Nissan positions its Maxima as a “four-door sports car” and has officially called out BMW and Audi models when it comes to on-track performance. With its new, bold styling and sportier SR trim, Nissan wants enthusiast buyers to consider the 2016 Maxima side by side with Germany’s entry-level sport sedans.
What better way to show the brand is serious about performance than it let its in-house tuning arm — Nismo — work on a hotter Maxima? The Japanese automaker has let Nismo out to play more lately with projects like the Juke Nismo, 370Z Nismo, and GT-R Nismo, so a top-spec Maxima seems like a logical progression.
Nissan is in the process of deciding if a more aggressive Maxima would sell, and thanks to strong initial sales of the 2016 Maxima and Nissan’s previous claims that more Nismo models will be added soon, there’s a good chance a Nismo Maxima is around the corner.
Power, handling, and styling changes would be in store for a Nismo Maxima, which starts with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a CVT transmission, the 2016 Maxima gets from zero to 60 mph in a very respectable 5.6 seconds. Expect output to rise to somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 HP and the transmission to be replaced by a six-speed dual clutch with paddle shifters in the Nismo edition.
In terms of styling, the Maxima SR sports a sculpted body that closely aligns with the “sport sedan” concept, but the Nismo version would likely add a lower-body kit and ride height, bigger wheels, and a sportier interior. Expect more powerful brakes and a stiffer suspension as well.
Before a Nismo Maxima gets the green light, the automaker will wait to see how the sportier SR-trimmed body style sells. Presently, Nissan has projected 20 to 25 percent of Maxima sales will be of SR models. For now, we can dream.