When the J30 Maxima debuted in 1989 Nissan employed a clever little bit of marketing by calling it the “4DSC,” or “four door sports car.” Now the automaker is invoking the spirit of Nissans past in it’s new Sport Sedan Concept, unveiled today at Detroit.
Nissan first teased this car on New Year’s Eve. Though reps would not confirm nor deny whether the SSC was indeed the next Maxima, it does point the way for what it might look like, because the SCC will define Nissan’s design language for all its upcoming models.
We spoke to Executive Chief Designer Mamoru Aoki at a pre-Detroit showing of the SSC and asked him what these design elements are. First and foremost is the new “floating roof,” defined by C-pillars that don’t resemble pillars at all. Instead, they’re shaped like bridge abutments and are blacked out at the base to give the illusion that the roof is hovering a centimeters above the body.
Up front, there’s what Aoki calls the V-motion grille, a large chrome peace gesture encapsulating the Nissan hamburger. Though Nissan has already begun using this grille on other models like the Rogue and Murano, the SSC’s is larger and significantly more prominent. The V’s arms also continue past the grille to define the edges of the hood.
Boomerang head and taillights that first appeared on the previous-gen Maxima and 370Z continue to be a recurring theme, but are now better integrated to the grille.
The side of the SSC features a prominent character line that angles downward across the front fender before kicking back up towards the rear. Reminiscent of the R35 GT-R, Aoki calls this the “sonic pulse,” which as Datsun 510 fanatics know, takes its name from the “supersonic line” found on the O.G. Nissan sport sedan.
Of course, the 510, or Bluebird as it’s known in Japan, eventually became the Maxima here in the US starting in 1981. Over the years its position as Nissan’s bread-and-butter sedan has been ceded to the Altima, leaving the Maxima as something of a larger, floatier, outlier in the lineup. By naming the Sport Sedan Concept as such, Nissan says it aims to recapture “the essence of a true sports sedan – that rare execution of 4-door sedan with the aura of a real sports car.”
Nissan didn’t hint at any specs, but the proportions are definitely front-wheel-drive. Still, we wouldn’t discount Nissan’s commitment to injecting some sportiness into whatever car the SSC turns out to be. An FF layout didn’t stop the original 4DSC from being widely regarded as powerful and fun to drive. Heck, even John Morton owns one. For those truly itching for an affordable RWD Nissan, you know which door to knock on.