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Nissan Sport Sedan Concept angles for a more forceful Maxima

Steve Siler
January 13, 2014

Nissan wowed the 2014 Detroit auto show crowds with its striking orange Sport Sedan Concept. The swoopy, orange four-door is the third in Nissan’s series of show cars signaling Nissan’s new design direction, this time showing how it looks in family sedan guise. And by family sedan, we mean the next-generation Maxima, which is expected to appear by the end of the year styled very much in the ilk of the not-so-cleverly named, four-passenger concept car you see here.

However little effort Nissan put into naming the Sport Sedan Concept, it sure worked hard styling it. The front end is dominated by a protuberant metallic V-shaped bar poking through what’s essentially a large hole in the orange bodywork. Boomerang-shaped combination headlamps reach halfway up the hood and contain LED daytime running lamps on their inner edge flanked by quad LED primary bulbs. Numerous carbon fiber panels, ancillary lights and no fewer than six grille apertures with various mesh textures also clutter up the nose.

The sculpted bodysides are defined by a hard line that drops down aft of the front fenders, then continues back to the rear wheel opening. Two more hard lines appear elsewhere, one in the lower doors and another above the rear haunches.

Out back, the ducktail decklid hearkens to several new Lexuses while a darkened, diffuser-esque lower bumper molding with triangular exhaust tips appears to stretch the bumper at the edges, giving it a bit of flab on an otherwise beautifully sculpted body. The floating roof look, we’re told, will become common to all Nissan sedans.

We’re also told that, other than minor bits like door handles and mirrors and the rather awesome 21-inch wheels, most of the concept car’s styling elements will make it to the production model. We hope that includes the lustrous “Strad Amber” paint, which was “inspired by the craftsmanship and rich finish of noted classic violins” and starts with a base coat of gold paint with an orange-amber topcoat. In pictures, it looks good. In person, it’s spectacular.

Nissan didn’t provide many details about what’s under the Sport Sedan Concept’s swoopy skin, other than to say that it is front-wheel drive, and is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with over 300 hp mated to a paddle-shifted CVT and features an “innovative suspension layout” with performance dampers. For reference, the 2014 Maxima is powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a CVT and front-wheel drive. Hopefully there will be more innovation under the skin once the production model arrives.

The Sport Sedan Concept is all rather extreme and a bit messy, but as a show car, it looks pretty amazing. And alas, toned down a bit for production, it could still be quite attractive. We shall see early next year when the next-generation Maxima is shown for the first time.