If you want to drive the new Nissan Z-car, you’ll have to wait a bit longer since it’s not yet available.
But you can get a very similar car, right now.
From the same company that makes both.
What It Is
The Infiniti Q60 is a two-door, four seat luxury-sport coupe with four seats that’s very similar in looks and layout to the last-generation Nissan 370-Z, which Nissan stopped selling after the 2020 model year.
A new one is coming – but not just yet.
Like the old Z, it comes standard with a powerful V6. Unlike the old Z, it is available with a much more powerful V6.
And all-wheel-drive, too.
The last Z was rear-drive-only.
This Z – whoops, Q – is more expensive; $41,750 to start for the Pure trim, which is rear-drive and comes with a turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 and seven speed automatic vs. $30,090 for the last (2020) 370-Z, which was also rear-drive and came with a standard six-speed manual transmission.
A Red Sport with the optional – and more powerful – version of the 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 and AWD stickers for $58,200.
That’s not inexpensive.
But the Q is one of the very last new cars of this type you can still buy right now – and that can take you plus three more for a spin.
The Q is old school; the current model dates back to 2017 and hasn’t changed much since then. But this is a good thing – if you prefer a more analog experience. This car does not have a digital dashboard or a huge tablet-style flatscreen poking out of its dashboard.
And it does not come standard with the slew of “assistance” systems that have become standard equipment in most new cars.
They are, however, available – for those who want them.
A more practical Z-car made by the same company that made the actual Z-car.
Standard V6 vs. the becoming-usual turbo’d 2.0 four.
More backseat legroom than you might have imagined (32.4 inches).
What’s Not So Good
No option to shift for yourself.
Backseat headroom is tight.
Not much new to see here.
The Q is one of the few new cars of any type that still comes standard with a V6 rather than a turbocharged four.
But its standard 3.0 liter V6 has a turbo, too.
The engine produces 300 horsepower and 295 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,500 RPM – the latter figure courtesy of the turbo, which boosts low-end torque significantly (the larger, not-turbocharged 3.7 liter V6 in the last-generation Z-car only made 270 ft.-lbs. of torque – and not until 5,200 RPM) as well as increases horsepower.
350 in the NISMO version of the Z.
But then, more is available – in the Q.
If the standard 300 horsepower V6 is not enough to get your motor running, you can upgrade to the 400 horsepower version of the 3.0 liter V6.
Which also makes 350 ft.-lbs. of torque (vs. 276 ft.-lbs. for the NISMO version of the Z’s 3.7 V6).
Interestingly, the soon-to-be-here 2023 Z-car will, apparently, come standard with the same (or very similar) 3.0 twin turbo that’s currently optional in the Q.
The Q also offers two ways to put it to the pavement. You can choose either rear-drive or all-wheel-drive – and with either engine.
One thing you have no choice about is what’s in between the engine and the drive wheels. All versions of the Q come with a seven speed automatic. The Z came standard with a six speed manual, with the option to select the seven speed automatic.
The ’23 Z will also – apparently – still offer a manual, too.
Even so, there’s a lot of overlap – by the layout and the numbers.
Equipped with the 300 horsepower version of the 3.0 V6, the Q gets to 60 in just over five seconds; with the 400 horsepower version in the Red Sport, the time to 60 winnows down to 4.5 seconds. These times bracket the times posted by the Z-car, which could get to 60 in 5.2 seconds with the standard 332 horsepower version of its 3.7 liter V6 and 5 flat in NISMO trim.
Fuel economy also overlaps.
The Q rates 19 city, 28 highway with the 300 horsepower version of its V6 and rear-drive, essentially the same as the 19 city, 26 highway posted by the last-generation 370-Z.
The Q is a more relaxed car than the Z, which is a function of its easier-going turbocharged engine – and automatic-only transmission. There is less need to spin the Q’s torque-rich (and torque-soon) engine to get a healthy dose of acceleration. More torque – which is what gives you the feeling of acceleration – is on tap immediately than is (well, was) available in the Z, no matter how much you revved it.
Of course, that was the point of the Z.
People who buy sports cars like spinning the engine – and shifting gears, themselves. The Q is a luxury-sport coupe, which is a more genteel take on the same basic idea. It is a much easier car to drive every day than the Z, if you have to drive in traffic. Shifting gears is fun when you have the road to yourself or when you at the track – but not so much when you can’t get it out of second in between red lights.
In the Q, you don’t have to keep track of that. Or do that.
This makes it more comfortable to drive in traffic, which is the point.
Acceleration is easy – and potent – with less effort, both apparent and actually. The Z’s V6 you had to work to get similar satisfaction. Which was satisfying, of course – if you were in the mood for that. Ripping off a shift at 6,000-plus from first to second; then again from second to third.
Lots of fun – and lots of drama.
The Q has less personality, definitely. But it also has more flexibility. Including its capacity. Those back seats aren’t the easiest to get into – it is never easy to get into or out of the back seats of a car with just two doors. And the headroom isn’t much (more about that below).
But there are seats back there.
In the Z, there aren’t. Which means only one other person can come along for the fun. In the Q, you can take three – one beside you plus some kids in the back. It’s not a family car by any means. But it is a car that’s serviceable for picking up the kids – plural – which the Z-car wasn’t.
There’s also the matter of traction.
The Q offers more grip than the Z in the wet – and for when it snows. It is not a great snow-day car; few sporty cars are that. But it’s not the wrong car for a snow day, which the rear-drive-only Z-car always was.
There’s one more thing in the Q’s favor. It’s lower-profile than the Z (or cars like the Z). In white or silver or dark blue-black, it blends in with the pack in a way that cars like the Z can’t, no matter what color they’re painted. They are like Elvis trying to not be rekonized – and good luck with that.
Part of the fun of owning a car with 300-400 horsepower isn’t just being able to use it. It is being able to get away with it.
Finally – wonderfully – the Q has few of the “latest” in “driver assistance technologies,” chiefly because the 2022 is largely the same car as the 2017 and that was five years ago – before the “latest driver assistance technologies” became all-but-unavoidable in new cars.
The only standard “assistance technology” is automated emergency braking – and that can be turned off. No standard Lane Keep Assist or Steering Assist. These are available – if you wish to be “assisted” – but can skipped, if you’re capable.
The current Q and the previous-gen Z look a lot alike, which is as you’d expect given they were designed by people working for the same company and share parts in common.
But the Q is actually a much larger car than the Z.
Its footprint encompasses 184.4 inches, bumper-to-bumper vs. 167.5 for the last-generation (2020) Z-car, a difference in overall length of almost 17 inches. Which of course is why there are more inches (and seats) within the Q than the Z.
The Q’s trunk (8.7 cubic feet) is larger than the Z-car’s (6.9 cubic feet) and unlike the two-seater Z, you can use the Q’s other seats for things that don’t fit in the trunk.
People, of course, also fit back there. Legroom in this coupe is generous – 32.4 inches, which is comparable to what you’d find in the back seats of many compact sedans and crossovers with four doors.
The difficulty, of course, is that this coupe only has four doors – which means either the driver or the front seat passenger must get out before anyone else can get in.
The other issue for those in back is headspace, of which there’s about three inches less than up front (34.5 inches vs. 37.9). Which means sitting hunched over, if you’re much over about five feet-five or so.
But you can sit back there.
Also there – in this Q – are analog instruments. Not digitized displays. This being (again) a function of the ’22 Q being essentially the ’17 Q, which was designed before it became the thing to LCD everything.
The Q’s gauges aren’t configurable; you can’t toggle through various displays – as you can with LCDs. But the Q’s gauges have a timeless chronograph look that will look less dated five years from now, when today’s LCD displays begin to look like five-year-old smartphones look today.
The Q’s displays are also, arguably, more to the point – less gimmicky. More classy. Electronics are the one thing that’s getting cheaper each year.
And they look it.
In addition to the stronger version of the 3.0 V6, Red Sport Q’s are endowed with an upgraded wheel/tire package, brakes and an adaptive suspension that can be driver-tailored for a sportier – or more luxurious – feel. Secondary paddle shifters are also included, to allow finger-touch manual control over up and downshifts.
Unfortunately, most of these desirable features cannot be ordered a la carte (they are bundled as part of a package) and are not available, at all, in the base Pure trim – which means having to spend just over $50k rather than just under $42k to get them.
However, this may be your last chance to get a Q with a standard V6 for just under $42k – and maybe period.
The word – sotto voce – is that Infiniti intends to retire the Q after 2022 – or 2023, at the latest.
The Bottom Line
Get your V6 – and four seats – while you still can.
. . .
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