Recent Comments

    Two Prestige Sporty Coupes

    By Philip Ruth–

    It’s time for more coupes! In my last column, I compared Hyundai and Toyota coupes from the sub-$30,000 market. Here, we’ll rise to the top of the segment with offerings from Infiniti and Lexus.

    You’ll want to get your wallet ready for these two: the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD’s as-tested price landed just under $66,000, and the Lexus LC 500h smacked up against $106,000. “Empower the Drive” reads the tagline on Infiniti’s window sticker, while the Lexus’ urges you to “Experience Amazing.” At these prices, a transformative experience should be standard equipment. 

    And it is, in both the Q60 and the LC, though the experience is very different between them. Start with the engines: the Infiniti serves up 400 horsepower (hence the Red Sport 400 name) from its twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6. Thanks to its sharp throttle response, the Q60 leaps from the line and passes slower traffic with clear authority. 

    A neat extra on this Q60 tester was its $698 “Axle-Back Sport Exhaust Kit,” which incorporates a trumpet-like finisher on both pipes. It sounded fantastic, with a lush depth to the tone that changes notes in fine steps during acceleration. And because the system announces your approach from down the block, those around you on bikes and scooters are aware of your presence, which feels like an added measure of safety.


    The LC 500h has a very different feel. It’s a hybrid, so it is sometimes mechanically silent, except for an electronic sound it emits to establish its aural existence. Trading as it does between gas and electric propulsion, the LC 500h lacks the Q60 Red Sport 400’s immediacy. But its trip computer indicated 26 mpg, which is about half what you’d expect from a Prius, yet still about seven mpg better than the Q60’s measurement. Not bad from a car with 354 total system horsepower. 

    Handling is an area where both these coupes come alive. If you’ve driven a Nissan or Infiniti coupe on this platform—think 370Z or G37—then the Q60 Red Sport 400 will feel familiar. Steering is firm, as are the brakes and suspension, and they work well to lasso in the engine’s explosive power. 

    The LC 500h is much more relaxed by comparison, and its uncommonly wide rear end takes some acclimating when you’re clipping tight corners. The hybrid powertrain serves to mute to a degree the feedback one would expect from a sporty coupe, but going with the flow reveals the LC 500h to be a comfortable tourer. 

    Interiors in both were impressive. The Infiniti came with about $1,400 worth of accent lighting, which illuminated the car from the underside and tracked beneath the Q60’s interior lines. The LC 500h’s has the exotic styling you’d expect of a $100K car, with deeply sculpted door panels covered with a rich, velvet-like fabric. 

    The LC 500h’s “Flare Yellow” paint made everybody look, while the Q60’s “Liquid Platinum” was more muted. But both were satisfying in their own ways. 

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant ( www.gaycarguy.com ). Check out his automotive staging service at www.carstaging.com

    Published on March 12, 2020