A few weeks ago, Nissan Middle East asked its fans to choose three different locations from across the United Arab Emirates they would include on an extended road trip. And when the results were in, it wasn’t long before said fans came hammering at crankandpiston’s door to run the route.[Not a valid template]
Our vehicle for the one-day jaunt would be the brand new 2016 Maxima, for which Nissan has put in some serious overtime at the design easel. Its brand new platform features greater use of high strength steels, meaning 25 per cent greater torsional rigidity over the outgoing model. An extensive diet means the Maxima also drops 37kg over its predecessor, while the overall ride height has been reduced by 1.3in. That may not read like much but it should, theoretically, reduce the centre of gravity and aid cornering stability.
Make no mistake, Nissan has worked hard to improve the Maxima’s performance. The 3.5-litre V6 under the bonnet – which now sends 300hp to the front wheels – features 60 per cent new parts and is mated with a revised Xtronic transmission, the latter offering a wider gear ratio range for stronger acceleration. Our SR test model, which according to the company applies ‘lessons learnt from the GT-R’, comes with sport-tuned suspension, so a drippy bag of understeer is not what we’re expecting.
But how does all of that relate to the road? We find out in part one with the first location on our checklist, Jebel Jais.
*Stay tuned for part 2