In Reply to: My opinions on a Maxima posted by FS on March 05, 1999 at 22:25:09:
: Hi Andi,
: I think the maxima is a very nice car, but i don't think it would fit in in that comparison test for one main reason you said- it is too big. i saw the new one in C&D and i think they really messed it up. You being a Maxima SE owner, tell me what you think of the new one. Do you think it looks nice?
The grill is way too big. They destroyed the beautiful rear window arch a la BMW. The new ass is just weird. I like the Japanese version (which I wager is identical to the upcoming Infiniti I30) a lot more:
Front end looks civilized (i.e. non-Chrysler) at least, and the rear end is nice & fat like our Millenia S.
: Another thing- i have driven the SE model, and it handled relatively well, but in my opinion did not compare to the 3 series with sport suspension.
But the tested 3 had a non-sport suspension.. and I think a Maxima SE could handle at least close to that car's level..
: I think it too large to be a true sport sedans. Sport sedans, to be sucesful, should have:
: a. compact size- not too small, but just big enough. I think the E46 is almost perfect in this area. Here the maxima looses.
I agree. You all know I have the same dream as Bruce to get an '01 ///E46 (although it's probably more financially feasible for Bruce than for me :-( ). But I don't think the Maxima is *THAT* big. Wheelbase is the same as a 3-series. There's about 10" too much in front of the front wheels, but that doesn't matter that much really.. and it's still 100-200lbs lighter than a 3. (3009 pounds).
: b. a powerful engine- 323i does pretty well here, but the 2.8 328i does even better. The new Maxima is supposed to have 220+ horsepower, so it should do well here, also
Indeed. This is the Maxima's strong point. Even the current exgine is excellent, and I think the new one will be nothing short of killer. I expect the next Maxima to have 0-60 times in the flat to low 6's and mid-to-high 14's in the quarter mile.
: c. good handling- depends on suspension setup, overall size of car and tires. The test car was a budget model, with those cheap 15s. Had it had the sport package tires and suspension (Yes, i know this would have driven the price to about $30k), it would have done very well in handling
Sure. Lots of people diss the Maxima's beam axle rear suspension, but the Maxima's multilink-beam has a scott-russell link (not the conventional panhard rod) that doesn't have any lateral motion, only up and down. Also no positive camber due to body lean like a regular IRS. Sure, an double A-Arm all around setup is better, but the Maxima's design is adequate. And (sorry for going into modified territory here) a Maxima with Eibachs & Tokicos like mine will handle pretty damned well. Reason I bring this up is because I view the SVT Contour to have kind of the same modification, i.e. really stiff springs & shocks.
: d. a good price- this is probably the E46s main downfall. It has a decent price, but alot of stuff is optional, and that all adds up quick. this is where A4s and others start to shine. The maxima is relatively well priced, too.
The 323i is very well priced at least compared to the 328i. The 328i, although very nice, is way overpriced. You can get an ///M3 for that money.
The Maxima has too high of an MSRP (touching 30 now for a loaded one) but hell, you can get $6000 off MSRP if you're good at negotiating (and at least $4000 even if you're not). Damn, that sure bites for current owners like me how don't have a dime of resale value.
: My summary- The maxima is a larger sport sedan. It is a more affordable, more roomy (for those with larger kids) and offers good performance. Overall a good deal, but i still prefer giving up a little rear seat room and length for that added RWD sportiness, and the overall BMW sporty feeling.
I still think it would have faired better than all the other FWD offerings in that test. It's softly sprung (it's only downfall IMHO) but it still handles better than the other FWD offerings. Too bad it comes with awful tires from the factory (that hurts it in the numbers).
: 99 323i Sport
: : I think the 323i in that test looked pretty nice actually, except for those fugly wheels. The 323i accelerated pretty well (about how I figured it would numerically), and the handling was merely a result of those gawd-auful 15" tires.
: : I do think they should have included a Maxima SE in that test though. 190hp, 0-60 in 6.6, lots of room (it woulda won that rear seat room test easily, as well as the engine ratings), and "adequate" stock handling (although I readily admit that any bimmer short of a 7 series will outhandle a *stock* Maxima). I think the Maxima would've placed #3, because it has an edge over all testers in acceleration and room (and IMHO it's already too damned big and Nissan are idiots for making the 2000 model even bigger!), but is outgunned in handling because of its softass springs & shocks.
: : --Andi
: : : Get the wheel covers instead of alloys.
: : : Get the cassette deck.
: : : Get the Xenons.
: : : Keep the Black Paint that makes the car look like a jellybean.
: : : Keep the Sand High-Gloss Trim.
: : : Keep the oversized multi-function steering wheel.
: : : Keep the standard seats in Sand Leatherette
: : : Don't get the Fog lights.
: : : Don't get the Armrest
: : : Keep the front license plate on.
: : : I don't mean to offend anyone with the above configuration, I just think C&D picked about the ugliest E46 possible to test. They had picked a car with 7 of the above ten things. Next to this E46, even the Contour looked good.