What happened to the 4DSC?? – Nissan History

So this morning I was looking through my google reader via my iphone 4 while eating Cheerios. This has become my morning routine now for the last few months. I follow way to many RSS feeds. Far to many for me to actually read them all but his morning I happened to catch THIS review posted of the 2011 Nissan Maxima. It brought up something I haven’t really heard in a while. “The 4 Door Sports Car” or “4DSC”.  This was a marketing slogan used by Nissan in 1989 to describe it’s newly re designed family sedan and was recently brought back with the 2009 model.

It got me thinking that with modern day consumer demands, fuel economy, and emisions regulations; looking at a 2011 Maxima doesn’t really scream “Sports Car”. Let’s take a little time here to look back at what the Maxima was and what it is today.

1977 – 1980 Brought us the original Datsun 810. A rear wheel drive 125hp 4spd manual. Powered by the same 2.4L engine found in the Datsun 240Z, this had very good promise as a sporty sedan.

1981 – 1984 Was the first car to get the Maxima name. First offered as an 810 Deluxe or 810 Maxima. In 1982 Datsun dropped the 810 and called it a Maxima for the first time. Still rear wheel drive and 240Z powered.

1985 – 1988 Enter the Front Wheel Drive Maxima. Powered by the same V6 found in the 300ZX and a 5spd Manual transmission, this car again showed good sporty sedan promise.

1989-1994 Welcome to the 4DSC. SE models of the Maxima got a 190hp DOHC engine with a 5Spd manual. All 1989 – 94 models wore the 4DSC sticker on the rear door glass.

1995 – 1999 The Maxima was redesigned with a new VQ Series 3.0L with 190hp and 205lb-ft. The option of a 5spd manual remained and kept the Maxima as one of very few V6 cars to offer a manual transmission at the time.

2000 – 2003 As far as fun goes, the 2002 and 2003 cars were probably the best years for the Maxima. It got an upgraded 3.5L V6 and an optional 6spd manual.

2004 – 2008 The begining of the end for manual 4DSC’s. This car got huge. It kept the 3.5L V6 with a few added ponies under the hood but in 2007 lost the manual transmission option.

2009 – Present The maxima keeps it’s large size and offers only a CVT transmission with no manual option. This car is marketed as the return of the 4DSC. But is it? The car is massive in size and has a CVT transmission, so what gives?

You can see how over the years, the Maxima started from a sports car. Powered by 240Z, 300Zx, and 350z engines, offering Manual transmissions, reasonable handling and a nimble size. At first glance, the 2009+ Maxima’s don’t look to offer the same 4DSC heritage Nissan claims. While 2011 doesn’t see a hole lot of new features, it still claims to be a 4DSC.

In the case of the Maxima, it seems that modern innovation has actually changed what a 4 Door Sports car is. While it may no longer offer a Manual Transmission, it DOES offer a quick CVT transmission with paddle shifters. The 3.5L engine and paddle shifting CVT send this 3500lb car down the 1/4 mile in 14.5 seconds. Thats more then respectable for this size of a car. Also note worthy is that fact that Nissan ditched their sport beam suspension used through out the 90’s and gave the Maxima independent rear suspension again. Also offered is an optional Sports Package which offers some styling and suspension enhancements to further the 4DSC experience.

So is it still a 4DSC? I’d say so, it still offers that luxury interior, good build quality, and seats for 4 while putting down some sports car like numbers. In an ever growing Hybrid market, it’ll be interesting to see how true Nissan stays to the sports sedan in future models.

7 thoughts on “What happened to the 4DSC?? – Nissan History

  1. The 3rd Generation Maxima is and will always be my favorite, save the front wheel drive. I was just a little guy when my folks traded the 83′ Datsun Maxima (wagon) for the 85 Nissan Maxima (sedan). I absolutely loved the wagon… a very quick car and it held all our ski gear. The only down fall was the rear wheel drive in the winter, but that never stopped us from dredging any back-roads to the local ski slopes. We have a ton of great memories in that car!

    Then we purchased the 85 sedan; is was pewter in color, with a charcoal black interior – an absolutely stunning car in all respects. Some of my friends’ parents were sporting 320 and 325 series bimmers, but I always thought our sedan looked much more refined and aggressive. The folks drove it for a few more years and then gave it to me when I turned 16. I drove this car for another 40K miles and cherished every mile! I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I turned 18, left for recruit training and never saw my baby again… the folks sold it while I was training, because they thought I would want to buy a newer car once I graduated from Basic Training. I was quite pissed and they were sorely mistaken! L0L!

    I got to my duty station – starting scouring the 4sale ads and ended up with the same car again, right down to the same colors. I drove it for 4 years and sold it to another lucky owner.

  2. Thanks for the great post! I loved my 4th gen Maxima. I even supercharged it but I needed a 4 wheel drive here in CT. I love the new maxima though and if that thing ever came out in AWD it’d be pretty hard for me not to buy it.

  3. I’ve always liked the 1977-79 Datsun 810 and the rear-wheel drive 810/Maxima of the early 80s. I was disappointed when they discontinued the rear-wheel drive in favour of front-wheel drive. I was also disappointed when they discontinued the option of a diesel engine. Is diesel for everyone? No, not really. But I think that people should be allowed to decide what they want or need, not the car makers, and certainly not the US EPA.

  4. I was disappointed when Nissan switched to front wheel drive for the Maxima. I’ve always been old-school car enthusiast. I’ve always preferred rear-wheel drive cars. And unless the engine is diesel-powered, what do you need fuel injection for?

  5. I LUV THIS CAR IT IS A GREAT CAR. I HAVE THE 1987 MAXIMA AND PERFORMANCE WISE THIS CAR IS SEDAN WITH A PERFORMANCE ENGINE AND THAT ALONE MAKES ME SMILE. I HAVE GIVEN QUITE A FEW NEWER MODEL CARS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY WITH THIS CAR. THE SLOGAN “NISSAN ENJOY THE RIDE” IS TRUELY FITTING FOR THIS GREAT CAR. I PLAN TO BUY THE 2012 MODEL ASAP, WHAT A GREAT CAR!

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