The Q60’s cabin will be a comfortable place in which most owners may spend time. Its leather sports front seats are well-shaped and a good size, and there’s space in the back for smaller adults or children, as is roughly the prevailing standard on practicality for cars such as this. Taller drivers will find themselves somewhat short on headroom, though, and the car’s electric steering column missing some telescoping adjustment range, while the front seats themselves feel as if they ought to be set lower for the perfect driving position.
The Q60’s fascia looks and feels quite expensively hewn for the most part, as do many of its fittings – but some of its minor switchgear feels a touch flimsy and cheap. Between a roomy armrest cubby, decent-sized door bins and cupholders and a generous glovebox, cabin storage is ample.
But what really disappoints inside the car is the infotainment system, split as it is between two centrally mounted touchscreens located at the top of the centre stack which don’t really look as though they belong on the same dashboard. They take a while to respond to fingertip inputs and display navigation mapping in quite blocky fashion. The audio system sounds healthy enough, but next to the connectivity-heavy slick graphical splendour of the infotainment setups offered by both Mercedes and Audi, what the Q60 brings to the party is a long way from being good enough.
The car’s 2.0-litre engine sounds a bit gruff at idle and on step-off, but settles to a quiet cruise. It falls short of the tractability you might expect of it on the basis of that 258lb ft claim for peak torque though, needing revs to make the car pick up speed with much urgency – and, even in Sport mode, leaving you exposed to the hesitancy of the seven-speed automatic gearbox. The ‘box has a manual mode but no shift paddles, and its reluctance often becomes frustrating when a quick burst of speed would help you on your way.
The Q60’s 19in alloy wheels, standard-fit run-flat tyres and firm suspension settings make for a harder ride than most of its rivals, becoming quite coarse over poor surfaces and feeling a bit wooden and over-damped over bigger intrusions. The chassis improves as you work it, though, showing off good body control, plenty of adhesion and well-balanced grip levels as your speed increases.
It would be a recipe you’d enjoy more if not for Infiniti’s ‘DAS’ active steering setup, which should be keenly avoided by interested drivers even in this revised form. Take a corner at matter-of-fact speed on a smooth surface and the system seems pleasant enough. It has reasonable weight and pace, and you’ll notice that it get both quicker and heavier in Sport mode, and lighter and slower in Normal mode.
But in the minutiae of the constant conversation you have with a car’s front wheels in order to keep it where you want it within it in its lane, running true along your intended path, the system is plainly flawed. It feels woolly, muted, muddled and, at times, quite unnatural. The resistance felt through the rim, as the rack’s electric motors try to synthesise real steering feedback, is changeable and strange: more like friction than load.
And what weight and mock ‘feedback’ there is isn’t something that builds your confidence in the car’s stability or grip level, nor does the system seem to deliver a telling improvement on steering response versus a good conventional rack. The driving experience that results reminds you of watching Top Of The Pops in days a long time after Kajagoogoo and Morrissey – when the featured artists were still miming, but desperately trying to convince you they weren’t.
The Q60’s steering may be at its most unnerving on the motorway, where, with the car’s lane keeping system enabled, it can steer itself around a gentle arcing bend and maintain its lane position without any change at all in the position of the steering wheel in your hands, or the torque detectable through it. To this tester, who doesn’t object to most good lane-keeping systems, that lack in intelligibility represents semi-autonomous driving technology at its worst.