2005 Nissan 350Z The Sports Car
Looks like a sports car, sounds like a sports car, drives like a sports car, acts like a sports car, draws attention like a sports car.
by Judy Gell
Talk about stating the obvious! The spec sheet on the 350Z suggests that for comparison shopping you should refer to all vehicles classified as “sports car”. Yes–the 350Z is a sports car. It looks like a sports car, sounds like a sports car, drives like a sports car, acts like a sports car, draws attention like a sports car. Where does all this sportiness end? Do we even want it to end? I tested to 350Z this week, and found it to stray from the sports car profile in only the very best ways.
Our 35th Anniversary Edition 350Z test drive was a shiny Slivertone color. It was small, low to the ground and, in appearance, fulfilled the defining quote on the spec sheet: “a true sports car that fuels the rebellious spirit.” With 18-inch cast aluminum wheels, rear spoiler and front chin aero deflector, fender “Z” emblem and underbody diffusers, it looks ready to take to the road.
Inside, the “Z” has power adjustable, heated seating for two with leather seating surfaces. This is one area where I found the “Z” an improvement over my image of a sports car. As small as it appears, the interior was not cramped or close feeling. I’m no giant, but I do have long legs, and found the leg room generous, and also plenty of ‘elbow room’. Obviously not designed for cargo, there were still lots of innovative nooks and crannies for storage, and a surprising volume in the trunk. My daughter and I filled it up on a trip to Houston for my neice’s bridal shower. We packed in a huge gift bag, a gift basket, two overnight bags and could have put in more.
It was a long day for me, leaving from Duncanville and driving to Longview to pick up my daughter, then driving to Clear Lake City on the other side of Houston. I found it remarkably comfortable and easy driving, and arrived in good spirits and not exhausted or stiff from discomfort. I realise, of course, that these attributes are NOT what sells a sports car. I’ll have to admit that I’m probably at least slightly deficient in the ‘rebellious spirit’ category, but still, the Z challenged what there is of it in me, and I found it exciting to drive. Who could resist the urge to test the acceleration, the traction on the curves, the take-off from the stop light, the maneuverability in traffic?!!
The Z excels at it all. With a 300 horsepower 3.5 liter DOHC 24 valve V6 engine and 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission, you feel that you control the road. Independent aluminum multi-link suspension provides a surprisingly smooth ride, but if you choose, you can feel more like a race car driver and challenge the road with the viscous limited slip differential, traction control system and vehicle dynamic control.
So with the Z it’s you choice: you can look like a sports car driver, or be one, and have a blast either way. The MSR base price is $36,100.00.
Our test model included floor mats and side and curtain airbags, which brought the total, including destination charges, to $37,380. Fuel economy is estimated at 19mpg city and 25 mpg highway.