Only a couple of weeks after Porsche announced Canadian pricing, features and specifications for their new lightweight 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T performance trims, plus all the details for the two…
Only a couple of weeks after Porsche announced Canadian pricing, features and specifications for their new lightweight 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T performance trims, plus all the details for the two 718 models’ new 2020 base, S, GT4 and Spyder variants, news of a fresh new take on the 718 GTS is upon us.
Up until the current 2020 model year, fourth-generation Cayman and Boxster models were only available with turbocharged four-cylinder powerplants, but thanks to the new GT4 and Spyder a formidable 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine was added to the mix. Now, hot on the heels of those two top-tier 718 models, Porsche is announcing the refreshed 2021 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxster GTS with horizontally opposed six-cylinder power as well.
Previous 718 GTS models, available from the 2018 model year up until the end of 2019, already made a generous 365 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, but power came from a 2.5-litre turbocharged H-4. While impressive in its own right, thanks to 500 cubic centimetres of extra displacement, plus 65 more horsepower and 37 additional lb-ft of torque than the 718’s base, S and T trims’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the outgoing 2.5 is nowhere near as formidable as the new GTS trim’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre six.
Those familiar with the just-noted GT4 and Spyder will already be well versed in Porsche’s new H-6, which sports 414 horsepower in these two top-tier models, and while shy some 20 horsepower in the new GTS, the revised 394 horsepower H-6 nevertheless makes an identical 309 pound-feet of torque.
That’s superb performance from a trim line soon to be positioned between the two $74,400 718 Cayman T and $76,800 718 Boxster T models, and the $110,500 718 Spyder and $113,800 GT4. The new engine, which revs up to 7,800 rpm, produces Porsche’s much-loved six-cylinder growl and therefore will appeal to Porschephiles across the board, while its mechanical delights are improved upon further by a standard dual-tailpipe sports exhaust system.
Also notable, Porsche makes the engine more efficient via an adaptive cylinder control (cylinder deactivation) system that alternately switches off one of its two cylinder banks under low loads, plus its direct-injection system incorporates piezo injectors and a variable intake system to further reduce fuel consumption while enhancing performance.
Just like the sport-tuned 718 T models that arrived earlier this month, new 718 GTS trim adds a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), and the brand’s much-lauded Sport Chrono Package featuring an upgraded Porsche Track Precision App with an integrated lap timer to its standard equipment list.
The Sport Chrono Package incorporates a “push-to-pass” style Sport Response button in the centre of the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch, plus Launch Control with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission.
The new 2021 718 GTS models launch from standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 4.5 seconds when utilizing their base six-speed manual transmission, slicing 0.1 seconds off of the old 718 GTS’ sprint time, while they’re only 0.1 seconds slower to 100 km/h than the ultra-hot 718 GT4 and Spyder.
Additionally, both 718 GTS models improve their top track speeds by 3 km/h (1.8 mph) to 293 km/h (182 mph)—the GT4 and Spyder achieve 304 and 301 km/h (189 and 187 mph) respectively. Porsche has yet to announce performance figures for the new 718 GTS models with their optional PDK transmission, but it shaves 0.2 seconds off the GT4 and Spyder’s zero to 100km/h time, so we can likely expect a similar result for the GTS.
Along with the new 718 GTS models’ improvement in straight-line acceleration, a host of standard features also make for better handling, such as Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) that integrate dynamic hard and soft transmission mounts to reduce vibration and improve performance, while unique Satin-Gloss Black-painted 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in staggered-width 235/35 front and 265/35 rear performance rubber keep the two new cars locked to the pavement below.
The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping system is standard too, and instantly adjusts for road surface conditions and driving style changes, depending on the Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual driving mode chosen.
What’s more, both 718 GTS models ride 20 millimetres lower than regular Cayman and Boxster models, reducing their centres of gravity and therefore improving control. Bigger cast-iron brakes, measuring 350 mm (13.8 inches) up front and 33 mm (13.0 in) in back make for shorter stopping distances too, while composite ceramic brakes are once again available.
So that everyone can differentiate the new models from their lesser siblings, dark grey “GTS 4.0” script can be found on each outer door skin, while just like with other GTS models, more gloss- and matte-black trim bits get added to the exterior, these including the front lip spoiler, the lower front fascia’s all-black Sport Design air intake, darker front fog lights, darkened tail lamps, and a unique lower rear bumper cap, not to mention the aforementioned sports exhaust system’s twin tailpipes finished in black chrome, and those inky black wheels noted earlier as well.
A GT sport steering wheel gets added to the new 718 GTS models’ interior, as does a scripted “GTS” logo to the classic three-dial primary gauge cluster’s centre-mounted tachometer, while carbon-fibre trim embellishes the instrument panel and centre console, and dark Alcantara covers the steering wheel rim, centre console, gear shift knob and skirt, the door inserts and armrests, plus the centre sections of the standard sport seats, while the A pillars and roof liner also receive this rich suede-like surface treatment in the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 hardtop model.
Optional, a GTS interior package provides either contrasting Carmine Red or Crayon chalk grey/beige for the tachometer face, seatbelts, floor mat borders, and decorative seams throughout the cabin, including the embroidered “GTS” emblems on the headrests.
As usual, the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system comes standard, set within a 7.0-inch high-resolution touchscreen display featuring the comprehensive list of infotainment functions found in lesser trims, plus connectivity to the aforementioned Track Precision App. This motorsport-originated application is downloadable to your iPhone or Android device, and shows performance-related data on the car’s centre display for use on the racetrack, while simultaneously recording that data to your smartphone for post-race analysis.
Other PCM features include a navigation system with real-time traffic info, plus available voice control as well as Porsche Connect. What’s more, audiophiles will be glad to hear that an optional Bose surround sound audio system can be upgraded further to an even higher end Burmester surround sound system.
The new 2021 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 and 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 will be available to order from your local Porsche retailer this summer, with deliveries arriving later in the year.
So while you’re waiting, make sure to check out our complete photo gallery above, plus the two available videos below:
The all new 718 GTS 4.0. More of what you love. (1:52):
Porsche GTS. More of what you love. (1:30):
Hold on. Subaru’s BRZ now outsells the Scion FR-S… er… the Toyota 86 by 2.5-to-one? What’s going on? Toyota has the stronger brand, right? Boy was I wrong. I was sure that rebadging Scion’s…
Hold on. Subaru’s BRZ now outsells the Scion FR-S… er… the Toyota 86 by 2.5-to-one? What’s going on? Toyota has the stronger brand, right?
Boy was I wrong. I was sure that rebadging Scion’s sports car with Toyota’s much better-known logo would cause some sort of uptick in popularity, but its sales decline has been brutal over the past couple of years. In fact, since the car first became available in 2012, which began with a level of excitement from performance and tuning car enthusiasts that I hadn’t seen for a very long time and resulted in 1,470 Canadian deliveries in its first seven months, its sales have steadily dropped from a bullish 1,825 units in 2013, to 1,559 in 2014, 1,329 in 2015, 988 in 2016, 919 in 2017, and 550 in 2018, while as of November 2019 Toyota has only sold 250 units, representing a 53.3-percent drop over the same 11 months last year. Adding insult to injury, Subaru’s aforementioned BRZ, which only started edging out the 86 last year, is now sitting at 625 deliveries after 8.1 percent growth so far this year.
The BRZ’s recent upsurge should be an important indicator when analyzing the 86’ fall from grace. The fact is, not all sports cars are experiencing a downturn, but instead some, such as the BRZ and Mazda’s venerable MX-5, which has sold 767 examples so far this year for a 26.99-percent bump in popularity, are showing there’s renewed interest in the entry-level sports car segment, as long as its ardent customer base gets what they want.
Truth be told, Toyota’s 86 hasn’t changed much since it was refreshed for 2017 as part of its Scion FR-S transformation, and while part of me believes it doesn’t need much if any modifications, the numbers don’t lie. Truly, despite a U.S.-market Toyota spokesperson declaring last year that the 86 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, its current numbers should have the model’s handful of diehard fans feeling uncomfortable.
But the quoted numbers are just for Canada, right? What about the U.S.? Sales are certainly brighter south of the 49th where they’d need about 2,500 deliveries to match Canada’s output per capita. Year-to-date Toyota’s U.S. division has seen 86 sales grow by 3.9 percent to 3,122 units, which while hardly worthy of streamers, party horns and other New Year’s noise makers, at least beat Subaru at the very same game by trouncing U.S.-spec BRZ sales by 70.5 percent due to that model’s 36.8-percent plunge to 2,203 units. How did the MX-5 “Miata” do in the States? Not well at 7,314 units, a 13.5-percent drop, but at least none of them are the Fiat 124 Spider that’s only sold 687 units as of November 2019, a 32.7-percent downward spiral from a position that some might say was already well underwater (or six feet under?). Such results make Fiat Canada’s 204-unit 124 Spider sales look awesome per capita despite a 25.8-percent hit (U.S. deliveries should be about 2,000 units by comparison), and really Fiat shouldn’t feel so bad when comparing its current 124 Spider success to the 86.
There’s kind of good news on the horizon for Toyota’s most affordable sports car, however, and no I’m not talking about any increase in straight-line performance, an improvement most have been calling for since the model’s inception, but rather a much-needed upgrade to its infotainment system arriving for the upcoming 2020 model year. As it is, the 2019 Toyota 86 GT you’re looking at on this page appears identical to the one I tested in 2017, other than this car’s coat Raven Black paint and the 2017 model’s now discontinued burnt orange-like Hot Lava.
Toyota redesigned the entire front fascia for 2017, with those changes continuing into 2019 as well. Attractively detailed standard LED headlamps were part of the upgrade, and still provide a more sophisticated appearance, while the elongated front fender vents and redesigned “86” insignia, now positioned lower on the side panel, were at least different, as were the revised taillight lenses updated with brighter LEDs.
The cabin has always been pretty decent, but the earlier FR-S examples I drove never let me inside with proximity-sensing keyless access, nor did they start with a pushbutton, keep me warm via dual-zone automatic climate control, skinned their seats in leather trimmed with suede-like Alcantara, or covered their primary instrument hoods and passenger-side dash sections in padded and stitched microsuede like this 2019 86 does, but I must say the infotainment update promised for 2020 will be welcome.
Back in 2017, the current 6.1-inch centre touchscreen stopped paying tribute to Pioneer by upgrade its graphics to an attractive blue on black patterned background with cyan links, plus adding Toyota branding. It continues to look pretty good, but doesn’t come off as advanced as the automaker’s new Entune system, because it clearly isn’t. Other than the usual radio functions it allows for USB integration, plus it connects wirelessly via Bluetooth for talking on the phone and streaming audio, but believe it or not it doesn’t project the backup camera’s image. Instead, it blocks half of the rearview mirror’s usefulness with a tiny image that’s hardly useful at night in the rain, seeming more like a way for Toyota to satisfy regulators that now demand rearview cameras, than improve safety. I was therefore shocked to learn that the completely new 7.0-inch centre touchscreen in the 2020 86, which positively includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, doesn’t include the rearview camera. This means you’ll still be squinting at the mirror when backing up, which simply isn’t good enough.
This said, with North American sales numbers as poor as they are, should we expect any more investment in the 2020 86? Then again, are those numbers as bad as they are because Toyota hasn’t invested enough in this car? Even hindsight can’t help us answer this question, but one thing is certain, the 86 remains one of the most enjoyable cars in its class to hustle down a winding mountainside road.
I specified “down” because its Subaru-sourced 2.0-litre horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine continues to make just 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque, which while pretty good for most cars that weigh in at just 1,252 kilos (2,760 lbs), isn’t as formidable as many of its peers. Those numbers were bumped up five points each for 2017, which was an improvement, but 2.5 and 3.3 percent upgrades respectively didn’t answered the ongoing call for more performance requested by the very same customers buying it.
Of note, only six-speed manual (6M) equipped cars received the increased power, which came together with a reworked rear differential designed for quicker launches from standstill. Cars like my previous 2017 tester that utilize Toyota’s paddle-shift actuated six-speed automatic (6A), which incorporates a downshift rev-matching system dubbed “Dynamic Rev Management,” continued forward with the unmodified powertrain, but at least Toyota added hill start assist.
I have to admit to not minding the autobox as much as I expected, as it’s a decent transmission and a lot easier to live with around town, but this is a rear-wheel drive sports car folks, not merely a sporty looking front-drive coupe based on a compact commuter sedan, so if this were my personal ride I’d only own it with a manual gearbox.
Modulating the clutch and letting the revs climb right up to 7,000 rpm for maximum power is the best way to get the most out of the engine’s available power, whether taking off in a straight line or exiting a corner, and on that last note the 86 continues to be one of the nimblest chassis’ available in its price range.
It gets MacPherson gas struts up front and double wishbones in back, plus if you ante up from this GT trim line to the top-tier manual-only SE, SACHS performance dampers are included, while the already strong four-wheel discs get upgraded to Brembos and usual standard 215/45R17 summers grow to 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 performance tires, although my tester included Bridgestone Blizzak winters that really made it easy to slide the back end out; no bad thing.
The 2019 86 comes in base, GT and just-noted SE trims, by the way, some base model highlights not yet mentioned including a limited slip differential, auto on/off LED headlamps, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped multifunction three-spoke sport steering wheel, a leather-clad shift knob and handbrake lever, aluminum sport pedals, a trip computer/multi-info display, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, single-zone automatic climate control, eight-speaker AM/FM audio with aux and USB inputs plus an Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL), Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, power windows with auto up/down all-round, dual vanity mirrors, all the usual active and passive safety equipment, and more for only $29,990 plus freight and fees.
The automatic transmission will set you back $1,200, this being the same price whether choosing a base 86 or opting for $33,260 as-tested GT trim. Of note, the GT wasn’t available when I last reviewed the 86 in 2017, with most of its features part of a Special Edition that now shares its more performance-oriented upgrades with the new SE, or TRD Special Edition. Before getting into that top-line model, GT trim provides the proximity-sensing access and pushbutton start/stop, dual-zone auto HVAC, and fancier leather/microsuede upholstery and trim mentioned earlier, those front seats also including warmers as part of this upgrade, while additional GT features include LED fog lamps, a rear spoiler with black-painted accents, a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display with vehicle performance data, and a theft deterrent system.
Lastly, the $38,220 TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Special Edition, which once again can only be had with the manual transmission, adds a TRD aero kit, TRD performance dual exhaust, black side mirror housings, special cloth sport seats with red accents, red seatbelts, and red interior stitching to the upgraded wheel and tire package plus the suspension tweaks mentioned earlier.
Speaking of trims, packages and pricing, those interested in a 2019 86 can access up to $2,000 in additional incentives by visiting the 2019 Toyota 86 Canada Prices page at CarCostCanada, or if the new infotainment system in the 2020 model seems like the better bet, check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Toyota 86 Canada Prices page, which will tell you how to access factory leasing and financing rates from 3.49 percent, plus other manufacturer rebate information and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
The 2020 model replaces the TRD Special Edition with a new Hakone Edition, by the way, which comes painted in unique Hakone Green and rides on 17-inch bronze-coloured alloys, while the name “pays tribute to one of the greatest driving roads in the world,” says Toyota, but so far the only way to find out about it is to visit Toyota’s U.S. retail website (where I sourced this info) as the automaker’s Canadian site has no info about the 2020 86 (again, go to CarCostCanada for 2020 86 pricing, trims, etcetera).
I’ve mentioned a number of 86 competitors already, but the one that probably comes closest to matching Toyota’s sports coupe in layout is Nissan’s 370Z Coupe, and you might be surprised to learn it retails for only $30,498 in its most basic trim, and with that solves the 86’ most criticized performance issue with a 350 horsepower base 3.7-litre V6. Its tech will take you a dozen years back in time, however, so get ready to be deflated if you want hook your smartphone up to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or even stream a podcast via Bluetooth (the base model will only let you take calls that way), but the orange liquid crystal displays provide a cool ‘80s retro digital Seiko look if you’re into that sort of thing, and it’s hard to argue against all that straight-line power.
Before you run down to your local Nissan store and snap up a new Z, consider that it weighs 260 kilograms (573 lbs) more and feels like it, the Nissan doesn’t come with a rear bench seat so two (small) folks will need to stay home, and the 370Z’s fuel economy is nowhere near as efficient as the 86, Toyota achieving a claimed 9.9 L/100km in the city, 7.3 on the highway and 8.7 combined with the manual or 11.3 city, 8.3 highway 9.9 highway with its automatic, and Nissan only managing 12.6 city, 9.3 highway and 11.1 combined with the Z’s six-speed manual or 13.3, 9.3 and 11.5 respectively for its seven-speed auto.
Of course, most of us don’t base the purchase of a future sports car on its fuel-efficiency, but this day and age it’s certainly a bonus, while anyone with kids will appreciate those rear seats. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Toyota’s 86 practical, but it’s easier to live with than many of its two-seat competitors and its one-piece rear seatback even folds down to expand on a reasonably sized 196-litre (6.9 cubic-foot) trunk to boot. Add to that good expected reliability and the 86 is a good choice for anyone wanting a daily driver with much better performance than most anything else available under $30k.
Toyota’s 86 hasn’t changed much since being refreshed for 2017 as part of its Scion FR-S transformation, but it hardly needs any modification. In fact, when its many diehard fans caught wind that…
Toyota’s 86 hasn’t changed much since being refreshed for 2017 as part of its Scion FR-S transformation, but it hardly needs any modification. In fact, when its many diehard fans caught wind that it might be getting axed due to ever-slowing sales, the deafening outcry caused a U.S.-market Toyota spokesperson to declare that it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
“As [Toyota president] Akio Toyoda said at the reveal of the 2020 Supra, Toyota is committed to building exciting vehicles, including sports cars. The 86 has been in the Toyota family since 2013 and the plan is that it will continue to be a part of Toyota’s sports car line-up.”
A quick look at sale numbers makes it easy to understand why many were in doubt of its future, with 2017 to 2018 calendar year-over-year deliveries down 40.2 percent in Canada, which was only outdone—to the negative—by Fiat’s 124 Spider that saw a decline of 52.7 percent, while the 86’ near identical Subaru BRZ saw its sales drop by 23.3 percent, but then again it didn’t have as far to fall. Those two models actually switched places for the first time at the close of 2018, with more Canadians choosing the BRZ than 86, the final tally being 604 for Subaru and 550 for Toyota. This last number might not seem like much when compared to the 1,825 FR-S coupes Scion sold in its first full year of 2013, but once again considering that it hasn’t changed all that much since it debuted just prior, and then factoring in that all car sales have taken a beating against the growth of crossover SUVs, the 86 is actually holding up quite well.
Incidentally, the entire front fascia was modified for 2017, and its nicely detailed LED headlamps added for a more sophisticated look. Another change saw the front fender vent elongated and the “86” insignia redesigned and placed lower on the side panel, while revised taillight lenses filled with LEDs modernized the seven-year-old model’s look.
The interior has always been pretty nice, but the 2013, 2014 and 2015 model year FR-S examples I drove never let me inside with proximity-sensing keyless access, started via pushbutton, kept me warm via dual-zone automatic climate control, skinned their seats in leather trimmed with microsuede, or covered their primary instrument hoods and passenger-side dash sections in padded and stitched microsuede like this 2019 86, while this new model boasts other improvements as well.
Certainly there are some that petition Toyota for more power, but this lightweight 1,252-kilo (2,760-lb) rear-drive sports coupe makes the most of its 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque with one of the nimblest chassis’ in its price range.
Make sure to come back for our full road test review to be reminded of why sports car enthusiasts the world over keep the Toyota 86 close to their hearts, even if fewer are anteing up with $30k of their own to take one home. We’d certainly love to keep ours for as long as Toyota would let us.
If you feel like we do, check out CarCostCanada to learn about exact pricing for each trim, package and option, plus don’t forget to check if there are any rebates, and make sure to find out about the 86’s dealer invoice pricing that will help you get the best price when negotiating with your local Toyota dealer…
You’re looking at the only car in Ford’s lineup not scheduled for cancellation within the next two years. What a bizarre thought. Many correctly guessed that Lincoln’s MKZ and Continental would…
You’re looking at the only car in Ford’s lineup not scheduled for cancellation within the next two years. What a bizarre thought. Many correctly guessed that Lincoln’s MKZ and Continental would eventually get the axe, or for that matter Ford’s own C-Max (already gone) and Taurus, but eliminating blue-oval favourites like Focus and Fusion, not to mention Fiesta, is something few outside Ford’s inner circle would likely have considered. Yet here we are, and only time will tell whether this decision from Dearborn’s upper management is shortsighted or eventually revered as sage-like wisdom.
Of course, I’m happy they chose to save the Mustang amid such blue-oval carnage, but don’t think I missed the irony of it being the sole car in Ford’s lineup not to wear a blue-oval badge. In fact, there’s no mention of the automaker at all, from the galloping stallion within the front grille and “5.0” engine designation on the front fenders, to the big “GT” model insignia taking centre stage at the rear, you’d be hard pressed to know its parentage if the car weren’t so legendarily Ford.
Likewise inside, where the same airborne steed crests the steering wheel hub, and in my particular example “RECARO” takes claim to the sculpted front sport seats, there’s no sign of the brand behind this iconic symbol of American ingenuity.
The Mustang was the first pony car after all, and continues to lead its rivals by a wide margin in prestige and sales. In fact, it doesn’t just lead its small contingent of pony car challengers (pun intended), but out muscles every other sports up the sales chart car as well.
Of course, sales leadership is nothing new for Ford, with its boldly branded F-Series pickups dominating the light truck market, its Edge and Explorer collectively controlling the mid-size crossover SUV category, its Expedition outselling everything else in the large SUV segment, its Transit on top of the commercial van industry, and its Escape consistently amongst the top three compact crossover SUVs. If you’re shaking your head in disbelief, you owe it to yourself to drive one of the above, as each is worthy of its success.
Likewise, if you haven’t taken a Mustang for a spin in a while, you’re in for an even greater treat. And I didn’t mean spin a Mustang literally, being that it’s a lot more difficult to get the rear end sideways now that Ford has fitted a highly stable independent rear suspension (IRS) between the rear wheels.
That change came as part of an exhaustive 2015 model year redesign, and the move caused a great deal of controversy amongst diehard Mustang fans that loved the old car’s lighter weight live rear axle and its benefit to drag racing, but for the majority of sports car fans, who’d rather go fast around corners instead of just in a straight line, it was a gift from the mechanical gods, or at least a bunch of blue-oval engineers.
It was and still is the most hooked up Mustang in history, something I previously claimed in a 2015 Mustang GT Premium Convertible review, not to mention subsequent road tests of a 2016 Mustang Ecoboost Fastback, 2016 Mustang GT Convertible, and a 2017 Mustang GT Convertible, and something I attest to again with this 2018 Mustang GT Premium Fastback.
Take note the 2018 model saw a new optional 10-speed automatic in both turbocharged 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder trims and 5.0-litre V8-powered GTs, the former of which I recently tested in 2019 Premium Fastback guise, while this GT, priced from $47,288, and the base Mustang, which starts at just $28,988, come with a six-speed manual gearbox.
And by the way, I sourced all of my pricing at CarCostCanada, where you’ll find detailed trim, package and option pricing, as well as info on available rebates and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
Other 2018 updates include a meaner looking new grille that melds ideally with a more aggressive hood design, while stylish LED headlights are now standard across the entire Mustang lineup. Additionally, new LED taillights provide a fresh take on the Mustang’s classic triple vertical lens design, while these are underscored with a new bumper and lower fascia.
A number of changes improve the Mustang’s interior too, highlighted by upgraded materials quality including contrast-stitched leather-like soft-touch synthetics used for most of the dash top, each side of the centre console and much of its top surfacing, plus the door uppers, inserts and armrests, engine turned-style medium-grey metallic inlays across the entire instrument panel, some really upscale satin-metal detailing brightening key points throughout the cabin, and a new fully digital TFT primary gauge cluster.
The high-resolution display is plenty colourful, especially on the left dial where the temperature gauge shows a light blue for cool, aqua blue/green hue for medium and red for too hot. The same aqua gets used to highlight the area just below the tachometer needle, while just to the right an orange line represents the highest engine rev point from your most recent acceleration run (mine boasting 7,200) just ahead of all the red markings noting the engine’s no-go zone. The centre area houses a multi-information display that’s filled with functions.
Ford places a sweet looking set of analogue meters on top of the centre stack for oil pressure and vacuum (in turbocharged trims it gets substituted for a boost gauge), the latter useless unless you’re mechanically inclined, but cool looking for sure.
Just below is Ford’s Sync 3 touchscreen interface, which remains one of the better infotainment systems within the mainstream volume sector despite others catching up, complete with a clear rearview camera featuring dynamic guidelines, accurate navigation with detailed mapping, climate settings, apps and much more, while you can adjust the dual-zone automatic HVAC system’s climate settings from analogue switchgear just below too, or perform other functions from a slick row of aluminized toggles just underneath. It all melds retro and modern nicely, while all of the buttons, knobs and switches fit together well and are properly damped for a quality feel.
The Recaro-sourced front seats noted earlier are sensational, with excellent support in all the right places. When combined with the tilt and telescopic steering column I was able to adjust everything for near perfect comfort and control, which is critically important in a car that can go a quickly as this GT. I was actually surprised the rear seats had enough room for smaller sized adults, because most 2+2 sports cars don’t. Likewise the trunk is a decent size for a sports coupe, and includes 50/50 split-folding rear seatbacks for stowing longer cargo.
Practicality is one of the reasons the Mustang sells so well, however, drool-worthy styling aside, most ante up to this GT for its performance benefits. Certainly the previously noted base four-cylinder turbo is plenty quick for its low entry price, with 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on tap, the GT’s 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque is hard to argue against, nor is the soul-soothing gurgle emanating from its twin tailpipes.
Does it make sense to buy a car just for the sound of its exhaust? If so, the Mustang GT is probably your best choice this side of an Aston Martin Vanquish S. Of course, along with its delectable sounds the GT provides insanely fun straight-line acceleration, superb high-speed stability and sensational handling. It locks into its lane like no previous pony car, Mustangs feeling a lot lighter and nimbler than their competitive stable mates that comparatively seem to overdose on muscle with less finesse, which is the key reason I’d opt for a GT over one of its rivals. This choice is personal for sure, so I can appreciate why someone might choose a Challenger or Camaro, but sales numbers speak for themselves, and I believe the Mustang keeps winning the pony car popularity contest for good reason.
Still, it’s not perfect. Remember that row of aluminized toggle switches on the centre stack? The rightmost one swaps driving modes from a Normal mode that defaults automatically, to Sport Plus mode that merely takes a flick of the toggle upward. One more toggle up chooses Track mode, while another is optimized for the Drag Strip, or in other words it removes all traction and stability controls. Flick the toggle upwards again and you’ll access a mode for Snow/Wet conditions, before it all goes back to Normal, and you can start all over again as desired.
Sounds good so far, right? While seemingly smart on paper, in application this setup is anything but. The problem lies in execution, with Ford having chosen to only allow the system to toggle upwards. This means you’ll need to flick through all of the performance modes that remove traction and stability control when trying to optimize the driveline for slippery conditions. Crazy huh? What would happen if you were having some fun at high speeds in Sport Plus mode when coursing through a winding riverside road at lower elevations and then, when the road started to climb and snow appeared on the pavement, you needed to access Snow/Wet mode, forcing you to pass through Track and Drag Strip modes along the way? That might actually be quite dangerous. All Ford needs to do to remedy this is provide downward movement to the toggle, which would let you go from Sport Plus to Normal and then Snow/Wet mode in two easy steps. Seems like a simple enough idea to me.
Now, regarding Dearborn’s shortsighted or sage-like decision over its car lineup. I think we can all agree that the Mustang should stay, and not just because it’s legendary, iconic, brilliantly fun to drive, fabulous to look at, and so on. As mentioned a moment ago, similar accolades will be claimed by fans of the Mustang’s key competitors, which could be reason enough to keep the Challenger and Camaro in the respective fleets of Dodge and Chevrolet, but as usual truth lies in those just noted sales numbers along with the long-term viability of the various plants that produce them.
At the close of Q3 2018, year-to-date U.S. sales of this trio registered 61,619 units for the Mustang, 52,313 for the Challenger, and 39,828 for the Camaro, while Mustang deliveries in Canada were actually stronger per capita at 7,298 units, and Camaro beat out the Challenger north of the 49th with 2,320 units compared to just 1,966.
While Canadian pony car sales don’t look too bad compared to U.S. numbers, YTD Q3 2018 Mustang sales are actually down 4.6 percent compared to the same nine months of last year, whereas Camaro deliveries have dropped by 8.0 percent and the Challenger has lost a whopping 32.0 percent of year-over-year sales. Comparing calendar year 2017 sales numbers to modern-day highs forces us back to 2005 for the Mustang when it found 10,045 new buyers in Canada, which is a 16.9 percent drop compared to 2017’s 8,348-unit tally, while comparing Camaro’s high of 4,113 units in 2010 and 2,952-unit 2017 total reveals a popularity pullback of 28.2 percent. Interestingly, 2017’s total of 3,422 units is the newest Challenger’s all-time high, which would be a good sign if it weren’t for sales south of the border.
Ford sold 166,530 Mustangs in 2006 (still a far cry from the 607,568 they built in 1966), which makes its 81,866 total in 2017 seem paltry by comparison and represents a 50.8-percent pummeling over the past dozen years, while Chevy’s 88,249-unit Camaro tally in 2011 shows a less drastic fall of 23.0 percent thanks to 67,940 deliveries last year. When it comes to percentages the Challenger looks best, with its 66,365-unit all-time high merely 2.7 percent healthier than its 2017 number of 64,537.
Whether or not a pony car lives or dies in today’s SUV-crazed market might actually come down to where it’s built. The Mustang gets a pass thanks to its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly, a plant that will become even more available when the aforementioned Continental goes the way of the dodo in 2020. That Ford is planning to replace the Conti’s spot on the line in 2021 with an autonomous EV should mean there will be plenty of room for the Mustang to flourish well into the future, being that EVs are microscopically small sellers at best, but who really knows what the future will truly bring.
As for the Camaro, its Lansing Grand River Assembly plant appears to be on shaky ground due to sharing space with two discontinued Cadillacs, the ATS and CTS, so who knows where Chevy will build it if they retool the plant for new SUVs as is being suggested, or shutter it completely as some in the rumour mill are touting. The Challenger may be in even worse shape, mind you, being that it suffers from two challenges, sharing space and underpinnings with the Chrysler 300 that most expect will be cancelled (although a recent upsurge in sales might change FCA’s mind), and being built here in Canada where very real tariff issues and trade uncertainties are causing automakers to rethink their production strategies. No doubt even Ford hopes these two muscle car competitors survive, as competition is critical in the pony car paddock.
With such business out of the way, all that’s left to do is hightail it down to your Ford dealer in order to snap up one of the last few 2018 Mustangs left or one of the new 2019s. Being that you’ll probably find more of the latter, don’t expect to see my tester’s Triple Yellow paint, a $550 option that’s no longer on the 2019 menu. It’s not the only colour nixed from the new model year, with Lightning Blue having made way for Velocity Blue, and beautiful $450 Royal Crimson substituted for loud and proud Need for Green, a no-cost option.
You can add various stripes if you want, and “upgrade” the transmission to the aforementioned 10-speed auto for either year, but take note the GT’s six-speed manual is rev-matching capable for 2019, so you’ll sound like a pro when swapping cogs. I should also mention the GT’s variable active exhaust is now available with the 2.3-litre Ecoboost four, while California Special and Bullitt trim packages add style and substance, the latter available in special Highland Green paint, just like Steve McQueen’s original.
I won’t go into detail about all of the higher-end performance trims for either model year, but suffice to say the sky’s almost the limit when it comes to upgrading your future Mustang, so study up and ask lots of questions when visiting your local dealer. Trust me when I say that this pony car can dramatically change its persona from trim to trim, so you’ll want to figure out which version is best for you before deciding. Have fun making up your mind.
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery.…
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery. Driving up to a stoplight and one set of particularly elegant rear lamps caught my attention, followed by a captivating silhouette. My eyes immediately locked in, because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. All I knew was that it was gorgeous. Then I laughed when I realized I was looking at the current generation Infiniti Q60, a car that I’ve spent weeks with at a time on many occasion.
To be completely honest, I’m more than a bit jaded when it comes to cars. This job allows me to park some pretty impressive hardware in my driveway, and like I said a moment ago, every manner of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and the list goes on crowd the highways and byways of my well-to-do city, not to mention more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and McLarens, plus Bentleys and Rollers than those living anywhere outside of Beverly Hills or Dubai will ever get the chance to see. So factor that in when considering an Infiniti pulled my eyeballs. This is one stunning looking car, no matter the angle.
Another reason it caused me to look is rarity. The Q60 does pretty well compared to a Lexus RC, which it more than doubled in sales last year, but it’s not as strong a seller as say an Audi A5, a BMW 4 Series, or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. Both the 4 and A5 more than tripled the Q60’s deliveries last year, and as Q3 2018 closed BMW had sold more than four times as many 4s and Audi had moved more than five times as many A5s, the new segment leader (although we can’t say for sure how many C-Class Coupes get sold each month as Mercedes lumps their sales numbers together with C-Class Sedans). And just in case you’re feeling sorry for Infiniti, consider BMW sold more than 12 times as many 4s and Audi more than 15 times as many A5s, while Infiniti found three times as many Q60 buyers. Ouch!
While slower sales might be a negative to a company’s balance sheet, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for premium buyers who want exclusivity. Let’s face it. In Canada’s better neighbourhoods the luxury wares from the big German brands are ubiquitous, causing their owners to spend umpteen thousands more for bespoke paint, fancy wraps, carbon fibre add-ons and expensive wheels, so therefore the opportunity to get into a car as stunningly beautiful as the 2018 Infiniti Q60 for just $46,295, or this 3.0T Luxe AWD that starts at $53,295, is rare indeed (see all of the 2018 Q60’s trims and pricing at CarCostCanada, plus save on your purchase by researching possible rebates and receiving dealer invoice pricing).
The base model just mentioned is the 2.0T Pure, a trim line and engine that will disappear on the Canadian market for 2019. If you can still find one and don’t care as much about forward thrust as beauty (because the car still looks as nice) its 208 horsepower Mercedes-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is plenty fuel-efficient, but most Q60 buyers opt for Infiniti’s own 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that makes a much more formidable 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which I have to say is more than adequate, as long as you don’t try the Q60 Red Sport 400 with its same number of horses and 350 lb-ft of ready and willing torque.
That’s a car I’ve previously covered and hope to again soon, but its $61,295 price point might be a bit dear for some, hence the $55,295 Q60 3.0T Sport just below and the Q60 3.0T Luxe I spent a week with. Before I delve into Infiniti’s value proposition, which is always a key reason to consider the Japanese luxury brand, let’s talk driving dynamics.
First off, it’s an easy car to drive around town and on the open highway, as one might expect by looking at its classy chrome detailed exterior and luxuriously appointed leather, hardwood and bright metal lined interior. The ride is firm yet comfortable, its standard 19-inch machine-finished alloys on 255/40 all-season run-flats not helping the former, but its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension making sure of the latter. Infiniti has tuned the spring rates, dampers and stabilizer bars for a competent mix of compliant performance, and while not quite as capable as the Dynamic Digital Suspension included with the Q60’s two top-tier Sport trims, its agility around corners shouldn’t leave anyone wishing for too much more.
Speaking of more, Infiniti offers the Q60 with the complexity of four different steering systems depending on engine, trim and your willingness to pay. The base model I mentioned earlier comes with a vehicle-speed-sensitive hydraulic electronic power steering setup, while the car I tested features standard electronic power steering, yet is offered with Infiniti’s exclusive Direct Adaptive Steering, which replaces mechanical linkages with electronic switches and servo motors to save weight and further enhance the driving experience. Lastly, those two just noted Sport trims can be had with the optional direct steering system or come standard with a more performance-oriented fast ratio electronic power steering setup.
As with the suspension, I never felt any lack of response when pushing the Q60 hard through corners, something I did as often as opportunity allowed. Instead, all that was needed was a little tap on the sizeable 12.6-inch front and 12.1-inch rear discs to load up the front tires and the wonderfully tuned chassis took care of the rest. Infiniti includes standard Active Trace Control that actually enhances cornering feel by modulates braking and engine torque, and I’ve long been a fan of the brand’s rear-biased Intelligent all-wheel drive that sends all available twist to the wheels in back until tire slippage transfers up to 50 percent of torque forward to the front wheels.
Rear tire slippage can happen when getting hard on the go pedal, although you won’t notice any such torque transferring going on behind the scenes. All you’ll feel is immediate response from throttle input, its torque strongest between 1,600 and 5,200 rpm, which considering its aforementioned 295 lb-ft of twist is a nice broad spectrum that allows what seems like relentlessly quick acceleration.
It feels especially potent when Infiniti’s Drive Mode selector is switched to Sport mode. It was quick enough in the default Standard setting, while Snow, Eco and Personal modes are also included, but Sport is best for lickety quick shifts from the wonderfully engaging seven-speed automatic that snaps to attention at takeoff or alternatively quickly drops down through the gears to find the ideal cog for passing manoeuvres. Shift intervals are nice and crisp, but to be fair this isn’t the sportiest transmission in this class, yet it’s certainly one of the best for simultaneously providing quick responses and ultra-smooth operation.
Truly, Infiniti has really done a wonderful job with this gearbox, while along with its quick reacting performance comes Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) that makes you look and sound like a pro as the engine automatically blips to ideally match a chosen gear; a driver-adaptive learning algorithm that senses your driving style and then adjusts its shifting accordingly; Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) that gets upgraded with navigation system synchronization in Luxe trim and above, which adds GPS mapping data to the usual sensor-based system in order to automatically select shift points when the transmission is left to its own devices in Drive, selecting the best possible gear depending on uphill, downhill or curving road conditions; plus dual automatic transmission fluid coolers to keep it running smoothly and reliably.
I only wish steering wheel-mounted paddles were included with V6-powered cars, and not only with the aforementioned Sport trims. This more pampering Luxe trimmed example is certainly sporty enough to warrant paddle shifters, and I for one would feel a bit put off if I paid $50k-plus for a performance coupe and wasn’t able to enjoy the hands-on control that paddles provide.
That Eco mode mentioned earlier is a pet peeve of mine, and not because it strangely still doesn’t include an auto start/stop function. While it seems to work pretty well for saving fuel, it incorporates one of my most disliked features of any car made anywhere. The Active Eco Pedal pushes back on your right foot when attempting to apply more throttle than it feels is necessary to maximize fuel economy, and I loathe this so much that I purposely won’t use Eco mode. Of note, I often use Eco mode with Infiniti’s competitors, as I like saving fuel when driving in the city, but I find the Active Eco Pedal so disturbingly intrusive that I’d rather pay more for less driving interference. Go ahead and search for it online and you’ll quickly see my distaste for this device isn’t unique, and I’m willing to be the sooner Infiniti gets rid of it the faster people will want to purchase its cars. On the positive, this version doesn’t push back as aggressively as early versions, but it still feels as if you’re pushing down on a block of wood instead of a nicely progressive gas pedal.
Speaking of economy, the new 3.0-litre V6 is much more fuel-efficient than the previous 3.7-litre version, with my weeklong non-Active Eco Pedal usage measuring a combined 11.7 L/100km from mostly city and some highway driving, which comes fairly close to matching the claimed Transport Canada rating of 12.3 city, 8.6 highway and 10.7 combined. The soon-to-be-discontinued four-cylinder gets a thriftier 11.2 city, 8.5 highway and 10.0 combined rating, by the way, which really isn’t all that much better than the V6, while the brilliantly quick 400 horsepower Red Sport version is good for an estimated 12.5 city, 9.2 highway and 11.0 combined, which once again isn’t much of a penalty for its superb performance capability.
I’ll refrain from deep diving into every last feature and option available to Q60 buyers this time around, mostly because this review is coming out towards the end of the 2018 model’s availability and the 2019 will see plenty of changes to trims and feature sets as noted earlier, but suffice to say this current model year and the next one offer premium buyers loads of value. For example, a shortlist of standard features found on the base Pure model include such niceties as full LED headlamps, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, signed aluminum treadplates, genuine aluminum interior inlays, dual-zone auto HVAC, Infiniti InTouch dual display infotainment with an 8.0-inch top monitor and 7.0-inch lower touchscreen, a reverse camera, voice recognition, text message capability, satellite radio, a powered moonroof, eight-way powered front seats with power lumbar support, rear parking sensors, Scratch Shield self-healing paint, plus all the usual active and passive safety features.
Along with the more powerful engine, my 3.0T Luxe tester added remote start, auto-dimming side mirrors, a heatable power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, heatable front seats, memory for the steering wheel, seats, and side mirrors, soft perforated semi-aniline premium leather upholstery, accurate navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics, the navigation-synchronized adaptive shift control I mentioned earlier, real-time traffic info via SiriusXM Traffic, superb sounding 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround audio, a garage door opener, powered front seat torso bolsters, and more.
Infiniti added $750 worth of Majestic White Pearl paint, plus the $5,200 ProAssist-ProActive package that includes rain-sensing wipers, auto-leveling front headlamps with adaptive cornering, front parking sensors, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind-Spot Warning (BSW), and Back Collision Intervention (BCI) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which proved to be a useful collection of advanced driver assistance features that worked well without being overly sensitive.
All of this advanced equipment comes in an interior that’s beautifully finished with high-quality materials. Its dash-top is all soft touch synthetic, and stitched together with contrasting thread. Infiniti provides the same impressive treatment across the entire instrument panel, all the way down to the lower console where it turns into an even softer padded leather wrap. This even includes the glove box lid. Likewise, the door panels are finished in this comfortable leather-like material from top to just under the armrests, with contrast stitching throughout—only the lower door panels are finished in a harder plastic, which unfortunately is all too common in this class.
Infiniti enhanced the leather with a rich looking, substantive feeling dark grey hardwood, plus lots of attractive satin-finish aluminum. It’s all tastefully put together for a classy result, while some of its switchgear is edged in knurled metal for extra grip and a ritzier look. Even nicer, the previously noted Bose stereo includes gorgeous drilled aluminum speaker grates on the front doors. Yes, it’s easy to fall in love with the Q60 interior.
I’d like to see more graphical information within the gauge cluster’s multi-information display, or better yet a fully configurable TFT gauge package, but nothing like this is on offer yet. Instead, you get a simpler colour display between two analogue dials ahead of the driver, plus the aforementioned dual display infotainment system that provides more digital acreage than the majority of competitors. The top display is controlled by a rotating knob on the lower console, and the bottom display is a regular touchscreen, and while it all looks impressive initially, the latter lacks the ability to use tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls for the map, forcing you to execute such functions on the rotating dial. The latter function works reasonable well, it’s certainly not as intuitive as a regular touchscreen, which most of us are used to due to our smartphones and tablets.
The perforated leather driver’s seat was wonderfully comfortable, and offered good lateral support made better via powered torso bolsters. This said I’d rather they included four-way powered lumbar support instead, but at least the fore and aft design came very close to pushing in at the ideal spot on the small of my back. Also on the positive, Q60 ergonomics fits my body like a glove. Its powered steering column has plenty of reach, while the seat is as adjustable as I could ever need, thus optimizing my driving position for total control and comfort. As I said over and over again in my reviews, this isn’t always the case due to my unique long-legged, short torso body type.
Rear seating space is tight of course, which is par for the course in the personal coupe category, especially amongst compact D-segment models. This said I had about four inches in front of my knees when the driver’s seat was set for my five-foot-eight medium-build frame, plus ample room for my feet and about an inch above my head to the window glass. I had reasonable side-to-side room as well, measuring about three inches from my outside shoulder and four inches from the hips, while Infiniti does not provide a centre armrest in back, but a centre console includes a shallow tray and equally shallow cupholders. The seatbacks are fairly comfortable, but I wouldn’t want to sit in the back over a long haul.
Now that I’m kind of complaining, I’m still not a fan of foot-operated parking brakes, mostly because they get in the way. Then again with the Q60 it’s not as much of a problem because no manual gearbox is offered.
It would be silly to complain about the Q60’s small 246-litre (8.7 cubic-foot) trunk, because most personal coupes don’t offer a lot when it comes to cargo carrying capacity. Fortunately it’s nicely finished with carpeting all the way around, plus Infiniti filled the empty spare tire hole with a handy tool kit holder. The rear seat folds forward, but take note there’s no split at all, which limits cargo/passenger flexibility.
Perfect it’s not, but factor in all you get with the 2018 Q60, from its potent and efficient powertrains to its gorgeous styling and ultra-rich cabin, not to mention its impressive load of standard features and optional kit, and it’s a lot of personal luxury coupe for a very reasonable price range. On looks alone I could recommend it, but it’s so much more than just a pretty face. If you want a truly special sports coupe that you won’t see coming around every other corner, I recommend you pay special attention to the Infiniti Q60.
There’s a reason Lexus is considered a Tier 1 luxury brand along with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Strong sales numbers have a lot to do with it, but also its almost totally full range of models. For…
There’s a reason Lexus is considered a Tier 1 luxury brand along with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Strong sales numbers have a lot to do with it, but also its almost totally full range of models. For a relatively new brand, such a wide assortment of models and body styles means that some don’t sell well enough to make money, but instead provide important branding that trickles down to enhance higher volume cars and SUVs.
The IS series was Lexus Canada’s bestselling car last year with more than 3,000 deliveries. This is a polar opposite result from Lexus’ U.S. division sales that saw the more comfort-oriented ES series as the brand’s premium car populist last year and every year prior, by a long shot, whereas that larger front-wheel drive four-door model only found 2,153 buyers during calendar year 2016 in Canada. This shows that Canadians view Lexus in a sportier light than our friends to the south, but still not enough to snap up RC coupes en masse.
The stylish new two-door hardtop model only managed to pull in 526 luxury buyers last year, which while more positive than the 415 mid-size GS and 95 flagship LS luxury sedans sold during the same 12 months, is still a far cry from the 4,765 BMW 4 Series delivered through 2016.
Lexus’ big money was made on SUVs, the RX leading sales for the Japanese brand as well as Canada’s entire mid-size SUV segment at 8,147 units, whereas the fresher NX is already third in its class with 6,295 deliveries. Even the massive LX SUV outsold the RC at 748 units, while the sizeable GX also outshone RC numbers with 551 units down unpaved roads.
Just the same, we can’t discount the importance of sports models like the RC when it comes to brand image as noted earlier, and the beautiful Infrared painted 2017 RC 300 AWD F Sport parked in our garage this week pulls eyeballs almost as effectively as the same spec car did in Solar Flare orange last year. That vibrant colour isn’t available for the 2017 model year, although seemingly identical Molten Pearl can be had on the even rarer V8-powered RC F super coupe, this being one of the only changes for the regular RC model’s third year of existence.
Many thought the 2.0-litre RC Turbo, currently available in the U.S., would’ve been added to the Canadian lineup for 2017 in order to drop the price and hopefully attract more buyers, but Lexus appears to want its northernmost coupes fitted with all-wheel drive and that car is only pushed from the rear, so the $49,050 RC 300 AWD is base here in Canada.
It’s arguably better looking with the $4,700 as-tested F Sport Series 1 package (there is no Series 2 package for this model, in case you were wondering) that adds a new front fascia with a larger, bolder grille and unique lower fascia detailing with integrated fog lamps, as well as other exterior styling upgrades, plus unique 19-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40 performance tires (although my tester is fitted with winters), an adaptive sport suspension, a powered tilt and telescopic sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, rain-sensing wipers, front sport seats, NuLuxe pleather upholstery with contrast stitching, memory for the driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, a fully configurable LFA-style TFT instrument cluster, Lexus’ touchpad Remote Touch Interface for the infotainment system, navigation, active sound control, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The only other notable option is a dealer-added F Sport performance exhaust system integrated within a fabulous looking rear bumper diffuser (for about $2,050 and change). Lexus claims the upgraded exhaust reduces backpressure for increased torque, which might be noticeable given the RC 300 AWD’s modest engine output.
Despite its considerable 3.5 litres of displacement, the base V6 makes just 255 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque for fairly relaxed performance due to the coupe’s considerable 1,765-kilo (3,891-lb) curb weight (it’s actually a bit heavier with the F Sport gear). Making it feel even more comfort-biased is a six-speed autobox in a segment filled with snappier eight-speed auto and dual-clutch alternatives.
So how does it feel? I’ve told you too much already, but don’t worry as I’ve got a lot more to say in the upcoming road test review. Make sure to check back for the full story soon…
We drove the 2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t AWD Coupe last fall, and while a wonderfully quick, impressively refined and beautifully sculpted two-door hardtop it was nowhere near the car this Q60 Red Sport 400…
We drove the 2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t AWD Coupe last fall, and while a wonderfully quick, impressively refined and beautifully sculpted two-door hardtop it was nowhere near the car this Q60 Red Sport 400 is.
The Red Sport 400 is a BMW M4 for those who prefer subtler styling and less aggressive dynamics. It’s plenty quick with 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque driving both axles, and its seven-speed automatic rows through the gears fast enough for all but adrenaline addicted track stars, and while it’ll carve up a canyon as well as most super coupes it does so without punishing occupants from a harsh ride.
The $60,990 model is one of three Q60 Coupe trims, the base car sporting a Mercedes-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and the 3.0t we tested previously equipped with Infiniti’s new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 capable of 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
No matter the powertrain every new Q60 drives all four wheels through a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic with rev-matched downshifts, the Red Sport 400 also receiving paddle shifters for greater control during performance driving. The AWD system defaults to rear-drive when no wheel slippage occurs, or can send up to 50 percent of its torque frontward when required.
If you’ve driven a Q50 Red Sport 400 (the four-door model that we reviewed last year) you’ll be familiar with this two-door version thanks to beautiful blue-hued glossy carbon inlays throughout, and plenty of high grade contrast-stitched leather on the instrument panel, lower console, door skins, and of course the seat upholstery, the latter of which are fabulously contoured sport seats with plenty of adjustment, while the foot pedals are appropriately formed of metal.
The brand’s dual-display infotainment system resides on the centre stack too, the top monitor controlled by a knurled metal rotating knob on the lower console and the bottom display a touchscreen. The electroluminescent primary gauges feature a colour multi-information display at centre too.
We’ll go into detail about Infiniti’s digital displays as well as the Q60 Red Sport 400’s other features as part of a full road test review coming up soon, while also delving into its assortment of active safety gear that includes dynamic cruise control, lane keeping assist, and more, but most importantly we’ll give you a play-by-play account of this car’s extreme performance.