Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The New Nissan Maxima

Make way for the all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima. The car which Nissan has branded as "the true 4-Door Sports Car" looks family sedan from the side, but a bit more aggressive from the front.

A seemingly intentional split personality, Nissan North America VP and General Manager Al Castignetti said, "Maxima has always enjoyed a certain ‘duality’ – a unique fusion of sedan practicality with the soul of a sports car." He went on to say, "In recent years, however, competitive vehicles have caught up with Maxima in ‘sporty’ looks and performance. For 2009, Nissan is reclaiming its rich 4-Door Sports Car heritage with an infusion of emotional design, driving excitement and advanced technology – creating a silky, stimulating sports sedan like no other on the road today."

This "duality" did have some significant effect on the design of the new Maxima. Originally, engineers were planning on puting together a Maxima that focused more on family. But inspired by the development of the GT-R, engineers decided instead to build a car that could be called "the best performing front engine, front-wheel, drive car in the world."

To accomplish this, the design team honed in on a redesign of the exterior -including LED taillights and those shark fin style headlights- significant cockpit improvements, and increases in performance.

Nissan will offer two models of the Maxima, the S and SV, each with a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 as standard. This petrol-burner has a bump of 35 horsepower over last year, with estimated ratings of 290 hp and 261 ft-lb of torque. The '09 shows a modest 9 ft-lb increase over the '08 model year. Engine is mated to a redesigned Xtronic CVT with available paddle-shifters, to replicate the feel of total control. This is a blow to the Maxima, as it might be necessary to have a full manual transmission if they want to compete with the Impreza and Lancer. 18-inch and 19-inch wheels are available as well. The Maxima gets 19mpg in the city, and 26mpg on the highway. This figure is slightly worse than the current model Honda Accord V6.

Optional packages include a sport package with the bigger wheels, tuned suspension, rear spoiler, Xenon headlights, and the paddle shifters. A premium package adds a dual panel moonroof, and several improvements found in the sport set (heated seats, Xenon, heated mirrors, and more). Add on the tech package, and you get a hard drive navigation system, 9.3gb Music Box system, and rearview monitor.

Available for purchase shortly, the all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima will hit showroom floors across the States beginning this summer.

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