All About the 2011 Nissan Altima Special Edition

The 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Special Edition group adds several features at a competitive price, but it may not be better than opting up to the 3.5 SR.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The 2011 Nissan Altima lineup included a range of options packages, including a Special Edition group available only on the midrange 2.5 S model. The $750 Special Edition package featured a range of options, including features like unique badging, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a rear spoiler.
Nissan claims its 2011 Special Edition group was meant to be a value-adding package that gave buyers more bang for their buck. But when we see that simply opting up to the next trim adds many of the Special Edition features and more, much of the “bang” fizzles out of this buck.
That said, the Special Edition group does add a unique option to Nissan’s buyer-specific package structures. If you’re looking at a 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S that includes the Special Edition group,
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What is the Nissan Altima Special Edition? 

The Nissan Altima Special Edition isn’t actually a singular vehicle trim. Instead, it’s a
group of optional features
that were only available on the 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. The package cost $750 and added features like alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

2011 Nissan Altima overview

To understand the value-adding potential of the Special Edition group, let’s take a closer look at the Altima 2.5 S. 
The 2011 Nissan Altima was a solid pick for a midsize sedan that the brand marketed as “fun for the whole family.” Especially when outfitted with the higher-echelon V6 engine, it’s a fun-to-drive sedan with plenty of room for back-seat passengers. That said, the V6 wasn’t available on the Altima 2.5 S, which is the only trim on which buyers could option the Special Edition Group.
Let’s look at some of the standard specs for the 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S:
  • Starting MSRP of $22,430 (available used for under $8,000)
  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 175 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • 180 lb-ft of torque @ 3900 rpm
  • 4-star NHTSA rating
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Six-speed manual or CVT automatic (CVT mandatory on the sedan)
  • 16-inch steel wheels (17-inch alloy wheels on the 2.5 S coupe)
  • Keyless ignition and entry
  • Six-speaker stereo w/ CD player and auxiliary jack
The Altima 2.5 S is pretty basic, but with a combined fuel economy of 27 mpg, responsive handling, and solid cabin construction, it’s “just right” for many drivers’ needs.
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What’s special about the Special Edition?

If we’re being honest, there’s not much special about the Special Edition group. For $750, buyers get these additional options:
  • Alloy wheels (which are already included if you’ve opted for the coupe)
  • Foglights
  • A rear spoiler
  • Auto on/off headlights
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel w/ integrated audio controls

2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S w/ Special Edition group vs. 3.5 SR 

The starting MSRP for the Nissan Altima 2.5S with the Special Edition group added was $23,180. For an extra $1,930 and a starting price of $25,110, the
Altima 3.5 SR
  • 3.5-liter V6 engine
  • 270-hp @ 6000 rpm
  • 258 lb-ft of torque @ 4400 rpm
  • 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch for coupe)
  • A sport-tuned suspension
  • Heated side mirrors
In addition, the 3.5 SR trim adds all the contents of the 2.5 S Convenience Package, which would have to be optioned separately on the 2.5 S. This package includes:
  • Automatic headlights
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • 8-way power driver seat
  • Extendable visors with illuminated vanity mirrors
So, is the 3.5 S a better buy than the 2.5 S with the Special Edition group? We’d give that a hearty yes. You get the added driving enjoyment of a much more powerful engine, plus the majority of the perks included with the Special Edition group and others you’d still be without. In short, you’d be paying just a touch more money for a lot more value.
The bottom line: This comparison actually highlights one of the main issues buyers have with Nissan—many of its best features are tied up in options packages rather than offered as standard features by trim. For example, you probably noticed we didn’t even mention some of the great tech options available on the 2011 Altima, like dual-zone automatic climate control, hard-drive navigation system, or Bluetooth streaming audio. That’s because they’re all tied up in individual packages, along with other options you may not be interested in.
That said, Nissan did one thing right by baking the 2.5 S Convenience Package into the 3.5 SR’s standard features. That’s why if you’re truly looking to maximize your dollar, the 2011 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is a better choice than the 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S with the Special Edition group.

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