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Road Test

Nissan 350Z Roadster

by Stephen Walker

13th October, 2008

Nissan 350Z Roadster (copyright image) 
Click on the image for a larger view

Even when standing still, some cars convey so much more panache than other cars. One such car is the Nissan 350Z roadster. It doesn't need to be pointed out, but the 350Z features stand-out styling. Dare I say it, but the Nissan Fairlady (as it is known in the domestic market in Japan), always has and (presumably) always will feature stand-out styling. Through numerous 'generations', the so-called Z-car has projected just the right image for many sports car drivers.

With a reasonable price tag, today's 350Z roadster represents good value just as the Z-cars of old did in their day. Priced just beyond the level of big-sellers, the Z-car maintains an element of exclusiveness, yet it is well recognised and has gained the respect of so many because of the desirable driving dynamics and the overall presentation of the product.

Today's Nissan 350Z is available as a coupe (from $63,990 RRP) or as a roadster (from $74,990 RRP). Built in Japan, the Nissan 350Z is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 engine with DOHC, providing some 230 kW of power at 6,800 rpm and 358 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. The test car was fitted with the optional 5 speed automatic transmission.

Fuel usage is rated at 12.1 litres per 100 kilometres (combined cycle). With an 80 litre fuel tank onboard, a handy range is available when you want to get away from it all.

Standard equipment for the Nissan 350Z roadster includes automatic climate control air conditioning, cruise control, four airbags, 240 watt Bose sound system (6 disc in dash CD player) with seven speakers, leather trim, sports bucket seats with heating and power adjustment, 18" alloy wheels, retracting exterior rear view mirrors and electrically operated folding soft-top.

Stephen Walker with the Nissan 350Z Roadster (copyright image) 

Click on the image for a larger view

The warranty period is 3 years or 100,000 kms (whichever comes first) and roadside assistance is provided for the same term.

On the road, we found our 553 kms around Sydney and Newcastle, to be a pleasurable experience. The image was satisfying, the performance was rewarding, the handling and ride qualities were expected and the comfort was deserving.

The 350Z isn't perfect though. The armrests on the doors slant downwards, in a direction that wouldn't be natural for a driver to rest an arm. But the almost hidden fuel filler release is another problem until you remember where it is hidden. There is a limited range of adjustment for the steering wheel (just 'rake' adjustment is available, as there is no 'reach' adjustment at all). Storage space is small, which is not uncommon with sports cars. But there is, at least, a small boot which will provide occupants with an excellent opportunity to travel "light".

You can't help but enjoy the Nissan 350Z roadster. The test car proved why the heritage of the Nissan Fairlady has provided the inspiration for Nissan to continue with the great tradition of sports cars. Whilst never a big seller, the Nissan 350Z roadster fits into a niche market for admired sports cars which will ensure enthusiasts can display an element of endearing enjoyment with the Fairlady model line that goes right back to 1968.

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Nissan content: here.

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