2004 Nissan Maxima ? The Original 4-Door Sports Car  Returns, Wrapped in a New Expressive Styling

The all-new 2004 Nissan Maxima continues the formula passed down from five previous generations ? an unmatched blend of performance and luxury. The sixth generation Maxima combines traditional unmatched performance from the award-winning VQ engine with expressive sports styling and bold design innovations including a new Skyview? Roof, with a glass panel running lengthwise over the front and rear seats, and a new Elite Package, which features a fixed, full center console that creates true 4-place seating.

"Maxima has always had the power and performance that has earned it a reputation as a true 4-door sports car. Now it also looks the part," said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "The new Maxima is more stylish, refined and evolved then ever ? higher performance, roomier and sportier. In essence, a wolf in wolf's clothing."

For the first time, Maxima will be assembled in the United States, at Nissan?s award-winning manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tenn. The new Maxima is scheduled to go on sale at 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide in March 2003.

The Maxima first arrived in the U.S. in 1981, essentially creating the "mid-size import sedan" category that it has dominated ever since. For almost two decades it has held the title of the number one selling V6 import sedan. Along with its bold new styling, for 2004 Maxima adds a new level of premium equipment to its enhanced roominess and performance, which is expected to add to both its reputation and buyer base. It will be offered in Maxima 3.5 SE and Maxima 3.5 SL models.

"Maxima?s has an exceptionally loyal owner base, with many buyers on their fourth or fifth Maxima," said Kirrane. "For 2004, Maxima moves up to take on the most popular European sports sedans head-to-head with more of everything that makes Maxima a Maxima. In other words, everything has changed, yet nothing has changed."

A New, Aggressive Exterior

Maxima?s designers set out to create an advanced exterior design that captures the characteristics of a performance car and a luxury sedan all in one.

Maxima?s powerful design begins with its chiseled, muscular shape with pronounced character lines. Its arched design creates an expansive and highly strengthened structural image, while the broad beltline creates a strong and integrated impression from front to rear. The distinctive C-pillar design, with subtle extensions beyond the rear backlight, forms a distinctive coupe-like silhouette, maintaining a strong Maxima character. The high rear deck provides easy accessibility to the ample trunk that is essential to a sedan.

The front fascia is sharp and cleanly sculpted and features a distinctive Nissan signature grille with a unique, rounded-rectangle shape pattern accentuated by a dark chrome finish, along with a deeply sculpted combination headlight cluster with optional xenon bulbs (standard on 3.5 SL). The pronounced rear fascia is elegant and leaves a strong impression, accented with the unique design of the body panel that surrounds the rear taillights.

The combination of oversized wheels with boldly sculpted fender openings and double dual exhaust mufflers with chromed tips give Maxima a very powerful and dominating stance that evokes a feeling of high performance

Large 18-inch, 6-spoke alloy wheels come standard on the 3.5 SE, while 17-inch wheels are standard on the 3.5 SL. The 2004 Maxima will be available in a choice of eight exterior colors, including a bold Radiant Ember, Red Opulence and Spirited Bronze.

An Innovative Interior Led By Skyview Roof and 4-passenger seating

The expressive exterior design continues into the interior. Standard on all models is a segment-first Skyview Roof, which creates an open environment for front and rear passengers while maintaining a solid roof structure. The Skyview Roof is a single elongated rectangular-shaped glass panels that stretch from the front of the roof to the back. It comes equipped with sliding sunshades to block out the sunlight when desired. The long openings in the arched roofline increase the perceptual interior volume, which leaves a unique and memorable impression.

"Maxima's Skyview Roof, an industry first for the mid-size sedan segment, turns the perspective of the interior inside out. It's a bold feature and we made it standard," said Kirrane. "A traditional power sliding front sun roof is optionally available for buyers who prefer one, but we think once people experience the Skyview Roof, they'll fall in love with it."

Thanks to the 2004 Maxima's adoption of Nissan's FF-L (for Front engine, Front-wheel drive, Large) platform, the cabin offers increases in all major interior dimensions from the previous generation Maxima, including a 2.9-inch longer wheelbase (increased from 108.3 to 111.2) and vehicle width increased 1.4 inches (increase from 70.3 to 71.7). Trunk space also increases 0.4 cubic feet, from 15.1 to 15.5.

Maxima features a new gauge system with three independent, hood-less meters that are extremely sporty in appearance. The simple and mechanical form, combined with metallic material, suggests an enthusiastic driving experience and enhances the sense of luxuriousness from its precise craftsmanship.

Special focus and attention to detail was put into the design of Maxima's driver ergonomics. The steering wheel, meter cluster and the gearshift knob are designed so the driver can be closely attuned to the car. Maxima also features a custom-designed instrument panel, center stack and console design to give it a clean, high-quality display. The center display integrates displays of HVAC, audio system and trip computer into one central location.

Maxima?s new low-fatigue front seats are designed with sharp, crisp lines and forms to give them a sporty look that matches the rest of the interior. The seats' silhouette is very linear in character while the front edge is squared to make them look strong and sporty. The cross-sections of the cushions and seat backs are carefully scrutinized to offer optimum comfort and support. The driver?s seat is 8-way power and the passenger?s seat is 4-way power (standard on 3.5 SL and optional on SE) with height-adjustable head restraints. Optional to the 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL is a driver seat memory system that adjusts the seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors at the touch of a button

An optional Elite Package 4-seat layout gives the interior a distinctive sports car-like design, further separating Maxima from its competitors. With the Elite Package, the traditional bench style rear seat is replaced with two independent bucket seats. The design of the rear seats resembles the front seats and the 4-seat layout further strengthens both the sporty and luxury aspects of Maxima?s interior.

"The idea of the 4-seat package was not to eliminate the traditional five passenger seating, which is still the Maxima standard," said Kirrane. "But in keeping with Maxima's 4-door sports car heritage, the logical extension is front and rear seating similar to a 2-door sports car. The optional Elite Package is ideal for owners who, for example, like to go out to dinner with other couples, but never really need a full 5-passenger capacity of a traditional sedan."

An Elite Package-exclusive Burnt Orange with Black interior color combination is also available, in addition to the standard Maxima Caf?Latte, Frost and Black interior colors.

Standard Maxima luxury touches include wood tone trim on 3.5 SL and metallic tone accents on 3.5 SE, automatic front dual zone climate control and outside temperature display, rear air conditioning vents, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto on/off headlights, driver?s and passenger?s sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors and extenders and a 240-watt 8-speaker AM/FM/cassette/CD with steering wheel audio controls is standard on the 3.5 SE. An 8-speaker 320-watt Bose? audio system with AM/FM/cassette/6CD in-dash is standard on 3.5 SL and optional on 3.5 SE.

From a safety standpoint, Maxima features Zone Body construction with front and rear crushable zones and occupant zone, standard dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags and curtain side-impact supplemental air bags. Also standard are 3-point front seat belts with adjustable upper anchors with pretensioners and load limiters, front-seat active head restraints, an emergency inside trunk release and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors and tether system

Powerful V6 Engine Offers Responsive Acceleration

Maxima?s legendary performance continues in 2004 with the continued use of the award-winning VQ 3.5-liter engine. The VQ engine series has been recognized as one of the "Ten Best Engines" by Ward?s Auto World magazine for eight consecutive years. The DOHC 24-valve V6 has been refined to produce 260-plus horsepower and 250-plus lb-ft torque. The increase in power and torque was created, in part, by modifying the intake duct and exhaust muffler, thus improving the intake/exhaust flow ratio. An equal-length tuned exhaust with a high capacity muffler adds power and gives Maxima a quiet, yet strong, sound ? hinting at its performance capabilities.

Maxima also utilizes continuous valve timing control, variable induction system, a silent timing chain and electronically controlled throttle. The engine also features a modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and com lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons, a resin intake collector, digital knock control, six individual coils (one per spark plug) and a cross-flow coolant pattern.

"Maxima?s reputation has always started with its engine performance ? the heart of a sports car," said Kirrane. "This new Maxima is no different, it delivers the performance level worthy of a true flagship sedan, from an engine design shared with the new Nissan 350Z?."

All 2004 Maxima 3.5 SL models come equipped with a standard 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, with a gated shifter for better transmission control. The 3.5 SE Model features a standard 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with manual shift mode and gated shifter. New to the 2004 Maxima is Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), which is optional on all A/T models.

For the serious driving enthusiast, a 6-speed close-ratio manual is optional on 3.5 SE models. This transmission optimizes the powerband of the 3.5-liter engine and gives the driver the ultimate sports car feel. A helical limited-slip differential is optional on manual transmission equipped Maximas. This mechanical differential is torque sensitive and provides instantaneous locking for increased traction and performance.

Maxima?s agile and responsive handling comes from a suspension design adapted and improved from the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline supercar. It consists of an innovative rear multi-link independent suspension, which offers outstanding stability by minimizing camber change during cornering. The rear shocks and springs are separated for reduced friction and the shock is in line with the center of the rear wheels, providing better damping and less harshness.

Maxima 3.5 SE models feature a special performance-tuned suspension for maximum handling prowess, while the 3.5 SL models feature a luxury-tuned suspension providing a supple ride and smooth and secure handling feeling.

Braking is provided by standard 4-wheel disc brakes with a 4-channel, 4-sensor, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). Front rotors are class-leading at 320mm in size. Also standard is Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which optimizes brake force depending on load condition (passenger and cargo) and Brake Assist (BA), which senses hard or panic pedal application and helps provide maximum braking capacity.

The 3.5 SE model offers large 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and V-rated P245/45R18 tires. 3.5 SL features 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with H-rated P225/55R17 tires.

Models and Options

The 2004 Maxima is available in two models: the sporty 3.5 SE and the luxurious 3.5 SL.

A number of options and packages are available on Maxima, including a Premium Audio Package, with an 8-speaker 320-watt Bose? audio system with AM/FM/6CD, RDS and speed sensitive volume control; Sensory Package which includes the Premium Audio Package, plus leather-appointed seats, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats and mirrors and compass.

Also offered are the Driver Preferred Package (3.5 SE) with Sensory Package contents, plus rear spoiler, memory drivers seat, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel with memory, memory outside mirrors that can also be folded electronically, xenon headlights, driver seat power lumbar support, power entry/exit seat and heated steering wheel; and Driver Preferred Package (3.5 SL) with Sensory Package contents, plus memory drivers seat, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel with memory, memory outside mirrors that can also be folded electronically, driver seat power lumbar support, power entry/exit seat and heated steering wheel. The Maxima Journey Package includes Driver Preferred Package equipment, plus DVD navigation system with 7-inch color display and compass in navigation display (deleted from rear view mirror)

The Elite Package offers all of the Journey Package features, plus 2-passenger rear seating, rear center console, auto up/down rear windows, rear power sunshade with front and rear controls, heated rear seats and rear 12V power point.

Available options include a Power Glass Sunroof (replaces Skyview Roof), Helical Limited-Slip Differential (HLSD), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), full-size spare with alloy wheel and satellite radio capacity.

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