The 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SE is the Sedan’s long, lost sibling
Review and Photos by Amee Reehal
They may have removed a couple doors, shortened the wheelbase, shortened the length, and lowered the height. But Nissan has added greater credibility to an already reputable and highly successful Altima brand. Not to mention, more style and performance.
“Rather than just eliminating two doors from the Altima Sedan, we gave the Altima Coupe its own style, its own dimensions and its own interpretation of Nissan’s driving pleasure,” states Ian Forsyth, Director, Corporate & Product Planning at Nissan Canada. “…the Coupe makes the Altima brand stronger by appealing to a new segment of buyers. And like the Altima Sedan, the new Coupe will be a tremendous value when it goes on sale.”
Value is right: overall, the Coupe offers a good balance of performance, styling, and comfort at the starting price-points of $27,798 (2.5 S, manual) and $31,398 (3.5 SE, manual). Available in nine trims in total, my tester for the week came in the 3.5 SE form with the Xtronic CVT transmission, and the SE Leather and Navigation packages ($1200, $4100, $3000 extra, respectively).
The exterior styling conveys performance with a simple yet sporty front end that sees a black, plastic grill with couple touches of chrome. The rear is beefy with aggressive shoulderlines above the rear fenders (a quick glance, you may think it’s an Infiniti G35).
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The fourth-generation Altima Sedan and Coupe share the all-new, stiffer and better handling, “D” platform. But if you concerned the 4-door bloodline will cramp your sporty style, don’t sweat it. Aside from sharing the same hood, all other major exterior panels are exclusive to the Coupe, so you’ll be okay.
The 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe interior is roomy for a coupe and the large leather seats are comfortable (8-way power adjustments for driver).
I drove the in-laws to the airport, both sat in the back (seats, not trunk) with no complaints, so it’s safe to say it’s roomy back there with adequate legroom. Though I wouldn’t seat five, as the car is rated.
The instrument panel is simple, easy to view, and has nothing fancy like chrome or weird futuristic design cues. The gear indicator on the panel is nestled a bit low; a little higher and more visible would be nice, particularly useful for CVT-manual shift mode. The tilt/telescopic steering wheel (with cruise, audio, and voice command functions) feels good in the hands. Visibility out the side and rear is also good.
The 3.5 SE Leather Package adds a bunch of significant features to the interior, including 9 vs. 6 speakers and a Bose Audio System with in-dash 6-disc CD changer (MP3/WMA capability); Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System; dual zone climate control; and XM Satellite Radio, to name just a few.
Altima Coupe Power
The 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 engine in the Coupe puts down 270-hp at 258 lb-ft or torque (versus 175-hp at 18 lb-ft of torque in the 2.5-litre version). Dubbed by Nissan as the ‘next generation’ engine: more refined with increased compression ratio, reduced friction characteristics, and larger, equal-length intake manifold than the previous 3.5-litre offering. In other words, smooth and refined.
Paired to the Xtronic CVT transmission, very responsive as well. Throw it into the Manual shift mode, hit the road, and you’ll realize how well the throttle responds as you pop the gears back and forth.
Handling is equally as impressive in the Coupe. Compared to the Sedan, the wheelbase is a full 4-inches shorter, overall length is less, sits lower, and the suspension is specially tuned—so it feels tight in the corners with minimum roll. Standard front and rear stabilizer bars increase rigidity; even the seat bolsters in the Coupe are updated for support.
The V6-equipped Coupe rolls on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in 215/55R17 tires.
Safety items include driver/passenger dual stage airbags, curtain side-impact airbags, and side-impact airbags up front. Also, 4-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
The fourth-generation Altima, with the new “D” platform and updated engine, offers great value with a good balance of styling, safety, and comfort. Throw more performance, fun handling, and even better styling into the mix, then 3.5 SE Coupe is the way to go. Depending how you look at it, less can certainly be more.
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