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New York show: Nissan’s Oz-bound Altima outed

Outed: The new Nissan Altima has emerged before its New York public reveal this week.

Nissan Altima emerges ahead of Big Apple debut and 2013 launch in Australia

4 Apr 2012

THE American-developed sedan that will carry Nissan’s hopes for resurgence in the medium-car market in Australia against the likes of the Toyota Camry and Mazda6 has broken cover ahead of its global launch at the New York motor show this week.

The front-drive 2013 Altima – replacing the current Japanese-made Maxima from the second half of next year – also has been confirmed as Nissan’s entrant in Australia’s premier racing category, V8 Supercars, hitting the track several months before its arrival in the showrooms.

As GoAuto reported exclusively last month, the Altima race car will be powered by a race-modified 5.6-litre V8 from Nissan’s light trucks such as the US-built Titan and new Patrol, reduced to 5.0-litres and driving through the rear wheels.

However, there will be no V8 in sight in the production car, which will get a direct-injected 125kW 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – codenamed QR25 – in the entry models and the carryover 3.5-litre V6 from the current Maxima in the upscale variants.

Both will be mated to a new-generation, low-friction continuously variable transmission (CVT). No manual will be available.

12 center imageAs well, a hybrid model is on the agenda, although that is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

The Altima will go into production next month in Nissan’s American factories in Tennessee and Mississippi, with exports headed for a whopping 45 countries.

For the new car, Nissan has effectively merged the Altima and Maxima – known as the Teana in Japan –on a new D-category platform to cover the medium and large-car territories.

A new multi-link rear suspension system has been devised for the Altima, which American magazine Motor Trend - which carried pictures and details of the car ahead of its official launch at New York in the early hours of Thursday – says provides an element of passive rear steering.

As well, Nissan engineers have added what they call Active Understeer Control – an electronic control that brakes the inside front wheel in cornering to discourage understeer.

The smooth new body – adopting a fairly standard take on current Nissan design language – is said to be more aerodynamic than before, at 0.299Cd.

Among the hi-tech features to be offered in the US – and possibly Australia – are a wide-angle rear camera that doubles as a blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems.

With such an export focus out of Nissan USA, the cars to land in Australian showrooms appear set to be sourced from America, alongside the next-generation Pathfinder also due Down Under next year.

The Altima will be tasked with lifting Nissan’s family sedan presence in Australia well above the levels set by the Maxima, which achieved less than 2000 units last year.

Rather than compete against large cars and lower-end luxury vehicles, the new Altima will be aimed at the medium segment, particularly imports such as the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo and, from next year, the Holden Malibu.

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