Bryan Logan/Business Insider
Infiniti has always been the odd one out in the luxury car segment. The automaker is an offshoot of Nissan, and like its Lexus and Acura counterparts — which are offshoots of Toyota and Honda, respectively — it has never quite been viewed as a genuine luxury marque.
It shares parts and architecture across Nissan’s global product ecosystem and, historically, Infiniti has offered precious little to distinguish itself from the everyday mass-market Nissans roaming the streets around the globe.
And then there’s Infiniti’s branding. For more than 20 years, the company struggled to figure out how to market itself. Its current models are luxurious, but cost-cutting is evident in some of the cars’ materials. They are stylish, but, until recently, the design language has gone through several iterations and nothing seemed to stick.
Infiniti has sought to fix these things. The company started to break away from Nissan in 2013 — part of a bid to differentiate itself and stop being one of the luxury car market’s also-rans. It brought on ex-Audi exec Johan de Nysschen as its president in 2012, and de Nysschen sought to make Infiniti the Japanese equivalent of BMW.
The effort was more or less unsuccessful, and de Nyssechen left Infiniti for Cadillac two years after he started.
Roland Krueger was installed as president of Infiniti Motors US in 2015. On the creative side, the company hired Karim Habib as head of design, who previously designed for BMW and Daimler AG. Habib will start at Infiniti in July.
If there’s a silver lining for Infiniti, it’s likely to exist in the ranks of its design team. The automaker has a handful of new or refreshed models in the pipeline and one of them, the Q60 luxury sport coupe, is a stunning example of what this brand can do if given room to fly.
Infiniti recently lent us a 2017 Q60 Red Sport 400. Here are our impressions.
The Q60 has some striking characteristics and it all begins up front. Sculpted headlamps and a strong, imposing grille evoke a commanding presence.
The Q60’s stance is handsomely brutish. Its muscular exterior — seen here in Midnight Black — is a striking contrast to the leather-clad, Gallery White interior.
The black headliner inside hovers over sculpted white leather seats.
This car’s full name is: Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400. The “400,” as you may have guessed, represents the car’s advertised horsepower.