Nissan 350Z 2005 Review
Any marketing man worth his salt will have the relevant company milestones etched indelibly in his memory and be clamouring to bring out a special edition to celebrate.
In fact, you'd have to imagine that from a marketing point of view any excuse is a good excuse however slim to chalk up a few extra sales?
In the case of Nissan Australia, it happens to have a pretty good excuse, as it is 35 years since the famous 'Z' sports car which debuted with 240Z in 1970.
To mark the occasion it has put together a 35th anniversary 350Z sports coupe, one with more power, at least one unique colour and a beautiful set of alloy wheels.
The only thing Nissan has neglected to do is provide some badging for the car, either inside or outside, to stamp it as something special – to make it collectable.
For example, who could forget the badge on the 25th anniversary Commodore that Holden released a couple of years back?
Be that as it may, the special Z is indeed something worth crowing about, with 221kW or seven per cent more power than the standard 206kW car.
The extra oomph has been achieved largely by the introduction of revised cam and pistons and the addition of electromagnetic exhaust valve timing control.
In the process, the 3.5-litre 24 valve DOHC V6 has shed some 10Nm of torque (down from 363Nm to 353Nm at 4800rpm), but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.
What it means, on paper at least, is that the Zed could be fractionally slower off the mark, but the extra top end has given it a bit of room to breathe, allowing better use of gears.
We have never been great fans of the 350Z but we're here to tell you that the 35th anniversary model rocks.
We found the previous model (all models have in fact been upgraded) coarse and difficult to manage, especially in stop-start city traffic.
We loved the look but the heavy clutch quickly became tiresome and the manual box was notchy and difficult to use compared with other transmissions.
In fact, the whole thing was just a bit rough for our liking.
Whatever Nissan has done in the interim has transformed the car, which is much smoother and user friendly than before.
The 35th anniversary model comes in coupe form with manual transmission only and a choice of three colours: black, silver or a bright yellow which is unique to this model.
The yellow is applied using a special paint process and in doing so the car gets an extra coat.
The coupe is the only model to get the more powerful engine and improvements to the six-speed transmission have greatly improved the shift quality.
Standard features include composite carbon-fibre drive shaft, traction control system, viscous limited-slip rear differential, electronic drive-by-wire throttle, dual outlet exhaust and an improved close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
High performance Brembo brakes are fitted, with four-piston calipers and 324x30mm ventilated front and two-piston calipers with 322x22mm ventilated rear discs.
Electronic stability control or Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) as Nissan calls it is also standard.
Purists might poo poo the concept of VDC but we were pleasantly surprised to find how restrained the system is on challenging mountain roads on which we tested the car.
For a traditional rear wheel drive configuration it is surprisingly well behaved, exhibiting no tendency to oversteer, even when driven extremely hard.
The car is well balanced and exhibit high levels of grip, although the high performance tyres 45 and 50 series 18 inch tyres tend to generate quite a bit of noise on coarse road surfaces.
This noise is in turn amplified by the empty rear section of the cabin which acts like the inside of a speaker box.
Fuel consumption using premium unleaded was excellent for this type of car, returning an average of 10.75L/100km during out test.
The 350Z anniversary model is priced from $67,990 before on road costs, $2000 more than the Track model on which it is based.
Range and Specs
|Roadster||3.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO||$7,700 – 11,990||2005 Nissan 350Z 2005 Roadster Pricing and Specs|
|Roadster Touring||3.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO||$8,400 – 12,980||2005 Nissan 350Z 2005 Roadster Touring Pricing and Specs|
|Roadster Track||3.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$8,400 – 12,980||2005 Nissan 350Z 2005 Roadster Track Pricing and Specs|
|35th Anniversary||3.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$7,700 – 11,990||2005 Nissan 350Z 2005 35th Anniversary Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data