Which is better? Q or F?
If you're in the market for a new luxury performance coupe for less than $100,000 but don't want any of the three German options, the Audi RS5, BMW M4, or Mercedes-AMG C63, you have just two options: the 2020 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 and 2020 Lexus RC F. Both offer two doors, four seats, powerful engines under the hood, eye-catching styling, and a mid-five-figure price tag.
While they undercut their German rivals in terms of pricing, both have their own unique attributes and flaws. The Q60 and RC F cater to a similar customer, but there are subtle nuances between the two that might draw in different buyers. Here's how the highest-performing Q60 and RC stack up.
As both cars are easy on the eye, choosing between them comes down to personal preference. The Q60 features an elegant design with flowing lines and gentle curves, giving the impression of movement even when the car is sitting still. There isn't an unattractive angle on it, though we'd like to see Infiniti offer an option to delete all of the exterior chrome.
As for the RC F, it goes about its business more loudly with highly angular and aggressive styling. The hourglass-shaped Lexus spindle grille is a devisive styling feature, but we think it adds to the drama. In the rear, the RC F looks far more motorsport-inspired with an aggressive diffuser and quad tailpipes. Simply because we believe the Q60 is less polarizing, we'd give it the edge in design.
When spending this much on a luxury coupe, buyers care about the quality of the interior. Here, a clear winner emerges. Neither cabin looks particularly modern next to the European competitors but the RC F's interior feels more premium than the Q60's. Infiniti has improved the cabin for 2020 with carbon-fiber trim and paddle shifters ripped straight out of a Nissan GT-R, but the leathers and other materials feel like they belong in a $40,000 Maxima, not a near-$60,000 luxury coupe. The RC F boasts more robust buttons and switches, more attractive instrumentation, finer leathers, and far sportier seats. In terms of cabin design, Lexus scores the win.
Rather than declare a winner for best infotainment, we'll be choosing the system we hate the least. Both Infiniti's Intouch and Lexus' Enform infotainment systems are remarkably tricky to use. The Infiniti system uses two touchscreens, which look as though they came out of separate cars built in different years. The top screen is exclusively for navigation and phone mirroring, making its inclusion seem slightly unnecessary, but at least it allows drivers to view the map and radio controls at the same time.
Visually, the RC F's infotainment looks superior, but the Lexus trackpad controller is highly imprecise, making you continuously miss menu items on the screen. Infiniti scores a slight edge because it at least offers better control, and the 2020 model features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to improve usability. The 2020 RC F only offers Apple compatibility, but Android is coming for the 2021 model year.
The Q60 Red Sport 400 and RC F have differing approaches to performance. Powering the Q60, you get a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 mated to a seven-speed automatic delivering 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel-drive comes standard, but all-wheel-drive is available for $2,000. The RC F uses a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8, shelling out 472 hp and 395 lb-ft.
Infiniti's Q60 makes a terrific howl, but it in no way stacks up to the deafening roar of the Lexus V8. The Red Sport also fails to match the RC F's 0-60 mph time, completing the sprint in 4.5 seconds compared to the RC F at 4.2 seconds. Without a limited-slip differential, the Q60 is completely outclassed by the RC F, which is more enjoyable to drive.
Few buyers who choose a coupe over a sedan care about practicality, but these cars are surprisingly versatile in different ways. The Q60 offers a usable back seat with a generous 32.4 inches of rear legroom, while the RC F struggles with only 27.3 inches. Lexus does make up for this deficiency in the trunk though, with 10.1 cubic feet of space available to the Infiniti's tight 8.7 cubic feet.
With two fewer cylinders, the Q60 is more efficient at 20/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined. The RC F's thirsty V8 drinks fuel at a rate of 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined.
Should pricing be your number one concern, there is a clear winner here. The Infiniti Q60 starts at just $57,150, while the RC F rings in at $64,750. Even if you choose to load the Infiniti up with options and the optional AWD system, you'll barely surpass the base price of the Lexus. By the time you go mad with the RC F's options list, you can configure the car to over $90,000. Admittedly, the RC F does offer improved performance and more luxury features than the Q60, so judging if it's worth the price increase is a matter of personal opinion.
If price were no object, we'd lean towards the Lexus RC F for its wonderful V8 engine alone. But price is rarely a throwaway consideration for most buyers, and the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport jumps off the page as a performance luxury bargain available for under $60,000.