By on July 12, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima (8 of 23)

Nissan may consider building a NISMO variant of its Maxima sedan based on sales of its SR model, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.

Initial sales of the Maxima have been relatively strong so far, and Nissan said it expects 20 percent to 25 percent of its sales to be of the sportier SR model.

A performance version of the Maxima would be welcome news considering the model was nearly killed off four years ago.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a NISMO version of the Maxima may get a horsepower bump — although it’s unclear where the boost would come from. The Maxima currently sports a 3.5-liter V6 and, short of pulling an engine out of thin air, it would likely stay that way.

In reality, the NISMO version may be a more aggressive handling and appearance package for the Maxima, which may help it realize its “four-door sports car” moniker our managing editor Mark Stevenson said it fell short of last month.

Nissan’s NISMO division, a former racing outfit turned into branding mechanism, may expand in coming years to capture enthusiast interest a la BMW’s M division and Mercedes’ AMG group. Currently, Nissan sells NISMO versions of its Juke, 370Z and GT-R — although who wouldn’t like to see the NISMO Leaf in dealerships?

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34 Comments on “Nissan May Be Considering NISMO Maxima...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    Still a midsize cabin with wide hips to put out (barely) fullsize dimensions. At least it’s about 1 inch longer than the Altima unlike the 2014s that were shorter in length than the “smaller” Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      An inch longer and an inch wider than the Altima, but they’re basically the same car, with the same track and wheelbase. The only real difference now is that the V6 is no longer available on the Altima, so people are buying the Maxima to get 300 HP instead of the 180 HP in the Altima. Like the Fusion/MKZ the main difference is the engine (and price). Copying Lincoln might not be a smart strategy.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Where did you hear the V6 Altima was no more? I just looked and there are 2015 V6 Altimas out there for sale.

      • 0 avatar

        No…you can totally still get the V6 on the Altima. That’s partially *why* the Maxima makes less sense. But I think this new version has really managed to distinguish itself on features, if not its controversial design. It looks and feels quite a bit more upscale than the nicest Fusion, Accord, Optima, 200 or any other mid-sized sedan, putting it squarely at an entry-level-luxury price-point. There’s talk that it competes with the Q50 or even the Q40, but I think those cars are for a different kind of buyer.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          But instead of an Infiniti auto transmission, the CVT equipped NISMO Maxima will come with two gilded Wonka tickets for re-manufactured CVT drive trains from Jasper. “Instead of the uncertainty of the Nissan dealer experience,” sniffed Julie Hemp, recently displaced GM executrix by way of Toyota, “(w)e thought we would exchange the uncertainty of a fungible transmission with the certainty of 2 free transmission replacements.” New Jasper spokesperson, Caitlyn Jenner, advised, “The only thing that makes a CVT reliablemire reliable from the factory is a Jasper clean-room.”

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          But instead of an Infiniti auto transmission, the CVT equipped NISMO Maxima will come with two gilded Wonka tickets for re-manufactured CVT drive trains from Jasper. “Instead of the uncertainty of the Nissan dealer experience,” sniffed Julie Hemp, recently displaced GM executrix by way of Toyota, “(w)e thought we would exchange the uncertainty of a fungible transmission with the certainty of 2 free transmission replacements.” New Jasper spokesperson, Caitlyn Jenner, advised, “The only thing that makes a Nissan CVT more reliable from the factory is a Jasper clean-room.”

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The biggest difference between the two is interior quality and noise isolation. The Altima 3.5 feels like a rental penalty box with a really strong engine, because that’s what it is. The Maxima, especially this new version (which I had a chance to drive last week), feels a lot more upscale. The interior isn’t luxury-car good but it’s one of the better efforts from a mainstream brand, and the car is quiet and feels reasonably expensive.

        What I just don’t get about this iteration is that to get the best suspension tuning (SR) you have to give up the sunroof. What are they thinking?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lol, whaaat? All Maximas should be sunroof as standard, unless you delete it. Why is a sporty suspension even related to a sunroof option!?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I wish I knew. The salesman was flummoxed by it and complained he had already lost a sale. (Who knows if it was actually the equipment level or the $2000 ADM the shady dealer was demanding.)

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            A sunroof was standard on the 1st and 2nd gen Maxima the 1st gen being the Datsun 810/Maxima as well as the 3rd gen 89-93 4dr Sports Car. Pre-Infinity this was Datsun/Nissan’s top model so it made sense that it would be a standard feature in that era.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Interesting, considering how much Edmunds absolutely hated the new Maxima SR.

    Maybe they put the 3.7 under the hood, but is it worth the investment to make the Maxima AWD? Probably not.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      If they want the Maxima to be something different then AWD would be a good way to go.

      The NISMO 370Z as the article states is just suspension and other tweaks (brakes, areo, exhaust), its not what M or AMG does when they pump out more HP in addition to the sporty bits. Thus a NISMO Maxima would be all show no go I’d bet. This car just came back on the market so there is no need to boost sales thru a special model yet.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ok but – let’s add an AWD system to a Maxima, which is kinda pricy already. Then we’re well over crossing the line into the Q50.

        The Maxima is squeezed by so many products above from Infiniti, and below from the Altima. It’ll stay right where it is.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      One would think that it would be quite easy to just drop in the AWD system from the Pathfinder since they share a platform and a bunch of other components now. It wouldn’t exactly be Acura’s “SH-AWD” system or a rear-biased Torsen differential system like zee Germans use, but it’d at least differentiate the car from the normal versions and probably dial out some of the understeer. Plus no more torque steer!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There’s already an AWD setup available for this platform. Dropping it into a Maxima should be cheap and easy enough.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        But the Maxima Platinum is already pushing $40,000. With AWD it’ll be what, $43,000?

        That’s Q50 3.7 AWD Premium money. So a premium option (AWD) would only make sense on the lower trim levels, which doesn’t make sense for Nissan to offer.

  • avatar

    I said the same thing.
    Why is there no AWD MAXIMA GT-R?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Probably shows that if enthusiasts actually bought performance cars instead of ogling cars like the Ford ST models and then walking out of the showroom with a Ford Escape, we would have more performance cars.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Mutton dressed as lamb..

    How about SPEC V Sentra in the coming refresh? No idea where the boost would come from but Sentra needs more punch.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    If NISMO stands for Nissan Motorsports, does HOMO stand for Honda Motorsports?

    Yeah, it’s an old joke but I couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    What an ugly, bloated looking car!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Memo to Nissan

    Re: NISMO Maxima

    Add power (supercharging/turbocharging something…) make it 300+ hp and offer a 6 speed manual. Then cancel all Maxima trims that aren’t NISMO.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It would be easier and cheaper for them to just cancel it.

      Back when 250-260 HP was exotic and the used car market was awash with $20K 300WHP BMWs and Infinitis the Maxima concept made sense. Back in 04, the Maxima was a significantly better car than the Altima. Altima felt hollow and cheap. Now not so much. Hell, for what this would cost I think you can get a “Q50 Select” aka brand new G37 which is now called the Q40. Maxima serves no purpose. Hurts to say as I owned and loved 2.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Well, the Q40 should only be around another year I’d imagine so then you have a more significant jump to the Q50. but I’m completely agreed – also with the Altima still offering V6 power the Maxima is still sitting in a strange place and is a hard sell even considering better fti&finish and feature content. Possibly adding AWD could be a difference-maker here, but I think they only way it works is if they hold out until the Q40 is discontinued.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If they do this, with the super/turbocharge – then the Maxima is on equal power grounds with the 370Z. Would they really do that?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Personally as it stands the Maxima has no reason to exist. I feel that the development dollars that were spent on the current car were wasted.

        The Maxima should have become a Nismo trim level of the Altima, it would have accomplished what they have now for cheap.

        @CoreyDL, the 370z doesn’t have a backseat, who cares if the power level is similar?

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Call me cynical, but isn’t it a given that ‘Carmaker X’ ALWAYS “considers” making a performance version of every single model? And then that hypothetical excitement becomes “welcome news”? I think the kids are calling this ‘clickbait’?

  • avatar

    “capture enthusiast interest a la BMW’s M division and Mercedes’ AMG group. Currently, Nissan sells NISMO versions of its Juke, 370Z and GT-R — although who wouldn’t like to see the NISMO Leaf in dealerships?”

    Yeah, given the choice I would prefer Maxima NISMO over BMW M and Mercedes AMG and even Tesla. I am on the board.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Nissan has turned into a really substandard brand, with awful exterior and interior design, and poor driving dynamics, catering more with each passing year to those who would have bought Hyundais (with the average Hyundai being a better vehicle, $ for $, than its Nissan counterpart) in the past.

    Nissan is like a bad mashup of Japanese design gone wrong (ala Mitsubishi) with French reliability/durability.

    What’s particularly sad about this is that Nissan once produced very competitive (and compelling) vehicles in many segments – I’m thinking of the 1990 era Maxima and 1990s era Sentra SRS stick.

    I anxiously await for the Nismo Le Car in the coming years.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I owned several Nissans in the 80s and 90s, 3 Sentras and a Stanza…I thought of them as slightly cheaper alternative to Honda and Toyota, but competitive with those brands. Now I see Nissan as more of a Mitsubishi competitor, catering to sub-prime borrowers.

    Definitely not on my shopping list.

    That little sliver of black in the c-pillar makes me think of wild eye makeup that some women wear, with a slash of mascara out from their eyelids.

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