The 2013-MY Nissan Altima.

The 2013-MY Nissan Altima.

Nissan showed its 2013-MY Nissan Altima at the New York International Auto Show. The new sedan goes on sale in July 2012 at a starting MSRP of $21,500. Nissan said it will offer the 2013 Altima in four 2.5L engine equipped models (2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL), and three 3.5L V-6 equipped models (3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL).

You can view a photo gallery of the 2013-MY Altima here.

The big change in the 2013 Altima’s powertrain over previous models is the addition of Nissan’s next-generation Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The automaker said it redesigned 70% of the parts and reduced internal friction by 40% compared with the previous transmission.

Other changes include new control logic and more gear ratio coverage, which Nissan said helps improve fuel economy and reduce noise.

For the 2013 model-year, Nissan changed its 2.5L QR25 engine somewhat in the new Altima, making it lighter, adding variable valve timing on the exhaust and intake camshafts — changing the intake system so it opens the valves at a higher rpm to help flatten the torque curve and making it lighter.

The engine can now produce 182 hp (up from 175 hp), while torque is the same at an estimated 180 lb.-ft. The other engine choice is Nissan’s 3.5L DOHC V-6 (270 horsepower, est., and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, est.).

The new Altima also has a lighter body design, weighing 80 lbs. less than the previous model, achieved via the use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel and new support struts in the front and back. Other fuel efficiency features include tires with reduced rolling resistance and a new regenerative alternator that runs when the vehicle is coasting.

These changes allow the Altima to achieve better fuel economy than the previous version, with Nissan saying targeted fuel economy for the Altima 2.5L four-cylinder/CVT combination is 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. Fuel economy for the 3.5L V-6/CVT Altima is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

Beyong the powertrain, Nissan redesigned the Altima’s exterior for 2013, with a wider front and rear track (by 1.4 inches) and deeper fenders (0.8 inches), new grille design, and seamless bumper and projector-type headlights.

The new sedan also has a longer roofline and raised trunk, compared with the previous model, large taillights and eight exterior color choices. Nissan added that changes to the sedan’s aerodynamic characteristics have given it a lower coefficient of drag.