Exciting news from Nissan today: the announcement of a new Concept Sports Sedan for the Detroit NAIAS from mid-January.
The teaser concept is widely believed to be the next Maxima. The dark red/auburn colored image is the only official teaser from the Nissan - all others are speculative renders exclusive to CarRevsDaily.com
Nissan has avoided a nameplate for the concept car, but this shape is likely to be in stores by Summer 2014 - perhaps even with a NISMO model alongside at launch.
Nissan does reference the recent IDx and IDx NISMO concepts in this teaser release - which shows promise for the production car's 4DSC credentials.
The current Maxima still brings large-car space, lots of power, and a great value proposition for shoppers. Since mid 2012, the current Maxima has featured dark wheels as an option, and a few other style enhancements to an aging package.
The current Maxima lost many sports car fans with the loss of its manual-transmission option. A huge, smooth and potent V6, manual gearbox, and standard leather had previously been 4DSE tent-poles for many generations - leaving some buyers to shift to Infiniti's rear-drive platforms.
Nissan wants these dudes and dude-ettes back. To entice them, the Nissan concept Sports Sedan wears a next-gen style of swept-back surfaces melded with deep, round creases. The shape should bring a lower, wider and cooler appearance for the Maxima on the roads versus its Altima sibling.
The concept teaser image from Nissan also shows some cool new LED styling up front, with four pods of light visible.
The next Maxima looks sharp, low and aggressive in these previews, which base the roofline and proportions on a brief glimpse of a future design shown to the press at a recent Nissan event.
Even with the most likely scenario of a front-drive, front-engine platform - the styling exercise shows real progress in the Nissan global face.
The Maxima's trend-setting place in the Nissan range was also blatantly replicated on the firm's cheapest sedans, leaving the current Maxima without much of the cool factor enjoyed by the 350Z and GT-R.
In the exterior dimensions estimates below, the dimensions of the next Maxima are likely to be lower, longer and much wider. Width is the key buying factor for many people who like a big car versus a mid-size, so the Maxima will grow in size but also have a steep, rear-drive-style windshield angle and reclined racing seating position.
This is a big change versus the Nissan Ellure concept, which adds more Prius-like features for a deeply raked glasshouse and EV-hinting details.
The roofline is the most drastic drop: from the previous Toyota Echo-like look of the Maxima, the new sedan is expected to chop more than two inches from the total height. The long and low graphic is at once both very satisfying and interesting, with a shorter-than-normal front overhang and a deeply sloping rear glass.
The blacked-out pillars are a key GT-R styling feature that help the car look like the Stig's helmet with a continuous bar of black-tinted glass. The pillars themselves are also black, offering a floating roof that is anchored by a painted pillar only at the trunk.
2015 Nissan Maxima Preview - Exterior Dimensions Projection:
| Nissan 2014 Maxima | 2015 Maxima Estimates |
| Wheelbase (in.)| 109.3 | 112.3, est |
| Length (in.)| 190.6 | 192.8, est |
| Width (in.) | 73.2 | 75.5, est |
| Height (in.)| 57.8 | 54.0, est |
| Front Track Width (in.)| 62.4 | 63.1, est |
| Rear Track Width (in.)| 62.4 | 62.8, est |
| Drag Coefficient| 0.33 | 0.29, est |
2014 Nissan Maxima SV Shown Below
The teaser image does not answer any questions about the powerplant or drive layouts, which are still unknown at this point. The Maxima is built in Smyrna, Tennessee with the Altima - making the dream rear- or all-wheel-drive layout only the slimmest of slim possibilities.
The NISMO potential here is both better CVT tuning and a possible alternative transmission style. More than before, a hybrid option is looking possible - mirroring the Q50S Hybrid's tech but at a more affordable price point.
Even so, a much more powerful update of the Maxima's 3.5-liter engine could easily add 40 horsepower to the current total of 290. The current Maxima's biggest problems for sports car buyers are its CVT gearbox and torque steer.
Even without GT-R or Infiniti-level rear-drive platforms, the Maxima's abilities can be greatly enhanced by a better transmission and a limited-slip differential.
This option will allow a $45,000 Nismo variant of the Maxima to use all the tricks in the book to increase performance: track-ready springs, semi-slick tires with Nitrogen fill, a limited-slip differential and perhaps even rear wheel steering.
All of these features help the GT-R to be the Nurburgring lap king - not by total speed achieved, but by how much pace it can maintain in the corners. When studied extensively by Porsche, the GT-R was discovered to be entering and leaving most of the Green Hell's corners at far higher speeds than any 911.
All this knowledge can easily be applied to powerful front-drive cars, which bodes well for true 4DSC Maxima potential.
Pricing for the new car will hopefully stay at the same $31,000 base level as today, but with much more potential to spend $40,000 with active safety options and (fingers crossed) a Nismo upgrade that delivers real driving pleasure - something like… a sports car, but with four doors....
Official Release below.
NISSAN SPORT SEDAN CONCEPT SET FOR WORLD DEBUT AT 2014 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Nissan Sport Sedan Concept offers an advanced look at a future production sports sedan
Embodies next-generation Nissan design signatures
Nissan IDx Freeflow and IDx NISMO concepts make first North American appearances
Press conference set for January 13, 2014 at 3:50 p.m. EST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan continues its rollout of show-stopping advanced concept vehicles with the world debut of the stunning Sport Sedan Concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. The Sport Sedan Concept will be joined by the North America debuts of the Nissan IDx Freeflow and IDx NISMO concepts, which were among the most popular vehicles at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.
The Sport Sedan Concept previews a new energetic design direction that amplifies Nissan's legendary approach of applying sports car principles to a sedan. The IDx Freeflow and IDx NISMO's innovative, eye-catching designs offer two different approaches to a next-generation compact vehicle – one expressing a casual, lifestyle-focused vision and the other an ultra-sporty design that looks as if it came directly from a driving video game.
The trio of concepts will be revealed at a press conference on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:50 p.m. EST and displayed throughout the public days of the show, which runs at Detroit's Cobo Hall from January 18th through 26th.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com