Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2009 Nissan Maxima

In 1989, Nissan introduced the third-generation Nissan Maxima -- arguably the most important model in the 32-year history of this car in the U.S. Why? Because of a little 4DSC sticker it plastered on the rear side windows.

Car geeks know this stands for Four-Door Sports Car -- a bold claim at the time, but one Nissan backed up with a sport-tuned suspension and a 190-horsepower V-6, mated to a five-speed manual. With our current crop of 260-horse Accords and Camrys that may not seem like much, but back then it was enough to get the Maxima SE whispered along with the likes of Benz and BMW.

Perhaps Merc and Bimmer comparisons are what Nissan is aiming for now, with its all-new, seventh-generation Maxima. The 2009 Maxima represents a return to the car's 4DSC heritage -- at least that's what Nissan marketers hope to invoke with the addition of the very same stickers on the rear windows.

Liquid Motion

At first glance, it seems clear the 2009 Maxima designers are a breed apart from the ones that birthed the avant garde, but feminanonymous 2004-2008 Maxima.

Nissan's new flagship sedan is built upon an all-new front-drive "D platform" that is shorter between the wheels and overall, yet boasts a wider front and rear track. Why then does it look larger and meaner? Because of a butched-up styling language that Nissan calls "liquid motion." Just look at the aggressive stance and wide, upright grille work. Then notice the broadly spaced, asymmetric head and taillamps and sculpted muscular lines down the sides and hood. No slab-sided antiseptic styling here; the 2009 Maxima channels the GT-R and Infiniti G35 to great effect.

Though the chassis and sheetmetal are new, performance will come from the standard 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve VQ-series V-6 engine that powered the previous-generation Maxima and nearly everything else in the Nissan fleet. This revised engine is now rated at 290 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 35 horsepower and nine lb-ft of torque over the 2008 Maxima engine. Will such impressive output make it a torque-steering beast? Nissan engineers say no and claim to have implemented appropriate countermeasures.

On the handling side, Nissan has outfitted the Maxima with aluminum intensive MacPherson strut suspension up front and a separate spring and shock multilink setup in the rear. There are various chassis reinforcements throughout the car, including a front strut tower brace and, for Sport/Premium package-equipped models, a rear seat panel that is said to improve torsional rigidity by 17 percent.

All 2009 Maximas come in two trim levels, 3.5 S and 3.5 SV, and are equipped with a revised version of the Nissan's standard Xtronic CVT with manual mode and available paddle shifters. A new "Ds mode" (drive sport) also has been added to the CVT for 2009. No official word yet, but you can bet a six-speed manual Maxima SE version is in the works if Nissan is bold enough to put the 4DSC sticker in the window.

No comments:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner