When Nissan chose to begin development on the next Maxima, it originally set out to go the safe route of catering towards mass appeal, an effective plan frequently proven successful by Toyota. However, when Nissan brought on former R34 Skyline GT-R product planner, Hiroshi Tamura, to the Maxima team, he gave the company an ultimatum. He believed the company should set the Maxima apart from others in its class by offering an affordable sports sedan with unique styling. The idea meant stepping out of a comfort zone, aiming for core customers left out by other manufacturers' sedans and attempting to create a design that would stand out in a crowd. The final result was unveiled at the 2008 New York Auto Show. Tamura's influence can be seen in the wide fender flares, steering wheel paddle shifters and front grill. As Autoblog comments also suggested, its design evoked great debate on aesthetic acceptance.

The crowd reaction was all fine and dandy with Hiroshi Tamura. His pride and joy, the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, was not a visual pleasure for everyone when it was released. It garnered many a harsh criticism, but that did not hold back its popularity. After all, Tamura is an automotive enthusiast through and through. He holds function over fashion. As a product planner he has strived to put a piece of that passion into all of his projects. While the 2009 Nissan Maxima might not win a beauty contest, it was never meant to – it was meant to perform. Check out the gallery below to see Hiroshi Tamura give us an introduction to Nissan's new sedan. Also take a peak at previous Maxima galleries after the jump.

Related Gallery2009 Nissan Maxima - up close