We don’t completely agree with Nissan’s claim that the Maxima is a sport sedan—its too soft and lacks the ultimate agility that aligns with the best of that breed, but we will go along with the idea that it’s a sporty sedan. We appreciate its potent V-6 engine, well-tuned ride, and plush interior. For 2021, the Nissan Maxima gets a little but sweeter—but no sportier—thanks a new special edition celebrating the nameplate’s 40th anniversary in the U.S.
We know, right—can you believe the Maxima’s been around for four decades? It indeed has, launching as a trim of the Datsun 810 in 1981 and subsequently becoming Nissan’s longest-running nameplate in America, and this special version of the current, eighth-generation car features a variety of cosmetic updates. On the outside, the Maxima 40th Anniversary package snags unique Ruby Slate Gray paint with a contrasting black roof, as well as blacked-out exhaust finishers, trim, and badges. The 19-inch wheels are exclusive to this car, and they’re black, too, because of course.
As for the rest of the kit, the 2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition builds on the top-dog Platinum grade, and features similar upgrades to that trim’s Reserve package. The goodies include quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats—in this case in dark red and with debossed 40th anniversary logos—heated rear seats, red contrast stitching, Satin Dark Chrome accents, and white speedometer and tachometer faces that throw back to previous Maxima models.
Like the rest of the Maxima lineup, the 40th anniversary edition gets 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque from a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 engine that works through a standard, well-programmed CVT. (Another tick against its sport-sedan aspirations: no available manual transmission.) In a recent First Test, a Maxima Platinum Reserve ran from zero to 60 mph in a respectable six seconds flat, which is to say most drivers will find the Maxima to be plenty powerful.
Outside of the 40th model, buyers of 2021 Maximas will once again be able to select from SV, SR, and Platinum trims. Prices will be announced closer to the sedan’s release date this fall, but is the 40th tickles your fancy, we figure you’re going to need to budget at least $40,000.