To celebrate the premiere of this Japanese mid-size sedan, Nissan launches it today at the New York Auto Show with two new engines in models dubbed the 2019 Nissan Altima 2.5 and the Nissan Altima 2.0.

We’ll get to that new designation shortly. First, let us tell you that the 2.5-litre:

-is 80 per cent new, including the addition of direct injection (better late than never);

-produces 188 horses (versus the old engine’s 179);

-will be paired exclusively with the continuously variable transmission. (Read: no manual gearbox, which is nothing new).

Gone from the Altima is the 3.5-litre V6 engine – you know, the one that emits that beautiful, distinctive rumble and that… no longer exists in the 2018 Altima.

HeapMedia358368

Rather, Nissan is betting on the new four-cylinder turbo (2.0-litre) it has just installed under the hood of the Infiniti QX50 and which is the world’s first with a variable compression ratio. Nissan promises the performance of a V6 and the fuel economy of a four-cylinder – a song we’ve heard before and one that doesn’t always ring true, but time will tell if this one does what Nissan says it will.

In place of the 270-horsepower V6, this new VC-Turbo will produce 248 horsepower, a loss of 22 (with premium gasoline) that should be offset by torque that increases from 251 lb-ft to 273 lb-ft.

But before you get too excited, know that this engine – of which Nissan is as proud as Mazda is of its SkyActiv technology – might not come to Canada.

Indeed, it will not be compatible with AWD (for the moment, at least). On the other hand, Nissan Canada promises that AWD will be standard on all versions of the Nissan Altima 2.5. In other words: you won’t need to spring for the luxurious Platinum variant to get it.

HeapMedia358363

Here’s what else you need to know about the new, 2019 Nissan Altima:

-The “ProPilot (Nissan ProPilot)” system will be available, in addition to the Safety Shield suite with its automated emergency braking, making this mid-size sedan one of the most “autonomous” on the market;

-Nissan has stretched the Altima’s silhouette by 25 mm, but it is 30 mm lower and rides on a wheelbase 50 mm longer.

-The Zero Gravity seats remain, but promise more comfort with better side bolstering that will be hard to beat.

-If the new VC-Turbo (have you noticed how that sounds a bit like “V6”?) comes here, it should benefit from highway fuel consumption in the single-digit range.

-For the more “dynamic” drivers among us, the SR version returns with its sportier chassis and, for the first time on an Altima, 19-inch wheels.

HeapMedia358364

On paper, the new Nissan Altima has everything to boost the sedan’s failing fortunes in North America, a situation we continue to blame on the popularity of utilities. If only the car incorporated more of the styling flair promised by the Nissan VMotion 2.0 concept.

Overheard on the show floor: “Is that the new Mazda6?” And: “Coming soon to a rental car outlet near you!” If you want to compete with Subaru, all you need is AWD – not a PhD in design.