Nissan's modern-day 350Z coupe went on sale as a 2003 model. Like the original, the 350Z has rear-wheel drive and a six-cylinder engine. Although the only addition for 2008 is a new color, in 2007 it received a more powerful 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. The 350Z competes with the Mazda RX-8, Ford Mustang GT and BMW Z4.
Later in the 2007 model year, Nissan's Nismo high-performance division designed a Nismo package with an aero body kit, tuned suspension and lightweight wheels. That package continues into 2008. The 350Z is also sold as a convertible.
(Skip to details on the: 350Z Roadster)
The 350Z has a modern design, but styling cues adapted from the original 240Z include a long-nose short-deck profile, a triangular cabin form and lines that extend from the arch-shaped roof to the hatchback opening.
Mounted on top of that long nose is a bulging hood that looks as if the engine jumped off its mounts and bumped into the hood. The bulginess looks out of place on base models, but looks proportional when teamed with the Nismo package.
The wheels are pushed toward the corners to emphasize nimbleness. For 2007, standard wheels are 18 inches in diameter. An optional lightweight forged-alloy wheel package is available on the coupe and features 18-inch wheels in the front and 19-inchers in the back. The optional wheels are an inch wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear. The increased width provides greater road-holding capabilities during performance driving.
The Nismo package adds a more aggressive front and rear, as well as side skirts and a large rear deck lid spoiler. A specially tuned suspension is also part of the Nismo edition, as are large Brembo brakes with four pistons per caliper up front and two per caliper in back.
The 350Z seats two. Considerable aluminum is used in the cockpit. Three gauge pods are installed on the instrument panel, and the steering wheel and gauges move together as a unit. Nissan's navigation system is optional. An integrated aluminum rear-suspension strut tower brace featuring the Z logo can be seen from outside coupe models.
Bluetooth hands-free phone compatibility is offered in Touring and Grand Touring coupes.
Nismo cars have red-stitched interior, white-faced gauges and an aluminum plaque marking the car's special-edition status.
Under the Hood
Nissan's 3.5-liter V-6 develops 306 hp and 268 pounds-feet of torque. The engine includes features such as a dual-inlet air-intake system and variable exhaust cam timing. The 3.5-liter engine redlines at 7,500 rpm.
A five-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox are available.
Antilock brakes with brake assist are standard. Side-impact and side curtain airbags are optional in coupes; side-impact airbags are standard on convertibles. Traction control is standard on all models, and an electronic stability system is standard on Grand Touring models with the manual transmission. All models are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system.
Simply put, the 350Z is a sweet machine. Steering could hardly be more precise, confident and satisfying. The 350Z maintains outstanding control and avoids overreaction, but the suspension is defiantly taut. A little hop occurs only in very quick curves. Maneuverability and stability are top-notch.
The manual gearshift has short throws and a short lever, and it snicks masterfully and positively through the ratios. The clutch behaves in near-perfect unison. The exhaust sound is distinctive but appealing. The seats are comfortable.
An open roadster joined the coupe as a 2004 model. The automatic top goes down in 20 seconds and contains a heated glass rear window. Trunk capacity in the roadster is 4.1 cubic feet. There's no glove box, but it has a lockable floor box for storage.
The cloth top is now available in gray as well as black; a blue cloth top is no longer available. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||August 14, 2007|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||June 7, 2008|
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