Edmunds Full-Test & Video - Nissan Altima Coupe

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 23, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    The Passionate Front-Driver

    [​IMG]
    Instead of dropping a coupe onto a sedan chassis, Nissan lopped 4 inches off the sedan's wheelbase and designed all-new body panels.

    By Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
    Date posted: 05-20-2007

    7.3 inches shorter than Altima sedan - 6.4 seconds to 60 mph - 66.8-mph slalom speed - Seatbelts for five

    Conventional prejudice says you can't put a transverse V6 in a big front-drive car and call it a sport coupe. But after 600 miles with the 2008 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE Coupe, we're going to rise above our car-geek heritage and do just that.

    Of course we're speaking of passion, not precision. This is still a 183-inch-long, 71-inch-wide, 3,290-pound car with 67 percent of its weight riding over the front wheels. Said wheels are wrapped in unassuming 215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanza tires.

    But there's a vitality to the Nissan Altima 3.5 SE Coupe that defies clinical assessment. It likes going around corners. Its VQ-Series V6 likes being matched up with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Even if the Altima coupe isn't dynamically perfect, we like driving it.

    Minus Two Doors, Plus One Mustache

    [​IMG]
    With its 3-inch drop in stature and fastback roof line, the Nissan Altima coupe recalls the new Infiniti G37 coupe.

    Nissan's starting point here has been the Altima sedan, already an athlete among family-friendly sedans. Instead of dropping a coupe body onto a sedan chassis and installing a set of really long doors, Nissan lopped 4 inches off the sedan's wheelbase (now 105.3 inches) and designed a fresh set of body panels.

    With its 3-inch drop in stature and fastback roof line, the Altima coupe draws immediate comparisons to Infiniti's G37 coupe. From the back, it looks a bit too much like the innocuous Pontiac G6, but wheel around front and there's a wisp of a chrome mustache to reassure you this car has the evil, funhouse flavor of the Altima.

    We Choose Torque

    [​IMG]
    Rated for 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe, the 3.5-liter V6 blends smoothness and personality.

    As usual, there are degrees of evil. Not so threatening is the 2.5 S Coupe, which is motivated by a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and priced around $21,000. Nissan says this car will account for 60 percent of Altima coupe sales.

    We're speaking here to the other 40 percent, however; the fiends who will spend upward of $26,000 on the Altima 3.5 SE Coupe. It has a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 270 hp at 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.

    Although a six-speed manual is available, most 3.5 SE Coupes will be sold with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), with which our test car has been equipped. Most will also have the $3,200 Premium Package — good for xenon headlights, leather upholstery, Bose sound and automatic climate control.

    Our test car did without the premium luxuries. Antilock disc brakes and all the expected airbags were on board, but stability control costs $600 extra.

    Quick by Numbers, Quicker by Feel

    [​IMG]
    Because of the Nissan Altima coupe's shorter wheelbase, it rides more firmly than the sedan.

    The lack of amenities went largely unnoticed, as the Nissan Altima coupe has other ways of making its driver feel energized.

    It's not with overpowering speed, though. A 0-60-mph time in the 6.0-second range and a quarter-mile time just under 15.0 seconds no longer make anyone feel entirely special, not even in the sensible coupe class. Our CVT-equipped coupe ran to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, then laid down a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds, a couple tenths quicker than the Altima sedan.

    Nevertheless, it hasn't any edge over the Pontiac G6 GTP coupe, which gets to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and does the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds. Of course, the Altima CVT coupe is a smidge faster than the Mitsubishi Eclipse GT with a manual transmission, which takes 6.6 seconds to get to 60 mph and then does the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds.

    But away from the test track, you'll be convinced this is a fast car. Partly it's the sweet power delivery of the VQ V6, which offers just the right balance of smoothness and personality in this grand-touring application.

    Get With the CVT Program

    [​IMG]
    Nissan offers numerous brightness settings for the gauges, and we had to dim them considerably to get a legible level of nighttime contrast.

    Mostly, though, the Altima coupe's lively performance comes from the CVT, which makes good on the promise that a CVT is better than a regular automatic transmission. Instead of playing telephone with your right foot, sending a message to the engine through hydraulic fluid whirling around a torque convertor, the CVT responds immediately to changes in throttle input. So when the engine rpm soar, it's because you will it.

    During instrumented testing, it made no difference in the numbers whether we left the CVT in Drive or used the manual mode. But on your favorite back road, there's good reason to call up a manual "downshift." Pull the central gearlever back as you're coming into a tight turn and you gain access to a usefully lower range of available gear ratios.

    So enjoyable is the CVT that even hard-core drivers will prefer it to this car's manual gearbox. You see, apart from the pleasures of post-redline upshifts and heel-and-toe downshifts, the six-speed is a weak effort. The clutch engagement is abrupt and the shift lever feels limp through the gates.

    The CVT also delivered pretty good fuel economy. The CVT coupe achieved 34 mpg on a pure highway run, although only half that during a workout on the two-lane — averaging out to 20 mpg. During the brief 200-miles time we had our hands on the coupe with a manual transmission, it returned 18 mpg.

    Coupe in the Balance

    [​IMG]
    For now, these all-season 215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanza EL400s are the most aggressive tire you can get on the Nissan Altima coupe.

    Handling is another area in which the 2008 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE Coupe reaches out to its driver. Its 68.8-mph slalom performance and 0.81g grip on the skid pad are no better than the sedan's, but there's a psychological component to the coupe's compressed dimensions and slightly lower curb weight. Maybe it's just us, but the two-door feels hungrier on a curvy road.

    And compared to the understeer-prone Eclipse and unresponsive G6, Nissan's new coupe borders on the ravenous when it comes to eating up the road.
    It's also much quicker through the cones on its skimpy 55-series 17-inch tires than either rival is on low-profile 18-inchers. The Altima has the edge in steering feel as well.

    The Altima's braking capability is only average, though. A 127-foot stop from 60 mph brings it to a halt 10 feet shorter than the Pontiac, but still not up to the Mitsu's 124-foot performance. The Altima's brake pedal travel is short and there's lots of initial bite from the brake pads, but the tires just aren't up to it.

    Because of the Altima coupe's shorter wheelbase, you feel the impact from highway expansion joints more sharply than in the sedan, so you'd better have a tighter grip on hot, splashy beverages. Overall, though, the coupe's ride quality is agreeable.

    Functional Cockpit, Funky Seats

    [​IMG]
    The cockpit ambience is vaguely industrial, although the controls are well organized.

    Just as in the sedan, the cabin of the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe has a vaguely industrial ambience, although it features simple, well-organized controls. The soft-touch plastic that trims the dash feels rubbery to the touch, and the action of the various dials feels grainy and unpleasant.

    The coupe has less headroom than the sedan, of course, and the front seats now have considerable lateral bolsters to hold you around corners. Rush-hour comfort is debatable, though, as the driver seat combines a slightly odd overall shape with firm cushions.

    The coupe's trunk space is minimal at just 7.4 cubic feet, but it's a useful space with a wide opening and the 60/40-split rear seats fold completely flat, providing a cargo area large enough to bring home an awful lot of dry-cleaning plus some groceries, too.

    Best of the Front-Drive Coupes

    [​IMG]
    From the back, we see a little too much resemblance to the Pontiac G6.

    When you set out to buy a midsize front-wheel-drive coupe, you have to be willing to make some tough choices. If you've got a specific craving for a more decadent rear-drive car like the Ford Mustang GT or Mazda RX-8, you shouldn't ask an Altima coupe to satisfy it.

    But if you're willing to admit that ride comfort, fuel economy and interior spaciousness are important, then the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe is one of the best options out there. Among the current population of V6 front-drive coupes, the 3.5 SE is by far the best drive.

    [​IMG]

    MSRP of Test Vehicle: $26,115

    What Works:
    Turns in smartly for a big front-driver; highly responsive CVT; torquey and tractable V6; flat-folding rear seats.

    What Needs Work:
    Average braking distances; so-so interior materials; awkward driving position.

    Bottom Line:
    For sheer entertainment value, the 2008 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE Coupe is the best of the front-drive, V6-equipped two-doors.


    Second Opinion

    [​IMG]
    Aside from the stereo's ability to turn alternative metal into run-of-the-mill sludge, we barely noticed our test car's lack of amenities.

    Executive Editor Michael Jordan says:
    This car looks pretty good, doesn't it? It seemed kind of spindly at the introduction during the 2006 L.A. Auto Show last fall, but now this seems to be a surprisingly grown-up shape, muscular and expressive.

    Yet the curse of Nissan lives on in this car's interior, as it's relentlessly crummy. Bad color values, ugly plastic, weak architecture. Of course the irony here is that the coupe configuration always seats you pretty low in the car, and as a consequence you're looking all that bad plastic right in the face every second. Do yourself a favor and order leather upholstery.

    You'd think manufacturers would have learned from the Scion tC. Although the tC is pretty wispy as a car, a piece so poor in specification that it might as well be from Malaysia, it makes you feel good because the exterior paint shimmers with a mirror finish, while the interior furnishings seem both durable and fashionable. The Altima coupe needs some interior style to accompany its sophisticated sheet metal.

    Although I've always liked the way the Altima drives (the new sedan with CVT is one of the best cars in America), the coupe didn't offer much pleasure on the road. As you'd expect in a coupe, the driving position is low and set to the rear, but the placement of the controls is designed for an upright sedan with a high seating position. Also, the Altima coupe just doesn't have its feet underneath it when you try to go quickly, as torque reaction from drivetrain and imbalances caused by shifting/throttle/braking inputs are accentuated by a squishy suspension, so everything feels as if it's working at cross-purposes.

    What this car likes is cruising along the highway at about 80 mph, where V6's broad power band and the CVT makes it a terrific piece for slicing through traffic.

    Performance

    [​IMG]

    0 - 30 (sec): 2.9
    0 - 45 (sec): 4.5
    0 - 60 (sec): 6.4
    0 - 75 (sec): 8.9
    1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.8 @ 96.9
    30 - 0 (ft): 31
    60 - 0 (ft): 127
    Braking Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Good
    Slalom (mph): 66.8
    Skid Pad (g-force): 0.81
    Handling Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Good

    Db @ Idle: 38.7
    Db @ Full Throttle: 76
    Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.9

    Acceleration: Acceleration performance is essentially the same regardless of whether you leave the CVT in "D" or use the manual mode. Manual shifting does nothing except occupy the right hand. Otherwise, the bizarre shiftless CVT performance seems to work here.

    Braking: High pedal effectiveness with very little travel results in touchiness. But once you've adjusted, this setup is OK. The Altima coupe exhibited a consistent, solid pedal throughout our braking runs.

    Handling: Skid pad: The Altima coupe is not adjustable but still feels sporty with little body roll and excellent steering weight, feel and response. Slalom: The Altima is very stable through transitions. It's quicker accelerating through the slalom than using neutral throttle.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bokhan

    bokhan i love you

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Messages:
    105,871
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    frumunda cheese~!
    looks better than i thought it would.
     
  3. phaphapho

    phaphapho Guest

    can't wait to see these things EVERYWHERE in a year
     
  4. TXTurbo930

    TXTurbo930 As a matter O' fact I do have Booooost! OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    14,509
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Htown
    :weak: 404 supercar not found.
     
  5. 3030

    3030 3030 OT Supporter

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    54,918
    Likes Received:
    0
    Supercar Lite
     
  6. nicklol

    nicklol Nu OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    30,581
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Not really Chicago crew
    I'd rather have an RX-8 like the article has said :o
     
  7. autox

    autox OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Messages:
    98,736
    Likes Received:
    434
    front end looks terrible
     
  8. aznboi320

    aznboi320 OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    31,166
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    On a kayak
    horrible recycling of parts
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    High school kids will harass others and wrap them around poles all over the country.
     
  10. Ry-Ballz

    Ry-Ballz This sucks, change the channel

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2001
    Messages:
    33,039
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Mexico
    Jesus they really ripped off Aston on the back end.
     
  11. DefBringer

    DefBringer Ronnie, if I don't do this, *that's* when I'm goin

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    15,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    20mpg mixed driving?

    Unacceptable
     
  12. PATH2NOWHERE

    PATH2NOWHERE New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    7,816
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    fucking hideous rear end. Nissan fucked the rear end of that. Could've been so nice. I was completely unimpressed with the new Altimas, looked pretty good in the pictures; but lame in person. I thought the new tail light "jet-fighter" design would've looked better ... it's just not my cup of tea.
     
  13. Fishbait

    Fishbait New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Messages:
    23,718
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    i like it! :bigthumb:
     
  14. maczter

    maczter Life is trying things to see if they work.

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,622
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX
  15. LA02MAX

    LA02MAX New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    lol @ quarter times...magazines are pathetic. The 3600 lb. maxima that dynos considerably less than this new engine (200whp/220wtq vs 240whp/230wtq) and is equipped with the same CVT ran a 14.5....This thing will be in the 13s stock especially with the 6-speed. But jesus 67% of the weight in the front? jesus..
     
  16. Stinkypie

    Stinkypie New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Messages:
    29,970
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kentucky
    We just got a red one on the lot. 3.5 SE with leather. $29,995.
     
  17. calisteph6

    calisteph6 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Messages:
    16,539
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    KRAPROOM

    srsly :o
     
  18. Cannondale

    Cannondale OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Messages:
    83,470
    Likes Received:
    450
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    LOL at making such a huge deal about the CVT. I wouldn't buy any car without a manual transmission. I don't think this car would make me change my mind. The CVT would be great if it got a lot better than 20mpg mixed driving with it.
     
  19. LA02MAX

    LA02MAX New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    I'm not sure what's up with that, but of all the people I know with CVTs, the mileage has improved immensely after about 5k miles is put on the car...

    I have a friend with a CVT versa and at first she was getting like 28-29. Now she gets 35 mixed and around 38 on trips. A person I know with a CVT maxima was getting like 19-20 and now they're getting 26-27. Not sure what the deal is with those, but I guess they improve.

    Same with the track times. One person with the maxima ran a 15.1 his first time out to the track. About 8k miles later he went and ran a 14.4...
     

Share This Page