Project Maxima has continued to tickle the senses as it has evolved into a competent cruiser. Since last appearing in the magazine, the car has been reshod and armed with more power.

We wanted to see how the Nissan would look with mesh wheels and elected to bolt on a set of 18-inch Volk IIIs and grippy Yokohama rubber. The 19-inch AV3s pack far more visual impact, but we were interested to see how 18s looked. The results were impressive and the Maxima still turns heads. In fact, we were followed home and asked about the car on two occasions while rolling the 18s. On tight freeway on-ramps, we pushed the limit of the suspension, often forgetting there were two doors behind us. The Maxima tracks corners so well that it's more coupe than four-door family car.

We are delighted to hear that, based on feedback generated by Project Maxima, HKS is moving to full production on its 2000 Maxima exhaust system. Our prototype system was used to develop the production set-up, which is slated to be on the street by the time this issue hits the newsstands.

It is time to increase the power of the VQ30DE; we thought we'd start with the basic air filter and graduate to something a bit harder hitting. We have often wondered: How good can a replacement-style filter really be? We contacted K&N and took delivery of its drop-in replacement filter for the 2000 Maxima. We then decided to put the Maxima on a muscle-building program that included a dose of nitrous oxide. Nitrous is a great power adder, especially for cars on the fringes of the performance scene that don't have staged performance programs like Hondas and Diamond Stars.