All-New Nissan Altima Gets AWD And Variable Compression Turbo Engine (With Video)

All-new Altima gains sporty, dynamic styling, world's first VC-Turbo engine, and AWD.

Nissan has unveiled at the New York Auto Show the all-new, sixth generation Nissan Altima midsize sedan. Nissan says the debut of the all-new Altima will “reinvigorate interest in midsize sedans.” With it comes an all-new dynamic design, and Nissan’s first application of its Variable Compression Turbo engine in a Nissan, as the engine first debuted in the Infiniti QX50.

That aim for reinvigoration starts with its dynamic and sporty design. “When we originally started designing the next generation of the Altima, it was still the company’s best-selling nameplate in the critical U.S. market, so there wasn’t much pressure to make radical changes,” explained Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president, Global Design, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “Then our own Rogue took off, drawing in new customers unlike anything we’d experienced before. This gave us the opportunity to rethink the Altima outside the traditional sedan design box and create something more exciting and yet more sophisticated.”

Nissan’s designers centered around the theme of “structural beauty”, represented by lean, strong designs to create an “energetic and emotional flow.” This were expressed through the Altima’s sharp lines, longer, lower, and leaner proportions. Nissan says they drew inspiration from “today’s slim, tailored men’s and women’s suits that project a sleeker, sharper modern style.” Nissan’s distinct details, such s the V-motion grille, floating roof, and boomerang LED head and tail lights, have been sculpted and streamlined for a more dynamic look.

Inside, the interior was designed to have a sense of “barrier-free togetherness”, which is expressed through an overall shape that creates a feeling of openness and being part of the car’s visual aesthetic. A mixture of soft touch materials, shiny and matte chrome accents creates a combination of a sporty and sophisticated look inside the Altima. Front and center is a new 8-inch NissanConnectSM infotainment display with multi-touch gestures. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes as standard. Meanwhile, a 7-inch TFT LCD multi-info display is sandwiched in between the two gauges, displaying information in a crisp, clear, and legible manner. Nissan’s trademark NASA-inspired Zero Gravity Seats gets the addition of dual-density foam and added bolstering for better support when cornering.

“So many elements contribute to the new Altima making the driver feel confident and in control – from the firm hold of the seats to the direct response of the engine and transmission, the reduced eye movement of the intuitive meters and controls, the high quality materials and fit-and-finish, and the Intelligent Driving technologies that are always ready when needed,” added Albaisa.

Powering the Nissan Altima are two engine choices. A 2.5 liter inline-4 direct injection engine comes as standard, which produces 188 hp and 244 Nm of torque. The other is the world’s first Variable Compression Turbo petrol engine, which first debuted in the Infiniti QX50. The Variable Compression Ratio engine’s compression ratio ranges from 8:1 to 14:1, and it enables the engine to offer better fuel efficiency or more power by varying the engine’s compression ratio. This VC-Turbo engine produces 248 hp and 370 Nm of torque. Power is sent through an XTRONIC CVT, with an expanded lock-up area for greater fuel efficiency. Paddle shifters available to the SR variant. For the first time ever, Nissan is offering AWD as an option only with the 2.5 liter inline-4 engine.

“We saw that the lack of available all-wheel drive has been a key factor in pushing U.S. buyers who prefer sedans to compact SUVs,” said Le Vot. “Of the top three selling midsize sedans in the U.S., only Altima will offer all-wheel drive. We expect this to be a key sales driver, especially for customers in the northern part of the country.”

As with many modern cars nowadays, the Nissan Altima can be fitted with a slew of active driver safety features under the Nissan Intelligent Mobility umbrella. This is highlighted by the semi-autonomous ProPILOT Assist. Under certain driving conditions, such as on a highway, the system can greatly reduce the steering, acceleration, and braking inputs needed by the driver. For the first time ever, the Nissan Altima comes with Rear Automatic Braking, which automatically stops the vehicle when the driver fails to react when a rear collision is imminent. This comes in conjunction with the rest of Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and High Beam Assist (HBA).

The Nissan Altima will hit North American showrooms in the early summer of 2018, and Nissan will be selling an exclusive Launch Edition that’s based on a fully-optioned Platinum VC-Turbo variant.

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