Sadly, it hasn't been that sporty for years.
There was a time when the Nissan Maxima was billed as the "four-door sports car" and that was a pretty accurate description. Despite being front-wheel-drive, older generation Maximas offered a far more dynamic driving experience than the current eight-generation, launched in 2015. Today's Maxima is simply not what the model once was, much to the disappointment of many.
Furthermore, the only slightly smaller Nissan Altima is not only newer but makes spending more for the Maxima increasingly difficult to justify. And like the Ford Taurus, larger sedans, in general, continue to sink in popularity. The writing is on the wall.
Automotive News claims the Maxima flagship sedan, which received a number of updates just last year, is expected to be discontinued in the near future.
Although no specific date is known at this time, Nissan intends to launch an all-new, all-electric sedan with styling inspired by the IM sports sedan concept in the second half of 2022. At that time, it wouldn't make sense to introduce a ninth-generation Maxima with a combustion powertrain. Could the Maxima nameplate will be attached to that EV? Possible but not probable.
Automakers tend to introduce new nameplates when the so-called "core element" of a vehicle changes, such as going from internal combustion to all-electric. It's a new beginning Nissan will surely want to take full advantage of. Currently, Nissan says the main difference between the Altima and Maxima, which share a platform, is that the former is built for efficiency and the latter for performance.
But the Maxima hasn't been a true performance-focused sedan for a while now. Put it like this: real performance sedans don't come with a CVT, the only gearbox today's Maxima offers.
Meanwhile, the Altima is slated to receive a mid-life refresh in 2022 as well but Nissan doesn't appear to have any intention to drop it anytime soon. Plans are reportedly already in progress for its next complete redesign in 2025 and is expected to offer an electrified variant, most likely a plug-in hybrid setup. The Maxima, however, only has a model year or two left.