the QX30 is pretty affordable compared to its rivals. The related Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $33,775, although it comes standard with a 14-way power driver seat and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The BMW X1 is priced at $34,095, and the Lexus NX goes for at least $35,915. These models all come standard with turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines.

If you want all-wheel drive on your QX30, expect to pay considerably more than the base price. All-wheel drive is available on the Luxury AWD trim level, which starts at $35,395. The model, as well as the $38,695 QX30 Premium AWD, adds special front and rear lower fascias, roof rails, and unique 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

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2017 Infiniti Q60 Coupe Priced at $39,855 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-priced-lower-outgoing-model/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-q60-priced-lower-outgoing-model/#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=971761 The 2017 Infiniti Q60 coupe heads to dealerships this September and will start at $39,855. Thanks to a new base four-cylinder engine, the price on the coupe has dropped significantly from the $41,855 starting price of its predecessor. The base Q60 2.0t comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of...

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The 2017 Infiniti Q60 coupe heads to dealerships this September and will start at $39,855. Thanks to a new base four-cylinder engine, the price on the coupe has dropped significantly from the $41,855 starting price of its predecessor.

The base Q60 2.0t comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be had for an additional $2,000. Standard features include LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, eight-way powered high-backed bolstered sport seats, Bluetooth, and a rearview monitor.

Next up, the Q60 2.0t Premium starts at $42,205 with rear-wheel drive or $44,205 with all-wheel drive. The model features the standard 2.0-liter engine as well as a power sliding moonroof and upgraded Bose Performance Series Audio system with 13 speakers.

Stepping up to what Nissan calls the “core volume trim,” the Q60 3.0t Premium features a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. This model will cost you $45,205 with rear-wheel drive or $47,205 with all-wheel drive.

Infiniti will also offer the Q60 Red Sport 400 as the top-tier trim, and that model will feature the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 tuned to 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

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Report: Infiniti Preparing Variable Compression Ratio Tech http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-working-on-v-6-with-variable-compression-ratio-tech/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-working-on-v-6-with-variable-compression-ratio-tech/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 16:52:51 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=968477 Infiniti will bring out a replacement for its aging QX50 crossover by late next year or early 2018, according to Autocar. The small crossover may receive Infiniti’s revolutionary new engine with variable compression ratio technology, the report says. When it arrives in Infiniti’s lineup, the engine should be the first of its kind in the...

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Infiniti will bring out a replacement for its aging QX50 crossover by late next year or early 2018, according to Autocar. The small crossover may receive Infiniti’s revolutionary new engine with variable compression ratio technology, the report says.

When it arrives in Infiniti’s lineup, the engine should be the first of its kind in the world. Sources say it’s close to production, and that it should offer “high levels of refinement,” as Autocar put it. Other than these few details, we don’t know much about the upcoming engine.

The Infiniti QX50 currently offers a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 325 hp and nets 17/24 mpg city/highway. It was refreshed with a few updates for 2016, but it hasn’t been completely redone since its debut for the 2008 model year, when it was called the EX. Although we don’t know exactly what to expect from the replacement, the QX Sport Inspiration Concept that debuted at this year’s Beijing auto show may provide some hints as to a future design direction. The concept featured dramatic exterior lines and a free-flowing dashboard, and likely previews the replacement for the QX70.

Infiniti has ventured on a healthy product roll-out spree, entering new segments with the Q30 hatch and QX30 small crossover this year. Meanwhile, the automaker has also updated its Q50 lineup with new engines for 2016. A Q60 Coupe is also coming to market soon, and it should provide a much-needed update to the current Q60, which is almost a decade old.

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2017 Infiniti QX30 First Drive http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-first-drive/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 04:01:55 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=967845 Seattle is a city perpetually on the rise. From its port-city beginnings to its current tech industry boom, the city’s shape, culture, and people are constantly evolving. It gives the impression of always up and coming, never wanting to be complacent. As such, the location was perfect for the introduction of the new 2017 Infiniti QX30...

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Seattle is a city perpetually on the rise. From its port-city beginnings to its current tech industry boom, the city’s shape, culture, and people are constantly evolving. It gives the impression of always up and coming, never wanting to be complacent. As such, the location was perfect for the introduction of the new 2017 Infiniti QX30 as it attempts to pull the rest of the brand upwards.

Infiniti, like Seattle, is always looking towards the future, or so they now say. Decades of futile Nissan stewardship has pointed the premium automaker to the brink. Lackluster cars with barely indistinguishable interiors to their Nissan counterparts felt as if Infiniti would become just another mid-2000s Lexus, when its Toyota brethren were barely different.

The new QX30 aims to correct those dark years. It’s a breath of fresh air in the stale air of the brand, and this is largely thanks in part to the bones of the QX30 being of not Nissan descent, but Mercedes.

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Haven’t We Seen You Before?

While the artsy sculpture of the body is defiantly Infiniti, the basic shape comes from Mercedes’ GLA crossover. To look its part, however, Infiniti’s designers have breathed upon the QX30 to shed its less-than-appealing roots, creating a shape that’s more evocative and speaks to the younger clientele the brand is going after. Standing just a few feet from the QX30, you get the impression that the designers saw the GLA, and thought, “God, that’s unfortunate. But it has the right architecture to build something sort of beautiful.”

The flowing haunches, subtle curves, and even the divisive trademark Infiniti grille work. We know as a matter of principle, we should hate the crossover design given that it’s just a high-riding car with little more space than its lower-to-the-ground car cousins, and that a wagon or a full-size SUV are more practical. But Infiniti’s designers did such a superb job that those nagging opinions can be shooed away. It’s a damn pretty car. Maybe it doesn’t have the beauty of a pageant queen like a Ferrari, but unlike most in this segment, it has a unique shape that’s both wonderful and distinct. The interior, though — that’s a little less incomparable.

2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 08

Seriously, Haven’t We Seen You Before?

Infiniti will tell you until the company is blue in the face that the interior is its own. It isn’t. Pull the QX30 up next to its Mercedes cousin, jump from one car to the other, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many differences.

The steering wheel, the door window switches, the central speedometer screen that literally uses Mercedes graphics, the door locks, the center infotainment stack, and even the car’s key are all from the GLA. But you know what? You shouldn’t care, because it feels like a Mercedes product should feel. Those pieces of trim are weighted properly and the leather supple, giving them a far more expensive feel, even though you’re in an entry-level premium car.

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There are, of course, areas where the QX30 has obvious Infiniti parts, such as the more premium leather inserts and some of the design flourishes. But for the most part, the interior is pure Mercedes.

The seats, which are also from Mercedes, are comfortably plush. The wonderful memory foam padding did the job so well that, while our driving partner pootled along our route, we almost immediately fell into a deep, calm sleep. Even the sporty AMG-derived seats in the Sport trim are comfortable despite their bolstered thigh and mid-section padding.

We’re glad Infiniti didn’t do much to make the interior more its own. As it sits, the QX30 is the perfect tool to entice new buyers. Where the QX30 slightly missteps, however, is in the transmission calibration.

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We Recognize You, But Something Is Different…

Seattle and the surrounding area are staggeringly beautiful. It’s an explorer’s dream, with deciduous rain forests, babbling estuaries, and plant and animal life galore. Within minutes of the heavily populated city, you’re transported to another world — one of adventure, sparse accommodations, and Mount Rainier greeting your gaze. The gorgeous tree-lined back roads necessitate frequent stops, not because you’re fatigued from driving treacherous roads, but due to their sheer beauty.

Yet, as the outside world was perfect and surrounded us through the panoramic moon roof, the mechanics of the car were not.

For the QX30, Infiniti still uses the same turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 as the Mercedes. It develops the same 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to the same seven-speed dual clutch transmission, which is where things go wrong. With access to the transmission’s computer, Infiniti’s engineers felt they could do better than Stuttgart. They couldn’t. As such, when under harder acceleration, the transmission hangs near redline for entirely too long. When it finally shifts, and there’s no preordained pattern for how long you wait, the resulting shift in power jerks the car rather abruptly and reduces the luxury feel they so adeptly obtained. It is important to note that what we drove was a pre-production vehicle, which gives Infiniti ample amount of time to devise a solution before the car goes on sale.

Inside the city limits, Seattle is remarkably hilly, closely resembling San Francisco. Here however, and along the waterfront and historic Pike Place market, the transmission feels perfectly adept. The shifts are smooth, and almost unnoticeable. And even when you encounter uneven pavement, the ride remains pleasant as this is where most of this car’s buyers will spend their time, just scurrying around a city center.

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A Premium Crossover For Broke Millennials

According to Infiniti, the company’s target demographic is under 40 and aspires to have an active lifestyle. However, those buyers are trending younger and younger each year. And buyers want something premium without the premium price tag, as most don’t make enough yet to afford a more premium car. Infiniti is set to capitalize on this trend with the QX30, as it will likely become the brand’s most popular offering.

As the QX30’s on sale date draws closer, Infiniti will likely release the car’s final pricing. When pressed, the company stated that the base model will start near $29,950, making it an absolute bargain for those wanting Mercedes-level comfort at Infiniti prices. And it’s not like Infiniti skimps on the premium feel, either. Leather is standard, there are wood flourishes throughout, and it’s equipped with plenty of other creature comforts and safety systems that would have you believe you’re in a car that costs twice as much. For further levels of safety, Infiniti’s Technology Package offers Mercedes levels with forward emergency braking, high beam assist, intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning.

Even a well-equipped QX30 Sport will come in under $40,000 before tax, license and destination. One option we highly recommend to audiophiles is the premium 10-speaker Bose stereo.

For a time, Bose was everywhere and it was the class leader in audio systems. However, in subsequent years, other makes such as Bang & Olufsen or Meridian have become the dominant makers of high end, quality stereos. In the QX30, the Bose unit is nearly flawless, with clear fidelity, and only becoming muddled at the very edges of eardrum injury. In short, it’s banging, and a clear bright point inside the car’s cabin.

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A Company Once Again on the Rise

When Renault-Nissan announced its technical partnership with Daimler Mercedes, we were very much interested in what would come out of the relationship. Seeing and feeling the finished product gives us hope that, like the city of Seattle, Infiniti is on the rise. The 2017 QX30 is a car that, as gearheads, we shouldn’t like on principle. But as people who appreciate a brilliantly executed vision, this is a high point. The Mercedes DNA makes this car feel more premium than its price tag, and the uniquely Infiniti touches add personality to the Germanic neutral undertones found in the GLA.

This car has potential energy. Energy that’s stored, waiting to be unleashed. When Infiniti finally does unleash this car to the public, it could be the car that propels the company forward into the future, shedding its apathetic history for something bold, and exciting. It also doesn’t hurt that it will likely sell like gangbusters.

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2017 Infiniti QX30 Specifications

On Sale: Fall 2016
Price: $29, 950 (est)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/208 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD crossover
EPA Mileage: TBD
L x W x H: 174.2 in x 71.5 in x 60.2 in
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Weight: 3,280-3,346
0-60 MPH: 6.9 sec (est)
Top Speed: N/A
2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 front end 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end detail 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 side profile 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 07 2017 Infiniti QX30 exhaust 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 05 2017 Infiniti QX30 headlamp 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 06 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear three quarter 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 front end 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 tail lamp 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear three quarter 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 side profile 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 tail lamp 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 headlamp 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 interior detail 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 center stack detail 2017 Infiniti QX30 center stack 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 06 2017 Infiniti QX30 seats 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 07 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 interior detail 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 infotainment 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 seats 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine start push button

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