Our mate at Carscoop calls it a poor man's Infiniti G35, and despite the front-wheel-drive that's probably as accurate a comparison as can be made. Rather than a sawed-off Altima sedan, the new Altima Coupe — coming in mid-2007 as a 2008 model — has its own dimensions. Its wheelbase is four inches shorter than the sedan's, suspension geometry has been altered, and the engine's placed lower in the subframe. According to the press release, Nissan's virtually eliminated torque steer by employing equal-length half-shafts with equal angles, which closer to parallel with the ground. (Mech engineers, feel free to chime in here.) And that's important, because under the hood will be next generation of Nissan's torquey 3.5 liter V6, producing 270 hp — though the 175 hp, 2.5-liter four will likely be standard. More details after the jump.
New Altima Coupe Debuts at Los Angeles Auto Show; Offers Upscale Styling, Sporty Performance, Driver-Oriented Interior and High Quality
The Nissan Altima is a car on the move. With its next generation design for the 2007 model year, Nissan's best-selling vehicle in the United States is poised for even greater success as it establishes segment leadership in style, design, performance and innovation. The next-generation Altima is also expanding its model offerings with a new Altima Hybrid, set to go on sale in select markets in January 2007, and a dramatically styled new Altima Coupe, which will go on sale as a 2008 model in summer 2007.
The Altima Coupe, which made its debut in the shadows of Hollywood at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, fills a desire among target customers for a more personal expression of style, individuality and fashionable appearance. The Altima Coupe's unique exterior design is intended to stand out in a crowd of sedan-based two-door models with magnetic, perfectly proportioned styling with a shorter wheelbase, shorter overall length and lower height than the Altima Sedan.
The smaller size and lighter overall weight also contribute to the Coupe's sportier driving feel - other desired attributes of the typically younger, more performance-oriented coupe buyers.
"Rather than just eliminating two doors from the Altima Sedan, we gave the Altima Coupe its own style, its own dimensions and its own interpretation of Nissan's exhilarating driving pleasure," said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division.
Though the new Altima Coupe shares much with the latest edition of the Altima Sedan, which went on sale in early November 2006, the Coupe's smaller dimensions, driver-oriented cockpit and unique styling give it an extensive amount of separation from the Altima Sedan.
Dimensionally, the Altima Coupe rides on a 105.3-inch wheelbase, a full 4.0 inches shorter than the Sedan. Overall length is 182.5 inches - 7.1 inches less than the Sedan. The Coupe also has a lower profile - at 55.3 inches it is 2.5 inches shorter than the Sedan. In terms of major body panels, the two cars share only a common hood, with all other panels, grille, headlights and rear combination lights unique to the Altima Coupe.
Under the new Altima Coupe's sophisticated exterior design, this latest addition to the Altima family shares the platform, powertrain and user-friendly features and innovations of the new fourth-generation Altima.
"A strong sedan starting point, such as the new Altima, also gives you a tremendous advantage - if you get the basics right, you can focus your efforts on the unique desires of coupe buyers, including wanting a purely personal space," said Bosley.
The Altima Coupe, as part of the fourth-generation Altima design, utilizes Nissan's all-new, highly acclaimed "D" platform with increased body rigidity and a redesigned suspension. This new platform was developed with the objective of making Altima one of the best performing large front-wheel drive vehicles available globally.
New suspension geometry, shock absorbers with rebound springs, engine placement that is lower in the subframe and equal-length half-shafts that have equal angles and are more parallel to the ground all help to virtually eliminate torque steer.
The rear multi-link independent suspension design separates the rear shocks and springs for reduced friction and the shocks are in line with the center of the rear wheels, providing better damping and less harshness. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard. The Altima suspension has been specially tuned for use with the Altima Coupe.
The new Altima Coupe is offered with a choice of two engines and two transmissions. The 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 is the "next generation" version of the 12-time Ward's "10 Best Engines" award-winning VQ-series V6. For use in the Altima Coupe, it is rated at 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and offers strong acceleration and refined sound quality. The V6 features reduced friction, improved cylinder head cooling and new twin knock sensors.
Also available with the new Altima Coupe is a 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve QR25 inline 4-cylinder, producing 175 horsepower (170 hp CAL) and 180 lb-ft of torque (175 lb-ft CAL). This engine has been refined from the previous version, with a larger, equal-length intake manifold, increased compression ratio and reduced friction characteristics. It features a silent chain drive and a balancer system (with balancer changed to a center-mounted location for better NVH) that effectively negates vibrations without taking up much space - combining ideal packaging and smoothness.
Both engines feature continuously variable valve timing, modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons and electronically controlled throttles.
Both the 3.5-liter V6 and 2.5-liter 4-cylinder models are available with Nissan's advanced Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) or 6-speed manual transmissions.
The V6 CVT features a "Sport" mode controller with a high-speed central processing unit and Adaptive Shift Controller with adaptive logic for faster shifting in both normal and manual modes. The adaptive logic feature delivers the best shift pattern based on the driving environment and driver's perceived intentions.
"The driving performance of the Altima Coupe is biased toward sporty feel, especially when equipped with our award-winning V6," said Bosley. "Handling is also a strong point of the new Coupe, as is the responsiveness feeling provided by the Xtronic CVT transmission."
Also contributing to the Altima Coupe's sporty performance feel are a standard twin-orifice vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system and 4-wheel disc brakes with standard 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).
Altima Coupe models with the 4-cylinder engine are equipped with 16-inch wheels and tires, while V6-equipped Altima Coupes come with unique-design 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 215/55R17 tires.
The Altima Coupe's performance feeling is also enhanced by a driver-centered interior. Though sharing much of the design and features with the new Altima Sedan, the Coupe includes unique sport-style front seats with more side support, in-board release lever and front kangaroo pouches. All Altima Coupes also utilize a parking brake hand lever (versus foot release for Altima Sedans with CVT). The Coupe also includes a 60/40 split and flat fold-down rear seat.
Like the Altima Sedan, the Altima Coupe's instrument panel features a Fine Vision gauge display for enhanced readability and the L-shaped flow of the instrument panel to the center console adds to the driver-oriented cockpit feel.
The center console includes a double front cup holder, among the many convenient cup and bottle areas and storage compartments.
The list of impressive passenger amenities includes standard Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition and available Bose -developed audio system with nine speakers, Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and dual-zone automatic temperature control.
The new Altima Coupe also comes equipped with a number of standard safety features, including Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones and Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), which includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags. Also standard are front seat side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection.
Other standard equipment includes front seat Active Head Restraints, the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors and tether system and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).
The 2008 Altima Coupe will be available in four well-equipped models: 2.5 S 6MT, 2.5 S CVT, 3.5 SE 6MT, 3.5 SE CVT.
Available technology features include a RearView Monitor, which utilizes a small camera to help show the view behind the vehicle when in reverse gear, and Nissan Navigation System with a 6.5-inch color monitor.
"Along with the Altima Coupe's extensive list of available features and amenities, it offers one more thing to discerning coupe buyers - the reassurance of Nissan durability, quality and reliability," said Bosley.
The new Altima Coupe will be assembled at the Nissan North America Manufacturing Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee plants.
Altima Coupe becomes the seventh Nissan Altima model, joining the 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 S with SL Package, 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL and Altima Hybrid (Hybrid Electric Vehicle).
"The Altima name and outstanding reputation adds great credibility to the new Altima Coupe - and the Coupe makes the Altima brand stronger by appealing to a new segment of buyers," said Bosley. "And like the Altima Sedan, the new Coupe will be a tremendous value when it goes on sale next summer. If you're looking for style, performance and affordability, the new Altima Coupe delivers."
Spy Photos: 2007 Nissan Altima Coupe [internal]