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2021 Nissan Maxima: The "Four-Door Sports Car" Is Turning 40

To celebrate, Nissan is rolling out a 40th Anniversary special-edition Maxima.

We haven't always agreed with Nissan's claim that the Maxima is a true sports sedan—but sometimes we have. (Most recently here.) Either way, the Maxima deserves respect as an ongoing sporty proposition, especially now as sedans, let alone sporty ones, become rarer by the year. We appreciate the Maxima's potent V-6 engine, well-tuned ride, solid handling, and plush interior. For 2021, the Nissan Maxima gets a little bit 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.

This special version of today's 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 hardware, 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 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. (Some would say this is another tick against its sports-sedan aspirations: no available manual transmission.) In recent testing by our friends at MotorTrend, a Maxima Platinum Reserve ran from 0-60 mph in a respectable 6.0 seconds, which is to say most drivers will find the Maxima 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 edition's release date this fall, but if the 40th tickles your fancy, we figure you're going to need to budget at least $40,000.