December 3, 2006

Altima Coupe – What in the World is Nissan Thinking?

Filed under: Nissan News / Infiniti News — greg @ 8:14 pm

“What in the world is Nissan thinking?”

That seemed to be the standard reaction to the news that Nissan is launching the Altima Coupe early this summer.

When we acquired spy shots of Nissan’s two-door version of the Altima, we here at weren’t really sure it made much sense.

However, perhaps it’s not as crazy an idea as it seems:

First officially revealed at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2008 Altima Coupe is Nissan’s first-ever two-door Altima.  The provocative offering boasts a shorter wheelbase, shorter overall length and lower height than its big brother, the Altima Sedan. 

The 2008 Altima Coupe will be available with your choice of two engines:  The  VQ35HR, a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 or the VQ25HR, a  175-horsepower 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder.

Both engine choices can be paired with Nissan’s advanced Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) or, for the true enthusiast, the 6-speed manual transmission.

After seeing it at the L.A. Auto Show, we’re pretty impressed with the looks.  It’s more handsome in person than in the pictures, carrying styling cues from the Z, the G, and even the Maxima, while doing away with the whole “cheap commuter” appearance that plagued prior versions of the Altima.

And the reality is, this car could throw a serious monkey-wrench into the entire sport-coupe market.  We’re all aware that the current Altima SE-R is a capable contender, performing on par with the 350Z and the G35 Coupe.  Now, we’re presented with an Altima that’s blessed with lighter weight, shorter length, and lower height.

We’re already envisioning an SE-R version of this bad boy, with 18″ forged Ray’s wheels, a lowered stance, stiffer suspension, Brembo brakes, upgraded sway bars and dampeners, and perhaps some exterior go-fast cues.  Or how about a NISMO-badged version of this beast?  With the same powerplant as the new 350Z and G35, there’s simply no limit to the possibilities of this coupe, and we could be looking at the next great “sleeper” from Nissan…

Now, who’s going to be the first to drop a twin-turbo or supercharger in one?

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