Infiniti - On the Track With Larry Nutson
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Think about the Infiniti brand and thoughts of style, luxury and comfort quickly come to mind. There’s another Infiniti characteristic that you may not think of immediately, and that’s performance.
On the invitation of Infiniti I participated in the Infiniti Driving Experience at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. The event is designed to exposure Infiniti owners and purchase-intenders to the performance attributes of the brand.
Situated on 350 acres of gently rolling countryside, Autobahn Country Club is home to three challenging road courses including a full 3.56 mile track. The track can be divided between a 1.5 mile North Circuit and 2.1 mile South Circuit that can be run simultaneously. In addition Autobahn has a variety of off road surfaces, a karting track, multiple autocross locations, and a three-acre skidpad.
Kyle Vargason, manager, INFINITI Product Planning was on hand and gave the invited participants an overview of the Infiniti brand and its entire product line. We also got a first hand look at the new 2018 Infiniti Q50 sedan. Although on static display, we were able to appreciate its refreshed exterior and interior design and also listened to the new Bose Performance Series sound system. The 16-speaker Bose system is designed to give the same sound and listening experience to each seating position.
We experienced the 2017 Infiniti Q50 sedan, Q60 coupe, including the high-performance Red Sport models, and QX30 compact CUV in different challenging driving events. On Autobahn’s North Course we drove the Q50 and Q60 around the circuit in a lead-follow style at speeds up to 80mph. The track affords the perfect opportunity to safely experience the acceleration, braking, steering and handling ability of these two models.
The compact QX30 showed off its abilities on an autocross course. On the flat coned-layout course, smooth acceleration, braking and steering input made for the quickest times.
The new for 2017 QX30 provides a balance of coupe sportiness, crossover utility and 5-door versatility. Powered by a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine rated at 208 horsepower, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 is available in six trim levels: QX30, QX30 Luxury, QX30 Premium, QX30 Sport, QX30 Luxury AWD and QX30 Premium AWD. Prices start at $29,950.
I also recently test drove the QX30 and you can read that review here.
The INFINITI Q60 is a premium sports coupe priced starting at $38,950. Its high performance 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine is available with either 400 or 300-HP and has been designed to offer increased power and torque while maintaining high levels of efficiency. A four-cylinder 2.0-liter gasoline engine, turbocharged to produce 208-HP, is also available.
I also recently test drove the Q60 and you can read my review right here.
The INFINITI Q50 sedan is the brand's best-selling vehicle and has four available powerplants – 400-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, 300-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder and net 360-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 gasoline-electric hybrid – each offered with a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Prices start at $33,950.
Infiniti’s Red Sport 400 models were no doubt the stars on Autobahn’s north course. With 400 horsepower and plenty of torque you can smoothly and rapidly accelerates out of corners and barrel down a straightaway. The sport-tuned suspension easily allows control in fast sweeping turns and the high performance brakes are what you need for repeated heavy application.
Mike Disser, manager, INFINITI Regional and Retailer Marketing shared with us that the Driving Experience program that we just had completed is the first of a number that they will conduct around the U.S.
Overall this was a great program that allowed the participants to experience the on-track capabilities of these Infiniti models. Having not too long ago driven them on the street, it provided a great reinforcement of the overall capability of Infiniti vehicles.
© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy