The eighth-generation “Max” covers a broad spectrum, from well-equipped luxury mount, to agile sport sedan capable of snaking around curves and tackling straightaways at a reasonably rapid pace. Visually, the car displays a level of aggressiveness that makes most other automakers’ luxury sedans appear staid by comparison. The flashy chrome grille, curvaceous body panels and sweeping rear end signal that this Nissan loves flaunting its stuff. Underpinning the attractive body is the next-generation Altima-based architecture that’s lighter as well as 25 percent more rigid. Inside, the controls are straightforward, the “Zero Gravity” front chairs are supportive and the pushbutton starter has migrated to the console right next to the shifter. The Maxima’s V-6 sends 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven built-in steps and “Sport” and “Normal” operating modes. Of the five available trims, the top-end Platinum comes with a drowsy-driver alert that warns if you’re nodding off behind the wheel. For enthusiasts, the sporty SR deletes the moon roof to help lower the car’s center of gravity and maximize structural integrity.
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