Short of the 350Z, Nissan's flagship vehicle is the Maxima. Over the years,the Maxima grew from the brand's mainstay midsize fighter to a near full-size luxury sedan with a bit of sporting flair. This growth was mostly derived from the past two generations of Altima, which essentially took the place of the Maxima and stole the show with its impressive performance and affordable price. However, Nissan wants to put the Maxima back on track as its headlining sedan, with a bold new look and greater emphasis on its performance heritage. The new car is scheduled to arrive in 2009.
Though more recent Maximas had more power and racier looks, enthusiasts often recall its third generation most fondly. Between 1989 and 1994, this particular generation in "SE" trim set the bar in this segment for sportiness and performance. It was available with a five-speed manual, turbine-style alloy wheels, white faced gauges, limited slipdifferential and sports tuned suspension, and was adorned with a little sticker that read "4DSC", which is short for 4-Door Sports Car. This is the attitude that Nissan wants to instill into the next generation Maxima, but they're going to change things up with a daring new exterior.
Described by a Nissan insider as, "Unlike anything we've ever done before", this new Maxima will be more aggressive than ever, and will feature a coupe-like shape, similar to the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The car will also draw from the Z and the forthcoming GT-R in order to strengthen links to these performance machines. It'll be interesting to see what results, as the current Maxima is a pretty daring looking vehicle on its own, and its curved, low roof line could arguably be described as coupe-like.
The car will most likely be shown first as a concept vehicle this winter alongside the production-ready GT-R and a new version of the Z in celebration of the brand's 50th anniversary.
One question that enthusiasts have already started asking is whether or not the new Maxima will go rear-wheel drive, like the original Datsun 810 and the first Maximas. While this would make a tasty treat to battle Pontiac G8s and Chrysler 300s with, it will most likely stay a front-wheel drive vehicle in order to keep it from eating into the sales of Infiniti's entry-level, rear-drive G35 sedan.
Besides the legendary VQ-series engine, it's also worth noting that this brand new Maxima will be the car to debut Nissan's brand new Alliance turbodiesel engine.
I think I might know some people involved with this one at Nissan. Good to hear. Just always wonder how the general public will accept it. Most people buy their Camrys and Corrollas like refrigerators- white, off-white, or almond.
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