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Stillen's Ultimate Altima

Although it's known to the boys at Stillen as the "Skittles" car, rest assured this Altima is more than just eye candy.

Apr 22, 2003

With less than 3,000 miles on the clock and an interior still lofting of "new car smell," Team Stillen's goal for the 2002 Altima V6 was to enhance the car's appearance and create a stunning car that had the horsepower figures to back up its visual prowess. A urethane body kit, complete with chin spoiler, side skirts, and two-piece rear corner kit were engineered and designed at in-house Stillen design studios. Once the kit was complete, the body was massaged with custom Lamborghini Diablo pearl metal flake orange, giving the sporty four-door an exclusive one-off look.

With a large 3.5-liter V6 DOHC, variable valve timing, variable intake system, and drive-by-wire throttle control system, finding hidden horsepower in the Altima's V6 would be a tough task. The exhaust system was the first item to be addressed; Team Stillen recognized the potential of letting the VQ30 engine expel spent gases more freely. Stillen's exhaust system is constructed of mandrel-bent aluminized tubing and features dual stainless-steel muffler canisters with highly polished stainless-steel exhaust tips.

Team Stillen also addressed the other most common restriction, the OE intake system. Stillen used its CNC machine to create an aluminum velocity ring, which enables charge air to channel more efficiently into the intake system. The ring creates a Venturi effect by speeding airflow and minimizing air walls created under heavy acceleration. The velocity ring comes in a complete kit along with a 3-inch powdercoated intake pipe and filter element. The intake system is a direct replacement part deleting the stock air box.

Prior to installing the filter and exhaust, a baseline test was performed using a Dynojet 248 chassis dyno. The stock VQ30 generated 176.7 hp and 182.2 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. It should also be noted the car is running a five-speed manual transmission.

With filter and exhaust in place, the Altima was carefully monitored on the dyno where it spun the rollers to the tune of 196.6 hp at 5500 rpm. That's a total gain of 19.2 hp to the wheels. At 2900 rpm, the torque figures nearly jumped off the charts--the new exhaust and filter produced 209.5 lb-ft of torque, a 27.3 lb-ft increase over baseline.

The Altima is a sleeper in an ever-expanding import scene but it has traditional attributes, like a small body and a big engine. Nissan should be applauded for stuffing its award-winning V6 in this sub compact. And for the chosen few who have seen the light, Stillen offers added thrust and enhanced visuals for this diamond in the rough.

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