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2016 Nissan Maxima Tech Highlights

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/3/2015 Frank Markus

When Maxima product manager Vishnu Jayamohan brought a 2016 Nissan Maxima to the Detroit area for a ride and drive, he sat down with your resident pocket-protected nerditor to list some of the highlights of his engineering team’s work. Much of their efforts were focused on lightening and improving the performance of the brand’s sedan flagship to ensure it earned the right to wear those “4DSC” (4-Door Sports Car) badges, of which we counted five on the one example fitted with an accessory shift-knob.

Keep reading for tech highlights of the new 2016 Nissan Maxima.

Engine

MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image The new Maxima’s VQ35 engine is starting to sound like grandpa’s hammer — you know, the one that’s had four new heads and three new handles but is still the same? This time around 61 percent of the parts are new. Starting at the top, the intake runners are shorter and wider for improved flow. Moving down, we find most of the new part numbers in the cylinder heads and valvetrain, which is pretty much all-new and reconfigured to encourage a high degree of tumble airflow. Not only that, but the exhaust valves are also sodium-filled — just like on the GT-R and other high-end sports cars. (Under hard running, the sodium melts, transferring a lot of heat out of the combustion chamber and into the stems.) The chains driving the valvetrain are also redesigned with a special low-friction design. Moving down into the engine, the piston skirts are now anodized, and the piston rings receive a diamond-like coating treatment, all to reduce friction. The oil pan is revised with additional ribbing to reduce noise transmission. And finally, downstream of the engine are new high-flow monolith catalytic converters that reduce exhaust back pressure.


Transmission

MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image Reduced friction is the name of the game in the transaxle, too, where a new Luk pull chain now transmits the torque with considerably less friction. A switch to a smaller oil pressure pump and lower viscosity transmission fluid also contributes to what is an overall friction reduction of 40 percent. The ratio spread is also increased from 5.4 to 6.3. The wider that spread, the more a car benefits from increased torque multiplication for strong launch feel on the low end and reduced engine speed (and increased engine load) at highway speeds for improved fuel economy.


Chassis/Suspension

2016 Nissan Maxima© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Nissan Maxima The 25 percent boost in chassis rigidity is achieved thanks to greater use of 1.2 gPA high-strength steel in the A- and B-pillars, a new rear brace that bolsters lateral stiffness by 27 percent, and a redesigned strut-tower brace that boosts front lateral stiffness by 8 percent while weighing 2.2 pounds less. This added strength provides a better foundation on which to build improved ride quality and handling response, both of which are enhanced by a switch to ZF Sachs monotube shocks. The base S, SV, SL, and Platinum models are optimized for ride, and the SR tackles the latter, giving credence to the revived “four-door sports car” moniker Nissan is reviving with this eighth-gen Maxima. Tuning tweaks that separate the SR include a fatter front anti-roll bar (26.2mm versus 24.2mm), 28 percent stiffer springs, and the addition of an engine-note-enhancing feature to the Bose noise-canceling system when switching the Integrated Dynamics Control switch from Normal to Sport.

2016 Nissan Maxima Tech Highlights

Another IDC feature that’s unique to the SR is called Active Ride Control and uses tiny brake pulses of the brakes to help vector the car through corners and (more uniquely) to settle the car after a series of undulations, simulating the effect of variable damping by using the brakes. To reiterate, variable damping is not offered on any Maxima. The other IDC parameters affected on all Maximas include throttle response, transmission ratio logic, and steering assist level. (Sport mode steering feels much heavier in the SR, but we’re told that’s just because its 245/40R19 rubber is more aggressive than the 245/45R18 footwear on the others.) Finally, in an effort to reduce the ride penalty exacted by the SR model’s chassis hardware tightening, a chassis damper like the one used on the 370Z NISMO is attached between the front frame rails. These rails barely move, but this damper manages to absorb much of the vibration energy entering the front suspension and prevent it from disturbing the occupants. 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum

2016 Nissan Maxima© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Nissan Maxima
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