NEWS: 2016 Nissan Maxima resurrects the 4DSC

2016 Nissan Maxima 02

Peer closely into the boomerang headlights of the 2016 Nissan Maxima and you will notice an small easter egg: 4DSC. It’s a callback to the now nostalgic 1988-94 Maxima and its subtle window sticker that told the world it was no ordinary sedan; it was a “4-Door Sports Car.” 

1991 Maxima SE J30

It’s a bold claim, but Nissan is hoping that the new eighth-gen Maxima will reignite the models once-sporting image. To be fair, the current Maxima is a totally competent sedan, big and comfortable and with plenty of power for almost any situation; it’s just not a standout in the same way the third-gen was.

2016 Nissan Maxima 4DSC taillight

In addition to the “4DSC” embossed in both the head- and taillights, the 2016 Maxima will also be 82 pounds lighter than the outgoing model but with even more power and luxury amenities. Nissan’s tried-and-true VQ 3.5 is now pushing an even 300hp, the same as the the twin turbo Z32.

2016 Nissan Maxima 01

Styling is taken straight from the Sports Sedan Concept shown a year ago, but toned down a bit and given a production-ready ride height. Many of executive design director Mamoru Aoki’s ideas, like the V-Motion grille and floating roof, made it through. It is the second Nissan to wear this new design language suit, after the recently released Nissan Murano. Blacked out A-pillars are meant to be reminiscent of the R35 GT-R as well.

2016 Nissan Maxima 4DSC shifter

Like the Murano, designers took some inspiration from jet fighters. In the Maxima’s case, it’s the wrap-around dashboard and joystick-like gear selector. Sadly, it selects only one gear because the dreaded Nissan CVT continues onward, which makes the “4DSC” printed on it particularly painful. Nissan says there are “Sport” and “Normal” settings to hold its artificial shift points higher, how that translates to a 4DSC feel remains to be seen. At least you’ll be comfy in sumptuous-looking diamond-quilted seat pattern reminiscent of the Datsun 240Z’s trunk lining.

2016 Nissan Maxima interior02

The Maxima was always a notch above its competition back in the day. Armed with a 190hp V6, it was more powerful than the Accord or 626, but handled better than a six-pot Camry. It was pretty good competition for the BMW 325i, even. Nissan does say that the Maxima lapped Buttonwillow faster than a new 328i, so there’s that. The 2016 Maxima goes on sale in June. We shall see if it lives up to the 4DSC name.

1991 Maxima image courtesy of Nissan.

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37 Responses to NEWS: 2016 Nissan Maxima resurrects the 4DSC

  1. Serg says:

    It looks very much like a Mazda 6….

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the Maxima has been an underrated saloon but I think it needs to be something very potent performance wise to lure buyers away from the skyactiv side, and nissan have a habit of making good power then loading on the weight so it never actually counts….

  2. r100guy says:

    …….A Mazda6 very ugly sister! Is that a wart on its nose?

  3. TE72_Sunny says:

    My brother owned a 92 Nissan Maxima and boy did that VG engine had power, but handling was superior especially with a set of eibach springs he installed, incredible! That was indeed a 4DSC.

  4. Dankan says:

    It doesn’t look all that great, and I don’t really understand why I would want to buy this.

    What am I supposed to choose this instead of? A German “premium” car? What about Infiniti?

    This seems like a company not wanting to kill a model which has outlived its usefulness/market niche.

    • wantyerknobbies says:

      Hmm, well it answers the Avalon, well sorta: Avalon is more of a Buick. So perhaps the Maxima serves as a “don’t settle for an Altima since you can afford higher monthly payments”?

      Demographics not taken into account (the fact that former Maxima onwers now drive Murano’s–unless the salesman is able to convince them they need a sedan not an suv…

      • Randy says:

        Depends on the profit margin…

      • Dankan says:

        But if you can afford the higher payments, doesn’t Nissan really want you to step into an Infiniti?

        In theory this answers the Avalon, but that thing is the ES300 for people smart enough to not go to the Lexus dealer (which is almost no one at this point).

        It just seems like a car out of place. The Maxima made sense when Nissan wasn’t trying to use Infiniti as the up-market brand. But with Infiniti right there, this makes no sense.

        • Randy says:

          I’m just curious: what do you mean by: “smart enough to not go to the Lexus dealer?”

          I’m not disagreeing; just wondering…

          I actually like them in the luxury class – except for the ’61 Plymouth grille design.

          BTW, I liked the Plymouth; doesn’t mean I want everybody to look the same.

          • dankan says:

            The Avalon is basically a Lexus ES for a discount. Although many find the interior on the Avalon actually nicer.

            Both the Maxima and Avalon are part of a dying breed though. Full-size sedans from mainstream brands don’t sell well anymore. Big crossovers took their place.

          • Randy says:

            I *THINK* the whole crossover thing is a result of the cars getting smaller – including the “full-size” ones. A couple of neighbors have SUVs and pickups, and the interiors are roughly like what we had in traditional full-size American cars – like a ’74 Buick, rather than a ’94, but with more cargo space. Traditional American full-size towing capacity, versus the 1,000 limit of a new car. Gee; they’re station wagons, but nobody seems to want to buy a station wagon… Go figure.

            To me, the biggest mistake Nissan made was when they made it and the Altima almost the same car… I think THAT’S when it became more superfluous. Shoulda kept the Altima one step down, and the Z engine in the Max, like in “the good old days.” They dropped the formula; gave us “New Nissan,” rather than “Nissan Classic.”

        • wantyerknobbies says:

          Not if you’re already at the Nissan dealer…. they certainly don’t want to send your businesss to Infiniti
          Until Nissan treats the Altima as it’s USDM flagship the Maxi must exist

          • dankan says:

            That Nissan dealer also likely owns the Infiniti dealership as well. But can mark up the G, Q or whatever they call the Skyline nowadays. They’ll need to discount that Maxima a whole lot to move it.

          • wantyerknobbies says:

            @dankan plz try not to overuse devils advocate lol

      • Randy says:

        Hey wantyerknobbies –

        Funny you’d compare the Avalon to a Buick. There was a comparo back when, between it, the Chrysler 300 (that won), and I think it was a Lacrosse, and that was EXACTLY what they said, even to the point of the dashboard reminding them of late-’60s/early-’70s GM; specifically Buick.

        I think it was Car and Driver…

    • Randy says:

      Why would you go German? I was reading about VW’s new wagon, and SOOOOOO many of the comments involved things that go bad after 40K, and the co$t to repair them…

      Now Infiniti… Maybe…

      • wantyerknobbies says:

        Go German if your employee benefits include monthly cost of lease for one
        Then offload it at lease end before it falls apart

      • Dankan says:

        But VW isn’t the competition, “entry-level” Mercedes/BMW/Audi is. And they run on the Lease, then CPO business model.

        Nissan doesn’t have the brand cachet, so this thing isn’t going to do much volume.

        • Randy says:

          I knew a couple of people who either have or had Benzes. I’m seriously NOT impressed… One had that thing getting alignments and such done several times a year, and trust me: she has no concept of what drifting is, and I know her neighborhood; their roads aren’t that bad. The other – a relative – told me about the costs of ANY repairs. Ridiculous.

          I doubt “Bimmers” are much better.

          Audi? Dunno… Price-prohibitive. Doesn’t VW own Audi anyway, so there could be a comparison there… More money doesn’t necessarily mean actually better components. I learned THAT expensive little lesson via GM.

          I will agree though, that if your company is paying for it, hey, go nuts.

          • dankan says:

            I can agree with all of that. Average car buyers don’t, however.

            They seek that status that comes with the most expensive German car their credit rating will enable them to lease.

            If someone buys this Maxima, they’ll be getting a very rare car.

  5. Randy says:

    Looks good in that red; not crazy about the grey interior in the grey one. Just tired of grey.

    The ’89 still looks good.

    Here’s the deal, Nissan: until further information/notice comes out, I’m still going to HONDA for an Accord with either engine and a STICK, or MAZDA for a 6 with a STICK. It gives a car a more SPORTS CAR-like persona.

    • wantyerknobbies says:

      Barking up the wrong tree… Accord & 6 match the Altima not the Maxi

      • Randy says:

        Yeah, but I’m looking to DRIVE. Altima gots no stick, either. Even the coupe didn’t have one… Of course, it had no advertising, either…

        You wanna call it a “sports car,” give me something that ENGAGES me.

  6. m1abrams says:

    In their attempts to follow other well received car designs, Nissan’s identity appears to be melting into that collective.

  7. Lupus says:

    It’s a big shame that the 3rd gen Maxima’s are almost extinct here, in Europe. I wanted to buy such one, for daily use, but there are none for sale in acceptable condiotion. They were that good that most people drived them to death. But there is still plenty of comperable Camrys around. I will need to go for VX10.

  8. Taylor says:

    As a car enthusiast, I’m very excited to be around during the rise of a new motoring era. It seems to me that auto manufacturers have finally caught on to what people want in terms of styling. Ever since the late 70’s early 80’s car manufacturers have been building relatively bland, and even downright hideous cars. From about 1990 up until now those cars have still been rather drab, but the engineering has come leaps and bounds. NOW, manufacturers have gotten their shit together and have begun to make really good looking cars, it only took 30 plus years, but i think that nearly every company is making cars that generally look good across the board; Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, Bmw, Chevy, Dodge and Ford to name a few. Just take a minute to think about the line ups these companies have, there are some great looking cars in them and with great engineering to back them up. One company that, for some reason cant get their shit together, is Nissan (in my opinion). The majority of the Nissan lineup is pretty terrible looking, excluding the GTR, which isn’t all that invigorating in terms of styling. Anyway that’s my two cents, Get your shit together Nissan!

  9. Yoda says:

    Interesting since the Civic looks to be going into a sportier direction too and is gaining a hatchback model as well.

    • Randy says:

      Apparently, the hatch has been available in Europe for a couple of years already. I cannot fathom why they didn’t shoot a few of them over here. I keep hearing that hatches aren’t that popular here, but if they send a few CKDs over here and have the local factory finish them out, I don’t see it being a problem.

      I think they’re neat looking; I’d certainly consider it.

  10. Drive510 says:

    Great looking car, but if it’s still FWD, I think Nissan missed the mark. Rebadge and bring the price down on a Q50 (328hp) and then they’ll peak my interest.

  11. Craig says:

    WHAT IF_ Nissan fired all their designers and hired some new ones that could design cars that didn’t make people want to gouge their eyes out with a spoon.

  12. Ryan says:

    As a former 3rd gen Maxima owner, none of the newer Maximas can compare to the 3rd gen’s great handling out of the box. Sure, the newer ones have more power and handled nicely, but they are not as tossable as the 3rd gens.

    A lot of 3rd and 4th gen Maxima owners switched to the 2002+ Altima with V6 + 5MT.

    FYI, 3rd gens are model years 1989-94.

  13. Clay Czar says:

    The CVT rules out the 4DSC. My Mazda6 may have 100+ fewer horses, but it has a 6-speed manual, and that gives it way more sport credibility, IMHO. Bet it handles better, too.

  14. Iwakuni91 says:

    Why in the world would I buy a Maxima when I could get a Hyundai Genesis?
    Rear-wheel drive? Check
    Regular Unleaded? Check (I’m cheap)
    43 more horses under the hood? Check
    Room for my 6’2 8th grade son in the back seat? Check
    All things being equal, If these two cars were within $2,000 or even $3,000 of each other, which would you buy?

  15. automagic says:

    The third gen was a good maxima, but the best are from 2002-2003 or 5.5 gen. Sure it was still front wheel drive with a torsion beam rear suspension; but you got a six speed manual, modern VQ35 and was the last maximas to be built in Japan.

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