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The 2009 Nissan Maxima returns to its sporty roots following a complete overhaul and redesign for this year. Upon first glance, the curvaceous midsize sedan appears quite large, but it's actually a tad shorter in both length and wheelbase than the previous sixth-gen model. The aggressive exterior is the product of Nissans new "liquid motion" design language and the basis for the return of the Maxima 4DSC (four-door sports car).

Setting the sporty upscale tone is a wide mouth front grille, large wraparound headlights, lower fogs and a powerful-looking hood that looks strangely G35 coupe-ish. A strong character line running from stem to stern carves out deeply sculpted rear fenders that give the new Maxima an hourglass shape usually only found on two-door performance coupes.

Distinctive c-pillars, a tall trunk lid, LED taillights and bumper-integrated twin exhaust outlets complete the aggressive design. And, although it does bear a close resemblance to other vehicles in this fiercely competitive segment, this is without question the most charismatic and best-looking Maxima ever built. It can't be mistaken for an Altima anymore either.

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