All-New 2009 Nissan Maxima Recaptures Its Place as the True 4-Door Sports Car Premium Performance Sedan
Aggressive Styling, Refined Platform, More Powerful V6, Cockpit-like Interior and Enhanced Quality Highlight Changes to Seventh Generation of
Nissans Flagship Sedan
Nashville, Tenn.-The 2009 Nissan Maxima, which makes its world debut at the 2008 New York International Auto Show, marks a return
to the longtime Nissan flagship sedans roots as a commanding 4-door sports car a vehicle that is unique in both appearance and driving feel, with
renewed relevance for todays active and ambitious sedan buyers. In other words, the Maxima is back.
The all-new 2009 Maxima will be offered as two well-equipped models, Maxima 3.5 S and Maxima 3.5 SV, and is scheduled to arrive at Nissan dealers nationwide in early summer 2008.
Maxima has always enjoyed a certain duality a unique fusion of sedan practicality with the soul of a sports car, said Al Castignetti, vice
president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. 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.
2009 Maxima: Reborn at the Ring
Do-overs are sometimes allowed in sports but rarely in the automotive industry. Yet midway through the development of the new-generation Maxima a
mulligan was indeed granted. Rather than continue with an evolution of the previous highly successful Maxima design, the creators of the 2009 Maxima
stopped and rethought the entire direction.
Inspired by the concurrent top secret development of the 2009 Nissan GT-R supercar, they threw away positioning words like conservative and
balanced and concentrated instead on new concepts like addictive performance, striking, commanding and powerful.
High targets were established, including the goal of creating the best performing front engine, front-wheel drive car in the world, along with
class-leading acceleration, braking, handling, workmanship and cockpit design.
We arent walking away from the strengths of the last generation Maxima, which was rated the top-ranked vehicle in AutoPacifics 2007 Vehicle
Satisfaction Award for Luxury Mid-Size Cars and a winner of Strategic Visions 2007 Total Quality Award for Best Medium Car Ownership
Experience, said Castignetti. However, complacency breeds complacent vehicles. The new Maxima demanded taking risks in order to ultimately come
up with a much more exciting and rewarding vehicle.
Three key areas were singled out for change: exterior design, which needed to be more aggressive, with more personality and attitude; a super cockpit,
creating an interior that combines a driver orientation with high quality, roominess and user-friendly technology; and class-leading performance,
enhancing what previous generation owners called Maxima-ness.
To further push the performance envelope, the development team challenged themselves to concentrate their efforts on emotional engineering to
experience Maxima with the five senses in a purer, more visceral manner, rather than through CAD drawings and computer simulations.
As each designer and engineer set and exceeded higher and higher targets, they realized that confirmation of the results would require validation on
the road. But not just any road. Members of the development team traveled to Germanys famed Nrburgring Nordschleife circuit not coincidentally the
site of much of the GT-Rs performance development work to test Maxima prototypes. Special attention was placed on body rigidity, suspension and
steering, along with honing Maximas competitiveness against some well-established European sports sedans.
A number of product changes came directly from the Nrburgring trials, including enhancements to the braking and transmission systems, said
Castignetti. But more importantly, it gave notice to the entire Nissan organization that the new Maxima is back solidly in the performance arena
where it rightfully belongs.
Aggressive Design Adds a Wow Factor to the Sedan Category
While seeking to create a simple-yet-strong presence, the designers of the new Maximas exterior also wanted to re-assert Maximas breakthrough
personality establishing a wow level of style that would clearly distinguish it from segment competitors.
The exterior design theme for the new Maxima is Liquid Motion focusing on the flow of its powerful and beautiful surfaces, like the undulation of a
wave. The look starts with Maximas aggressive stance and powerful fender volume, which is not unlike many exotic sports cars on the market today.
This deeply sculpted body/fender treatment is seldom used for mass market vehicles because of the engineering and manufacturing complexity required to
physically accomplish it. Maximas new stance is created by a slight reduction in wheelbase and overall length, along with a wider front and rear track.
Maximas new look imparts a strong, premium presence. The large, wraparound L-shaped headlights add a unique dimension to the overall design, while the
light surrounds suggest a powerful turbine appearance of energy and strength. The upturned headlight shape combines with a wide grille, large
bumper opening and bulging catamaran-style hood to give Maxima a formidable expression, setting the tone for the rest of the vehicle.
The powerful Maxima form continues along its profile, with careful layering of the bumper, hood and fender parting lines. The polished, elegant motion
spreads from the deep-waisted rear fenders through distinctive Maxima-style C-pillars and high trunk lid.
Dimensionally, versus the previous generation, the new Maxima measures the same width at the doors but wider at each fender, which not only helps
project a sporty appearance but also allows a reduction in the visual gap between the fenders and wheels and tires. Maximas dynamic performance
stance is accented by 18-inch and available 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with low-profile performance tires.
Another new styling feature is the available Dual Panel Moonroof, which is traditionally offered only in luxury segments. The Dual Panel Moonroof
includes a front section that moves like a normal moonroof (positioned farther forward than typical), with a very wide opening to provide an
open-air motoring feeling. There is also a fixed translucent rear section that provides light to rear seat passengers. The overall design gives the
appearance that the entire roof is composed of black glass. The Dual Panel Moonroof includes dual power sunshades for both the front and rear glass
sections, adding a level of convenience.
At the rear, Maxima features a new 12-LED L-shaped taillight design, with a pair of side marker bulbs for added visibility during night driving.
Maximas breathtaking new exterior gives it a commanding, almost coupe-like appearance, with plenty of driveway appeal, said Castignetti. Its one
sedan that will definitely be noticed by the next door neighbors, along with a lot of other people.
Maxima is available in a choice of eight exterior colors: Winter Frost, Super Black, Navy Blue, Tuscan Sun, Radiant Silver, Mystic Jade, Precision
Gray and Dark Slate.
Leading-Edge Sports Sedan Performance Platform
For five previous generations, Maxima has been built on a front-wheel drive (FWD) platform. Yet with the new Maximas development team everything was
open for discussion, including the benefits of front-wheel drive versus rear-wheel drive (RWD). Although there are well-known advantages of RWD in
terms of sporty handling, it was ultimately decided that by switching Maxima from its previous platform to Nissans new D platform, which was first
introduced on the current Nissan Altima Sedan, Hybrid and Coupe, the target Maxima performance could be delivered without giving up the added FWD
benefits of lower costs, lower weight and enhanced roominess versus a RWD platform.
As demonstrated time and again with the new Altima, the new Nissan D platform is an amazing piece of engineering providing responsive handling
while virtually eliminating the torque steer often associated with high horsepower FWD applications, said Castignetti. For the new Maxima, weve
continued to refine the D platform, creating what we believe is one of the best-performing front-wheel drive car in the world, far above other FWD
vehicles in its class. Its a level of performance that we think will be highly addictive.
In creating driving performance worthy of Nissans flagship, the Maximas body and chassis engineering teams worked together to create a secure
feeling, virtually no torque steer during acceleration and a level of nimbleness that ultimately makes a car fun to drive.
A range of enhancements helped achieve these targets, including increasing body rigidity and adjusting the wheelbase and track dimensions. Body
rigidity was increased by 15 percent and front strut mounting rigidity was increased by 100 percent, with all-new structures added to the engine
compartment and additional reinforcement applied to the instrument panel structure. Maximas equipped with the Sport or Premium Packages feature a
panel behind the rear seat that improves torsional rigidity by 17 percent versus models with a fold-down rear seat (a rear trunk pass-through is
utilized with this panel).
The 2009 Maxima has a wheelbase of 109.3 inches, a decrease of 1.9 inches versus the 2008 Maxima, and width has been increased by 1.5 inches to 73.2
inches. The front and rear track measurement of 62.4 inches represents increases of 1.4 inches front and 1.2 inches rear over the previous model.
Additional D platform enhancements include the use of aluminum suspension links, revised suspension geometry, new technology shocks, revised steering
and suspension geometries, a lower engine mounting and application of a new Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), all of which contribute
to minimal torque steer and improved handling prowess.
A Refined Engine and CVT
Compared to the previous generation, the new Maxima offers more horsepower and torque, providing quicker acceleration response and a special Maxima
Sound a satisfying, sporty sounding exhaust note. For 2009, Maxima again features a standard 3.5-liter VQ-series V6 engine, enhanced and refined to
take its driving performance to new levels.
The revised engine features a modular engine design with microfinished crank journals and cam 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. Also utilized are a Continuously
Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), a variable induction system, a silent timing chain and electronically controlled throttle.
In refining the award-winning VQ-series V6 for use in the new Maxima, engine development engineers focused on three areas increasing air intake,
increasing fuel burn efficiency and lowering exhaust backpressure. Steps utilized to improve air intake included increasing intake manifold collector
port diameter, adding a second power valve in the intake manifold, changing intake collector material to resin for less mass and more flow, redesigning
the shape of the intake valves and increasing the throttle chamber diameter. Fuel burn efficiency was improved by increasing the engines compression
ratio to 10.6:1 (from 10.3:1), changing the piston shape for reduction of friction and weight, and adding exhaust-side continuous valve timing control
(quad valve timing system). Exhaust backpressure was reduced through optimizing the exhaust system layout.
The 2009 Maximas 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 is now rated at 290 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque (estimated), increases of 35 horsepower and 9 lb-ft
of torque over the 2008 Maxima.
Significant development time was also spent on enhancing the sporty engine sound for an increased exhilaration feeling. The new Maxima also utilizes
additional sound absorption material and a new sound creator to enhance induction sound. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance has been
improved through a number of measures, including adoption of a new six-point engine mounting system. The system, which replaces the previous generation
Maximas four-point mounting, includes upper and lower torque rods, high rigidity front and rear aluminum brackets and front and rear switchable
control mounts to improve NVH performance under high engine torque conditions.
All 2009 Maximas come equipped with a revised Xtronic CVT with manual mode, tuned specifically for Maximas sporty driving character. The Maxima
development team finessed the previous CVT design to improve responsiveness and strike a balance between sport and comfort, ultimately creating a
transmission that provides a true synergy between engine and transmission, along with smooth, responsive and efficient operation.
For drivers seeking the utmost in vehicle control, a new Ds mode (drive sport) has been added to the CVT for 2009. Ds mode is an electronic
control logic, that enhances sport driving through increased acceleration feel with higher engine revolutions, automatic engine braking and
maintaining engine speed during cornering.
Ds mode takes advantage of the CVTs infinite selections of available gear ratios and is able to select the right gear, the right time, all the time.
This enhances the emotional, sporty feel while driving on canyon roads or city streets. Whether it is upshifting through the gears while accelerating,
or automatic engine braking (downshifting) when coming into a corner, Ds mode is able to match vehicle speed and engine rpm with the drivers
intended acceleration input. Ds mode, combined with the sound creator, creates an emotional experience not available on any other CVT vehicle.
Available paddle shifters, mounted on the steering column, allow manual transmission shift changes for varying scenarios such as winding roads
while the drivers hands remain on the wheel for optimum vehicle control.
The enhancements to the new Maximas already industry leading CVT, especially the addition of the new Ds mode, help us realize the full
potential of the Xtronic technology, including the controller and adaptive logic, said Castignetti. Its like having an automatic manual mode
with lightning quick gear ratio changes going into turns and auto gear hold out of turns. Youve got to feel it to believe it.
Fuel economy is estimated to be 19 miles per gallon City, 26 miles per gallon Highway (final EPA figures to announced at a later date) similar to
that of the 2008 Maxima, despite the 2009 Maximas 35 additional horsepower.
Advanced Suspension, Steering and Braking
Maximas suspension is designed to be both stimulating and relaxing, combining responsive handling with a comfortable ride.
The subframe-mounted strut/coil spring front suspension makes extensive use of lightweight aluminum parts. An X-type upper cowl structure helps
establish front body rigidity for suspension mounting.
Maximas multi-link independent rear suspension design, also subframe-mounted, offers outstanding handling by minimizing camber change
during cornering. The rear shock absorbers and springs are separated for minimized friction and the shocks are in line with the center of the rear
wheels, providing excellent damping and minimal harshness. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard.
Braking is provided by standard 4-wheel disc brakes with a 4-channel, 4-sensor, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force
Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). The system features new vented rear disc brakes with larger rear rotors (versus the previous generation
Maxima) and a variable ratio linkage for a secure feel
The 2009 Maxima features a new Twin Orifice Power Steering (TOPS) vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system, similar to
that utilized on the Nissan 350Z. The system features high accuracy gear, which is designed to offer improved high performance response, along with
ease of driving at low speeds and a stable feel at high speed. Maxima has the quickest steering ratio of any Nissan sedan (15.2:1) to help provide its
sporty steering feel. A new strut tower brace also contributes to Maximas improved steering precision and rigidity.
Every 2009 Maxima offers standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and V-rated P245/45R18 all-season tires. The Maxima 3.5 SV model with Sport Package
features 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P245/40R19 all-season or summer performance tires.
With major improvements in engine horsepower and torque, along with the many enhancements to the CVT programming and addition of Ds mode, we
expect the new Maxima to be among the best performers in class in terms of acceleration and driving feel, said Castignetti. Add in its tuned
performance exhaust, the virtual lack of torque steer, nimble handling, controlled body movements and linear steering and braking feel, and Maxima
stands out as the most exciting and exhilarating performance sedan in class.
Super Cockpit Interior
Another challenge in designing a true sports sedan is creating an attractive, intimate, sporty cockpit feel for the driver without
compromising the traditional sedan attributes of passenger comfort, roominess and utility.
The new Maximas interior design team developed an interior concept of Super Cockpit, but with Space the feeling of a sports car with controls
ergonomically close, yet with ample roominess and comfort for both driver and passengers. Key design words emphasized during development were
impressive and silky, high touch, craftsmanship and high tech.
Every aspect of the interior layout, including the size and shape of touch points and placement of features, was improved for a better driving
experience. The shifter lever, for example, was placed closer to the driver and falls easily to hand. This also allowed a cupholder to be placed to the
right of the shifter device, not behind it. The transmissions manual mode gate has been moved toward the driver for a more intuitive action.
To enhance the cockpit feel of the new Maximas interior, the center console has been raised, and a premium quality feel is provided through the
extensive use of soft touch materials, as well as soft, deep pads where an arm or elbow may rest.
The high quality feeling is also expressed with Daytime Illumination electroluminescent meters, with a special tilting of the tachometer so
engine redline is placed at the 12 oclock position, and extensive use of chrome surrounds for the gauges, vent rings, vent knobs and audio switches.
The new Maximas three-spoke steering wheel is sport-oriented and its diameter has been reduced (compared with the previous Maxima) for improved
feeling. Maxima Sport and Premium Package models feature a unique parallel pattern steering wheel stitching (versus the traditional baseball-style stitching) for enhanced grip.
Much development attention was spent on the 2009 Maximas drivers seat, or the Chair. The special drivers seat includes an available manual thigh
extension for long distance driving, additional support in the side bolsters for good lateral support during sporty driving, as well as added seat height
adjustability. The new Maximas seat height is 0.8 inches lower (at its lowest setting), which also enhances the sporty drivers feel. The seat is
also available with heating and cooling functions and premium leather-appointed surfaces with special stitching. Also available are power
lower lumbar and memory function.
The new Maximas front and rear seats share a common design theme for added harmony and cockpit feeling. The front seatbacks include a new slim,
sculpted design, resulting in additional rear passenger knee room.
The 2009 Maxima is available with two different rear seat layouts a 60/40 fold-down rear seat with access to the trunk, and a fixed rear seat with
center armrest pass-through for carrying long items such as skis or other sporting equipment. Three interior colors are offered for 2009: Caf Latt,
Frost and Charcoal.
The new Maxima is more tailored and refined than any Maxima that has come before, while maintaining a high-touch, high-tech sporty feel, said
Castignetti. Its craftsmanship is outstanding, as is the quality look and feel making Maxima an easy vehicle to enjoy, even when sitting still.
Comfort and convenience features include a standard moonroof, 8-way power drivers seat and 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone
automatic temperature control, cruise control with illuminated steering wheel mounted controls, Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, power
windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD6/MP3 audio system with 8 speakers and an available Interface System for iPod
Maxima 3.5 SV models add leather-appointed sport seats, an advanced Bose premium audio system with 9 speakers (including two subwoofers and a center
channel speaker), speed-sensitive volume control and Radio Data System (RDS), HomeLink Universal Transceiver, fog lights and outside mirrors with
turn signal indicators.
A number of packages are also offered, including the Sport Package with sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, rear spoiler, High Intensity
Discharge (HID) Xenon headlights, heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down features, automatic entry/exit system with two-driver memory,
heated front seats and steering wheel, paddle shifters, metallic link trim, Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System, XM Satellite Radio (active XM
subscription required, sold separately), premium leather-appointed seats and more.
The Premium Package includes the Dual Panel Moonroof with rear roof window and front and rear power retractable sunshades, High Intensity Discharge
(HID) Xenon headlights, heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down features, automatic entry/exit system with two-driver memory, heated front
seats and steering wheel, paddle shifters, premium leather-appointed seats, Eucalyptus wood-tone trim, 7.0-inch color monitor, RearView Monitor,
Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System, XM Satellite Radio (active XM subscription required, sold separately) and more.
Several Tech Packages are available, including the Maxima 3.5 SV Tech Package, which includes an advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with
Voice Recognition, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, XM NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information (active XM subscription required, sold separately),
7.0-inch color monitor, XM Satellite Radio (active XM subscription required, sold separately), RearView Monitor and Interface System for iPod.
The 2009 Maxima comes equipped with standard Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front supplemental air bags, front seat-mounted
side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard
occupant head protection.
Also standard are front-seat Active Head Restraints, 3-point rear seat belts for all seating positions, front seat belts with adjustable upper anchors,
pretensioners and load limiters, emergency inside trunk release, Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones, LATCH (Lower Anchors and
Tethers for CHildren) and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
The 2009 Maxima also features a standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
The 2009 Nissan Maxima will be assembled by Nissan North America Manufacturing Smyrna & Decherd Tennessee Plants.
Maxima Is Better Than Ever
Our goal was to keep Maxima relevant to sports sedan enthusiasts, maintaining excitement and segment leadership, said Castignetti.
Breakthrough design can only be accomplished by breaking through the limits you place on yourself. The passion and vision demonstrated by the Maxima
development team has energized the entire organization. In the long, proud history of Maxima, this is one to remember.
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