Take it to the Max twice

Nis­san is giv­ing its lux­ury sedan a tougher profile, JAMES STAN­FORD writes from New York

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

AMAXIMA pre­sented at the New York Mo­tor Show sug­gests Nis­san wants to give its soft lux­ury cruiser a new, hard edge. The Max­ima, to be pro­duced in the United States, is ex­pected to look dif­fer­ent from the Max­ima to be made in Ja­pan and im­ported to Europe and Aus­tralia. That car is tipped to be rolled out at the Bei­jing Auto Show next month.

Though the two Max­i­mas will look dif­fer­ent, some de­sign cues will be shared.

The Aus­tralian Max­ima will be built on the same base as the Amer­i­can car. It is also ex­pected to have the same up­graded 3.5-litre quad cam V6 en­gine.

Nis­san Amer­ica talked up the new Max­ima chas­sis in New York, say­ing it is much sportier with firmer sus­pen­sion and more di­rect steer­ing.

That’s a dra­matic de­par­ture from the cur­rent Max­ima, which is set up for com­fort rather than driv­ing ex­cite­ment.

Nis­san Amer­ica says it has spent a lot of time test­ing the Max­ima at Ger­many’s Nur­bur­gring cir­cuit.

‘‘A num­ber of prod­uct changes came di­rectly from the Nur­bur­gring tri­als, in­clud­ing en­hance­ments to the brak­ing and trans­mis­sion sys­tems,’’ Nis­san North Amer­ica vi­cepres­i­dent Al Castignetti says.

‘‘We’ve con­tin­ued to re­fine the D plat­form, cre­at­ing what we be­lieve is now one of the best-per­form­ing front-wheel-drive cars in the world, one that is far above other fron­twheel-drive ve­hi­cles in its class,’’ Castignetti says.

The new Max­ima has an evolved ver­sion of the 3.5-litre V6 in­tro­duced in the 350Z coupe last year.

It has been tweaked to gen­er­ate an ex­tra 26kW for 216kW and 12Nm more torque for 354Nm.

The new sedan will con­tinue to use the step-less con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic trans­mis­sion (CVT) in­tro­duced for the pre­vi­ous model, though it has been up­graded.

The new gear­box, which, like all CVTs, con­stantly changes gear ra­tios for the op­ti­mum torque de­liv­ery, has been sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved. It now has shift pad­dles on the steer­ing wheel.

There is also a Ds sport mode with en­gine brak­ing.

The sus­pen­sion has new shock ab­sorbers and alu­minium sus­pen­sion links to help han­dling, and the en­gine is lower in the en­gine bay for an im­proved cen­tre of grav­ity.

No longer a soft touch:

the Nis­san Max­ima’s ag­gres­sive new look is shown off in New York.

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