Take it to the Max twice
Nissan is giving its luxury sedan a tougher profile, JAMES STANFORD writes from New York
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.