The iconic Nissan Maxima, the original and continuing 4-Door Sports Car™, once again in 2011 fuses the soul of a sports car with the practicality of a sedan. With its breakthrough sports sedan styling, refined interior and a range of available advanced technology features, Maxima provides passengers with ample comfort and luxury while also creating a thrilling, sporty feel for the driver. Maxima is again offered in two well-equipped models, Maxima 3.5 S and Maxima 3.5 SV, each equipped with a responsive 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and Xtronic CVT™ transmission.
“In Maxima, elegance has an edge. From its crisp bodylines to its razor-sharp performance, Maxima stands out against a field of vanilla-flavored mid-size sedans,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “As the flagship of our sedan lineup, Maxima continues to exemplify the Nissan brand with its unmatched combination of style, performance, comfort, technology and value.”
For 2011, Maxima adds a few new touches, such as the fine-tuning of its color palette and available Sport Package option. Revisions include new rolled edge tailpipe finisher; new smoked headlights (Sport models); new dark chrome grille (Sport models); and unique shiny gray interior stitching (Sport models). Also added are two new exterior colors: Brilliant Silver and Metallic Slate.
“Liquid Motion” Exterior Styling Creates a Dynamic Presence
On the road or standing still, Maxima offers a dynamic presence that clearly distinguishes it from other mid-size sedans. With an exterior design theme that its creators call “Liquid Motion,” Maxima’s exterior is highlighted by the flow of its powerful and beautiful surfaces, like the undulation of a wave. The look starts with Maxima’s aggressive stance and powerful fender volume, which is not unlike that of many exotic sports cars.
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. Maxima’s aggressive performance stance is created by its sporty proportions – a careful balance between wheelbase and overall length, along with a wide front and rear track. The look is accented by 18-inch and available 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with low-profile performance tires.
Maxima’s exterior also 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 (with smoke-colored headlights and a new dark chrome grille available with the optional Sport Package), 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. At the rear, Maxima features a 12-LED L-shaped taillight design, with a pair of side marker bulbs for added visibility during night driving.
Another unique styling feature is the available Dual Panel Moonroof, which combines a front section that moves like a normal moonroof (positioned farther forward than typical) and 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. It is offered as part of the Premium Package.
Maxima is available in a choice of nine exterior colors: Mystic Jade, Crimson Black, Brilliant Silver, Metallic Slate, Super Black, Tuscan Sun, Navy Blue, Ocean Gray and Winter Frost.
True Sports Sedan Performance
In creating driving performance worthy of Nissan’s flagship, the Maxima 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 (versus the previous generation Maxima) helped achieve these targets, including increasing body rigidity and adjusting the wheelbase and track dimensions.
Utilizing Nissan’s advanced “D platform” as its foundation, Maxima features a standard 3.5-liter VQ-series V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. The engine includes 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. Maxima also utilizes a six-point engine mounting system, which 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 2011 Maximas come equipped with a refined Xtronic CVT™ with manual mode, tuned specifically for Maxima’s sporty driving character. For drivers seeking more aggressive shift operation, “Ds mode” (drive sport) electronic control logic programming provides increased acceleration feel with higher engine revolutions, automatic engine braking and maintaining engine speed during cornering. Available steering column-mounted paddle shifters allow for manual transmission-like shift changes while the driver’s hands remain on the wheel.
Maxima’s 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 provide front body rigidity for suspension mounting. Maxima’s 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 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 vented 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). Maxima also features a Twin Orifice Power Steering (TOPS) vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system with the quickest steering ratio of any Nissan sedan (15.2:1) to help provide its sporty steering feel. A strut tower brace contributes to Maxima’s steering precision and rigidity.
Every 2011 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.
A Roomy, Driver-Oriented Interior
Maxima’s interior design provides the feeling of a sports car with controls ergonomically close, yet with ample roominess and comfort for both driver and passengers. The instrument panel features “Daytime Illumination” electroluminescent meters, with a rotated tachometer so engine redline is placed at the 12 o’clock position, and extensive use of chrome surrounds for the gauges, vent rings, vent knobs and audio switches. The three-spoke steering wheel is sport-oriented and its diameter has been reduced (compared with the previous generation Maxima). Maxima Sport and Premium Package models feature a unique “parallel” pattern steering wheel stitching (versus the traditional baseball-style stitching) for enhanced grip. A unique shiny gray stitch color is now included with the Sport Package.
The driver’s seat includes an available manual thigh extension for long distance driving and additional padding in the side bolsters for good lateral support during sporty driving. 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 functions. 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 (Premium Package). Two interior colors are offered: Café Latté and Charcoal.
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, Nissan Intelligent Key™ with Push Button Ignition, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD6/MP3 audio system with eight speakers, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System and available USB connectivity.
Maxima comes equipped with standard Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front supplemental air bags, seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor. Front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection are also standard, along with front-seat Active Head Restraints, 3-point rear seat belts for all seating positions, front seat belts with pretensioners, load limiters and 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). Maxima also features standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
Maxima received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) highest rating, 5 stars, for front- and side-impact crash safety (2010 model).*
Two Well-Equipped Models
The 2011 Maxima is offered in two well-equipped models. In addition to the long list of standard features found on every Maxima 3.5 S model, Maxima 3.5 SV adds leather-appointed sport seats, Bose® premium audio system with nine speakers (including two subwoofers and a center channel speaker), XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), 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 feature, automatic entry/exit system with two-driver memory, heated front seats and steering wheel, paddle shifters, metallic finish trim, premium leather-appointed seats, plus new smoked headlight covers and dark chrome grille.
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 feature, 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, 2.0GB Music Box® (800MB for music storage), RearView Monitor and more.
Tech Packages are available for Maxima SV, SV Sport and SV Premium and include an advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with Voice Recognition, 9.3GB Music Box® Hard Drive, XM NavTraffic® with Real-Time Traffic Information, XM NavWeather™ (XM® subscription required, sold separately), Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, 7.0-inch touch screen color monitor and DVD playback capability. Other available packages include a Monitor Package, High Intensity Discharge (HID) Xenon Headlight, Cold Package and 19-inch Summer Tires.
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*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side air bags.