New York Auto Show: Nissan's ultimate expression of the Altima
This is the fourth generation Altima from Nissan and it looks to build on the sales strength of the popular third generation model. All new for ’07, the Altima is based on Nissan’s new D platform and has a shorter wheelbase and length than the previous model, though retains its ample interior space. A new generation VQ-Series 3.5L V6 puts out 265 hp and 255 ft-lbs. of torque through either a six-speed manual or through the company’s Xtronic CVT, the latter of which is quite an achievement considering the amount of torque Nissan’s V6 is able to generate. Plus, CVT-equipped models get a center console with a new triple front cup holder. Woot!
We dig the Altima’s duds, especially the strong front and rear fenders that give the car a wide and stable appearance. The new T-shaped corporate grille works well here, especially with the optional HID headlamps.
After the jump are more live shots, some pretty staged photos of the Altima in a desert (it’s natural habitat?) and Nissan’s official release.
2007 Nissan Altima Takes Expressive Styling, Athletic
Performance, Quality and Innovation to New Levels
– Engineers Set “Best Performing Large Front-Wheel Drive Sedan in the World”
as Target for the Development of New D-Platform –
Building on previous generation Altima’s reputation as the design and dynamic leader in class, the all-new 2007 Nissan Altima is evolutionary in design, but revolutionary in its platform and hardware. The new Altima also addresses target customers’ desires for a more rewarding driving and ownership experience by offering new levels of quality feel, enhanced comfort and available convenience features.
The 2007 Nissan Altima goes on sale in fall 2006.
“Altima is 100% original and 100% Nissan, rather than a copy of existing mid-size sedan offerings,” said Brad Bradshaw, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “In creating this next generation Altima, we didn’t take for granted the things it already did well. We refined or enhanced all areas – exterior, interior and under the skin.”
Along with its distinctive styling, the fourth generation Altima utilizes the all-new Nissan “D” platform with improved body rigidity and a redesigned suspension with the development objective of making Altima one of the best performing large front-wheel drive sedans available globaly.
The new Altima is available with Nissan’s advanced Xtronic CVT™ (Continuously Variable Transmission) or 6-speed manual transmissions and a choice of the award-winning VQ-series 3.5-liter V6 or powerful 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engines.
The 2007 Altima also offers a long list of convenience features – including available Intelligent Key with Push Start Ignition, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, RearView Monitor and an advanced navigation system.
Building On A Strong Base
The previous generation Altima, which was introduced in September 2001, changed the course of mid-size sedans. Launched under the philosophy of “the cure for the common sedan,” it veered away from copying the sales leaders in the segment and targeted the estimated 20 percent of sedan buyers seeking more style and performance.
That approach found a receptive audience, with Altima quickly becoming Nissan’s best-selling vehicle (ranked fourth among all cars in 2005 U.S. sales). It was also named “2002 North American Car of the Year.”
“We understand that mid-size sedan buyers are looking for more from their vehicles than transportation – they seek a higher sense of self reward, along with a quality feel, enhanced comfort and a wide range of convenience features,” said Bradshaw. “The new 2007 Altima builds on these strengths, protecting Altima’s hard-fought standing as the sedan of choice for discerning, enthusiast buyers. And now, as a true competitor rather than just an alternative, we predict Altima will find an even wider audience.”
Distinctive, Sporty Styling
The 2007 Altima’s exterior styling is a continuation of Altima’s distinctive, iconic, sporty design. It offers a “dynamic simplicity” with an aggressive stance, a new Nissan “T-shaped” grille, powerful front fenders, strong wedge character line, forward A-pillars and Nissan family roofline, Altima-style taillights and dual exhaust finishers on all models. High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights are available on V6-equipped models.
The wheelbase is 0.9-inch shorter (109.3 inches) than the previous model for enhanced maneuverability and the overall length is 2.5 inches shorter (189.8 inches), but the interior retains the same ample roominess. The width is 0.3-inch wider (70.7 inches) and overall height is the same (57.9 inches). Trunk space remains the same as the previous generation Altima.
“The new Altima design looks and feels very open and accessible. Roominess was retained by moving the cowl forward and the rear glass back, while the low beltline allows the use of large side glass,” said Bradshaw. “As a result, the smaller body enhances the sense of nimbleness, without compromising comfort, utility or passenger space.”
The Altima exterior also offers redesigned 16-inch and 17-inch wheels and 16-inch wheel covers. Nine exterior colors are offered, five of which are new for 2007.
Attention to Quality and Detail
The 2007 Altima interior has an enhanced feel with refined workmanship and expanded use of soft materials (such as padded armrests) and chrome accents. Interior noise levels have been reduced through use of the new rigid platform and increased sound insulation.
“This new Altima feels like a completely different and more expensive vehicle in terms of design, use of quality materials and available amenities – it’s quiet, comfortable and rewarding,” said Bradshaw.
The instrument panel features a new Fine Vision gauge display for enhanced readability and the L-shaped flow of the instrument panel to the center console adds to the driver-oriented cockpit feel. The center console includes a new triple front cup holder design (CVT-equipped models), among the many convenient cup and bottle areas (up to nine total, including 20-ounce bottle holders in the door panels) and storage compartments (many of which are covered). The volume of the glove compartment has also increased substantially, doubling in size to 0.46 cubic feet.
Interiors are available in three colors – charcoal, blonde and frost – as well as in both high quality soft-touch suede fabric and leather-appointed seating.
Among the innovative passenger amenities for the class are available Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Bose®-developed audio system with 9 speakers, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System and dual-zone automatic temperature control.
“Next Generation” Platform and Performance
The all-new Altima’s exhilarating driving pleasure comes from a tuned combination of strong acceleration, responsive handling and dynamic and refined sound – provided by the all-new “D” platform and the enhanced engine designs.
“The 2007 Altima is designed to be very visceral, engaging all the senses including hearing,” said Bradshaw. “The performance concept embraces the nimbleness of a smaller car, the ride comfort and security of a larger car and the high levels of driving enjoyment that is built into every Nissan.”
The new Altima is the first global application of Nissan’s advanced “D” platform, which offers much improved body rigidity and an all-new front suspension with new geometry and shock absorbers with rebound springs.
The engine mounting position is 30 millimeters lower (with a six-point pendulum-type mounting system in place of the previous four-point system on V6 models) and the half-shafts have equal angles and are more parallel to the ground – virtually eliminating torque steer.
The subframe-mounted front suspension makes extensive use of aluminum parts. A new X-type upper cowl structure helps improve front body rigidity for suspension mounting. The rear multi-link independent suspension design separates the rear shocks and springs for reduced friction and the shocks are in line with the center of the rear wheels, providing better damping and less harshness. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard.
In addition to 17-inch wheels and tires, the Altima 3.5 SE offers a sport-tuned suspension with larger diameter stabilizer bars and unique spring rates and strut damping.
Two engines are available, a “next generation” version of the 12-time Ward’s “10 Best Engines” award-winning VQ-series V6 and an inline 4-cylinder.
The 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 is now rated at 265-plus horsepower* and 255 lb-ft of torque and offers stronger acceleration and refined sound quality. The V6 features new twin induction, reduced friction, improved cylinder head cooling and new twin knock sensors.
Also available is a 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder producing 165-plus horsepower and 170-plus lb-ft of torque. The QR25 engine has been refined with a larger intake manifold, increased compression ratio (9.6:1 from 9.5:1) and reduced friction characteristics. It features a silent chain drive and a balancer system (with balancer changed to a center-mounted location for better NVH) that effectively negates vibrations without taking up much space – combining ideal packaging and smoothness.
Both engines feature continuously variable valve timing, modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons and electronically controlled throttles.
New dual exhaust system designs reduce exhaust backpressure by 35% on the 4-cylinder and 50% with the V6. Both systems utilize increased tube diameters and include dual chrome-tipped exhaust finishers.
Smooth, Efficient Xtronic CVT
The 2007 Altima is offered with a choice of two transmissions with both the V6 and 4-cylinder engines. A new 6-speed, narrow-gate manual features reduced friction, a new guiding plate, shorter shift stroke, increased torque capacity and closer gear ratios covering a wider range. The advanced Nissan Xtronic CVT replaces the previous conventional automatic transmission.
The Xtronic CVT is designed to create a true synergy between engine and transmission with smooth, responsive, fluid-feeling performance and efficient operation. The CVT units utilized with both engines have been tailored specifically for use with the new Altima. Unit friction has been reduced by 30% for the 4-cylinder CVT and 20% for the V6 design.
The V6 CVT has been enhanced with an all-new “Sport” mode controller with a high-speed central processing unit and Adaptive Shift Controller with adaptive logic for faster shifting in both normal and manual modes. The adaptive logic feature delivers the best shift pattern based on the driving environment and driver’s perceived intentions. It utilizes 700 programmed algorithms to adjust to differing conditions, such as uphill or downhill driving, as well as adapting to three styles of driving – economy, normal and sporty.
“The combination of the new adaptive logic CVT and the refined 3.5-liter V6 gives the new Altima just an exceptionally responsive and fun-to-drive feel – sporty but not harsh, smooth but not rubbery,” said Bradshaw. “These two advanced systems – V6 and CVT – were made for each other.”
Nissan remains the industry leader in CVTs, with three separate CVT designs currently in production. Nissan began studying CVT technology in 1979 and offered its first production CVT in 1992 and world’s first 3.5-liter V6 CVT application in 2002.
More than just the efficiency advantages of CVT over conventional automatic transmissions, CVTs offers owners, as studies of Murano drivers have shown, real benefits in terms of smooth, responsive, trouble-free performance. CVTs will also be offered in the 2007 Maxima, Sentra and Versa. By 2008, Nissan expects to sell one million CVT-equipped vehicles worldwide annually.
Enhanced Structure, Steering and Braking
The new Altima’s improved body structure includes the expanded use of Ultra High Strength Steel, which is utilized in many locations including side-impact areas. Use of this steel is also allows for a 30% weight reduction in the frontal body structure. Overall, the new Altima is only about 55 pounds heavier than the previous generation.
“Just like the last Altima, the new design combines a strong structure with extensive use of lightweight materials, giving it a nimble yet solid feel,” said Bradshaw. “The fact that the 2007 Altima remains about the same weight despite the enhanced rigidity is a testament to the engineering of the new platform.”
A new twin-orifice vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system is standard, providing light steering effort at low speeds and a secure feeling at high speeds, along with improved “on center” feel.
Braking for the 2007 Altima is provided by standard 4-wheel disc brakes. Standard on V6 models and optional on 4-cylinder models is a 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). ABS-equipped Altimas feature Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which optimizes brake force depending on load condition (passengers and cargo) and Brake Assist, which senses hard or panic pedal application and helps provide maximum braking capacity.
A new variable ratio pivot brake pedal, the first utilized on a Nissan vehicle, provides a more rigid feel at freeway speeds and less sensitive, more controllable operation in city driving.
Altima models equipped with the 4-cylinder engine are equipped with 16-inch wheels (steel wheels with covers on 2.5 and 2.5 S, aluminum-alloy wheels are optional on 2.5 S and standard on 2.5 S with SL Package and 3.5 SL) and 215/60R16 tires. The V6-equipped Altima 3.5 SE comes with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 215/55R17 tires.
Safety, Security and Convenience
The new Altima comes equipped with a number of standard safety features, including Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones and Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags). Also standard are front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection.
Other standard equipment includes front seat Active Head Restraints, the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors and tether system and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).
Added convenience is provided by the available RearView Monitor, which utilizes a small camera to help show the view behind the vehicle when in reverse gear. Other available convenience features include an 8-way power driver’s seat, automatic on/off headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power sliding glass sunroof, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio with choice of XM® or Sirius™ service, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, leather-appointed seating, heated front driver and passenger seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control and rear-passenger air conditioning vents.
“The new 2007 Altima is one of the first vehicles in class to offer such a high level of features, such as the available Intelligent Key and RearView Monitor, touch-screen navigation with voice recognition and dual-zone automatic temperature control,” said Bradshaw. “With distinctive styling, dynamic performance, high quality roomy interior and great features, the new Altima raises the standard in the segment once again. In a sea of sameness, Altima engages the senses and stirs the soul.”
Models and Manufacturing
The 2007 Nissan Altima will be available in six well-equipped models: 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 S with SL Package, 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL and HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) (details on the early 2007 Altima HEV launch are forthcoming).
The new Altima will be assembled at the Nissan North America Manufacturing Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi plants.