Nissan took the wraps off its next-generation “4-Door Sports Car” at the 2015 New York Auto Show. The all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima is 1.3 inches lower and 2.2 inches longer than the previous-generation model. The radical new look is highlighted by Nissan’s “V-Motion” front-end styling motif, “boomerang” taillights, unique kick-up rear roof pillars, and a floating roof appearance. The model lineup expands to include SL, SR, and top-line Platinum trim levels in addition to the existing S and SV grades.
A substantially revised 3.5-liter V6 puts out 300 horsepower, and is offered solely with new, performance-oriented XTronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Nissan says the CVT has a wider ratio range, which allows for quicker acceleration from a stop, and the brand’s D-Step shifting logic for a more responsive feel in spirited driving. Nissan estimates the new powertrain will achieve fuel economy of 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg in highway driving.
A new Drive Mode Selector allows the driver to switch between “Normal” and “Sport” modes. Sport mode adjusts throttle response, transmission tuning, steering feel, and Active Sound Enhancement tuning for a sharper, more-aggressive feel. Among the other new technology features are Remote Engine Start; standard NissanConnect multimedia system with navigation; and Active Ride Control, which uses targeted brake applications to maximize the vehicle ride quality and composure when encountering sharp bumps or pavement undulations.
Available safety features include Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning, and Driver Attention Alert.
The 2016 Nissan Maxima is slated to go on sale in early summer 2015, with a projected starting price of $33,235 with destination charge.
The previous-generation Maxima was caught in something of a brand-portfolio no-man’s land. It was more expensive than a mainstream Nissan Altima, but didn’t offer a substantial bump in luxury or styling presence, or the true athleticism promised by its “4-Door Sports Car” moniker. At the higher end, the Maxima was upstaged in swagger and performance by the pricier Infiniti G37 and Q50. The daring new look of the redesigned 2016 Maxima should help this accessible sports sedan stand out and get its groove back. Hopefully, the driving personality of the new Maxima has received a similar shot of testosterone.