The Nissan 350Z coupe and roadster undergo small changes for 2005. The coupe’s Track Pack edition of 2004 is gone, but there is a 35th Anniversary edition, produced in honour of the original Datsun 240Z that was introduced as a 1970 model.
The 35th Anniversary Z carries the same 3.5-litre V6 as the other models, but due to revised pistons and camshafts, and electronic exhaust valve timing control, horsepower is increased to 300 hp from the standard 287 hp.
The roadster receives a new Grand Touring Edition model, with a six-speed manual transmission, Brembo brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control and special 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Changes to the existing models include a standard tire pressure monitoring system, wider exterior heated mirrors, and front seat lifter. In cars with manual transmissions, the clutch pedal effort has been reduced; automatics receive downshift rev matching. The roadster receives a new Ultra Yellow exterior colour.
The 350Z coupe Touring and Performance editions are similarly equipped, except that the Touring uses a five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, while the Performance receives a close-ratio six-speed manual and Vehicle Dynamic Control. Standard features include four ventilated brake discs, Xenon headlamps, eight-way driver and four-way passenger heated seats, automatic climate control, power windows and locks, six-CD/cassette Bose stereo with seven speakers, Homelink universal transmitter, cruise control, aluminum pedals and auto-dimming mirror. A navigation system is optional.
The roadster comes with a five-speed automatic and includes the coupe’s standard features, plus a fully automatic soft top with heated glass rear window and power tonneau cover. The navigation system can also be added, along with roadster-specific Burnt Orange six-way adjustable ventilated leather-trimmed net seats. The seats are made with a woven seat cloth centre insert with an opening in the seatback, for air-flow during top-down driving.
The 350Z is a worthy successor to the company’s legendary line of Z cars, offering exceptional performance and driving dynamics at a reasonable price. A long wheelbase, a wide track and 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution produce a car that can be tossed fearlessly into the corners, yet exhibits flawlessly good manners when asked to make a run to the corner store for groceries. The uncluttered cockpit is true to its lineage but with a thoroughly modern feel. There’s a surprising amount of passenger space, and there’s enough space behind the seats for two golf bags; this car was made for weekend jaunts. The convertible just takes a good thing and makes it better.
But don’t disregard the competition entirely: the beautifully-styled Chrysler Crossfire Limited convertible has less horsepower, but with a $1,205 break on the price over the 350Z roadster, and the Infiniti G35 Coupe undercuts the coupe by only seven horsepower and $400.
The 350Z is built in Tochigi, Japan.