Car reviews - Nissan - 350Z - range
16 Dec 2005
By CHRIS HARRIS
NISSAN has injected more kiloWatts into its 350Z coupe and convertible as part of the 2006 model year update, with all variants fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox now getting a 221kW 3.5-litre V6.
Up from 206kW, the more powerful V6’s peak power is developed at 6400rpm – 200rpm further up the rev range – however, peak torque of 353Nm is down 10Nm (and produced at the same 4800rpm).
The famed VQ35E V6’s power increase has been delivered through improved induction efficiency with larger-diameter air ducts and retuned valve timing.
Five-speed automatic variants hang on to the 206kW engine.
Apart from the engine modifications, 350Z Track and Touring models gain a minor facelift, refreshed interior and improved suspension and steering.
All Touring models now receive larger 320mm front brake discs (up from 296mm) and 308mm rear discs (up from 292mm) for improved feel and better resistance to brake fade.
Nissan claims modifications to the suspension tuning and steering assistance have improved the sportscar’s ride, handling and feedback.
The independent multi-link front and rear suspension carry over, as does the front strut brace and integrated rear strut tower brace.
Visually, the car’s strong styling message remains with exterior upgrades restricted to a redesigned front bumper and new high-intensity discharge headlights, as well as the addition of light-emitting diode tail-lights and newly styled 18-inch alloys.
Inside, the car has been given more aluminium trim accents, improved soft-feel materials, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, more storage spaces and improved switchgear.
Nissan’s improved cabin is in response to criticism of the previous model’s low-rent interior. The added storage spaces include a card-holder, cargo net at the bottom of the front passenger’s seat, illuminated cup-holders and larger door pockets.
All Zs feature a composite carbon-fibre driveshaft, traction control, viscous coupling rear differential, drive-by-wire throttle, dual exhausts and, unless the auto is ordered, an improved close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox.
Standard equipment runs to heated leather sports seats, climate-control air-conditioning, seven-speaker Bose sound system, electric windows/mirrors, dual front, side and curtain airbags (coupe only), cruise control and drilled aluminium pedals.
The sportier Track models gain Brembo brakes, vehicle dynamic control, a chin spoiler, underbody diffusers and a rear spoiler.
Nissan has sold 160,000 fifth-generation 350Zs globally since its launch in 2002.
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