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Monday, July 13, 2015

Nissan Is Planning a Nismo-Tuned Maxima, But Why?


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

When Nissan debuted the third-generation Maxima for the 1989 model year, the Japanese automaker dubbed it a “four-door sportscar.” Through the years, that title has been used on the full-size Nissan family sedan as it has morphed into its different iterations, but never was it taken to mean being as hardcore as a Z or GT-R. Then why would Nissan do something crazy like plan a Nismo version of the Maxima?
According to Left Lane News, the automaker has confirmed that a Nismo-tuned version of the Maxima is being planned. It would be the top-tier trim, positioned above the luxury-minded Premium trim.

Currently, the SR trim is meant to be the performance-oriented option, with a stiffer suspension, but no power bump. The Nismo Maxima would likely get a version of the current 3.5-liter V6, tuned to generate more than the current 300-horsepower output.

There is also the possibility of the 3.7-liter V6 used in many Infiniti vehicles. According to the report, executives warn bringing over the engine from the luxury brand would require some re-engineering, as the 3.7-liter was designed for Infiniti’s rear-wheel drive platforms—not a front-wheel drive car like the Maxima.
Which brings us to the main point—if the Maxima is a front-wheel drive, full-size sedan, with a very-un-sporty continuously variable transmission (CVT), why go on with this “four-door sportscar” charade, let alone do a Nismo version? Unfortunately, if Nissan can make money doing this, they will, even if it means diluting the Nismo brand in the process.

The loose interpretation of performance vehicle is a game more accustomed to BMW M or Mercedes-Benz/AMG. For a FWD sedan, the Maxima is quite composed in hard cornering, and could even be described as “fun to drive,” but sportscar it is not. It is disappointing to see Nissan has started to follow the playbook of the Germans when it comes to pimping out their performance brands. No word on pricing or availability yet, but with the Platinum trim currently fetching around $40,000, expect the ill-conceived Nismo version to cost around $45,000.