Nissan has called the fullsize Maxima sedan a four-door sports car since 1988, with the debut of the third-generation model. What little truth existed in that moniker has slowly ebbed away in the ensuing years, with recent iterations only incrementally more sporting than the rest of the big-car segment. That doesn't change for 2016, despite Nissan's continued use of the "4DSC" trademark. But while the new Maxima may be less four-door sports car, it's much more full-on luxury car. That fact is best reflected in the eighth-generation Maxima's handsome new cabin. Particularly on the SR and Platinum trims that we drove, the interior is easily the best in its class. We are impressed by the cabin's soft, handsomely stitched leather, genuine Italian-made Alcantara suede, matte wood, and "liquid" metal trim. The seat inserts on our tester features quilted stitching that looks far more suited to Nissan's premium Infiniti brand, while the threads found on the dash and doors look like they're really there to hold things together – a rarity nowadays. While we question the use of the 4DSC moniker, the layout of the cabin is in line with the Maxima's marketing pitch. The center stack is angled seven degrees towards the driver. Along with the high transmission tunnel, this contributes to the cockpit-like feel of the driver's seat. A fat-rimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel – a first for Nissan – is amply padded, and on the sporty SR, can be had with contrasting Alcantara accents. The small diameter and SR-specific paddles extend the sports car promise. The sculpted, broad-shouldered exterior has the muscle of Nissan's real sports cars, the GT-R and 370Z, but it exceeds both of those in terms of outright attractiveness. Nissan's stylists call the design language "Energetic Flow," but we simply prefer to call the overall look, which borrows heavily from the Sports Sedan Concept, very pretty. If the 2016 Maxima fails to add zest to a staid segment from behind the wheel, at least it brings a serious dose of style to the large sedan clubhouse. Nissan claims class-leading specifics for the latest version of the VQ35 V6, reinforcing the 4DSC promise. There are 86 horsepower per liter, with 300 ponies in total from the 3.5-liter engine. Sixty-one percent of the parts in the latest-generation VQ35 V6 are new, contributing to the 10-hp bump over last year's sedan. The horsepower peaks high in the rev range, at 6,400 rpm, a mere 200 revs below redline. 261 pound-feet of torque can be summoned at 4,400 rpm, just like last year's model. This would be problematic if this new engine droned on or thrashed your ears like its predecessors (or its big brother, the VQ37). The new Bose Active Noise Cancellation system drowns out the engine's unpleasant notes, and instead makes sure things sound smooth and refined. The system uses acoustically opposite tones to drown out bad sounds, just like the noise-cancelling headphones you wear on a plane. Sport Mode – perfect if you want a sharper throttle …
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|MPG||22 City / 30 Hwy|
|Transmission||Xtronic 2-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||300 @ 6400 rpm|
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