The Nissan 350Z is an S-segment or sports car built by the Japanese automaker from 2002 to 2008 as a three-door coupe and a two-door roadster. It has a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout based on Nissan’s FM platform.
The 350Z belongs in a long-running series of Nissan sports cars, the Z-car series or Nissan Fairlady Z in Japan, which first saw production in 1969. The following generations show the position of the 350Z relative to its siblings:
- 1st generation – Nissan 240Z (S30)
- 2nd generation – Nissan 280 ZX (S130)
- 3rd generation – Nissan 300ZX (Z31)
- 4th generation – Nissan 300ZX (Z32)
- 5th generation – Nissan 350Z (Z33)
- 6th generation – Nissan 370Z (Z34)
The naming system used for each series indicates the engine used, i.e., 240Z is powered by a 2.4-litre L24 I6 engine, while the 350Z came with a 3.5-litre VQ35DE V6 engine.
The Z-car was one of Nissan’s early attempts of building a sports car for the international market. Under the leadership of Nissan USA President Yutaka Katayama in the early ‘60s, the Z car project progressed intending to produce inexpensive GT cars with parts that could be interchanged with other Nissan models.
The first Nissan Z was released in 1969 as the Fairlady Z in Japan but exported as the 240Z. The generations up to the 300Z series in 1999 were built at Nissan's Shatai plant in Hiratsuka. After this period, Nissan focused on building SUVs, resulting in a lull in the development of the Z-car.
During this hiatus, Renault acquired 44% of Nissan and appointed Carlos Ghosn as Nissan’s new CEO. In 2000, Ghosn announced the revival of the Z. A few months earlier, Nissan launched the 240Z Concept at the 1999 North American International Auto Show to keep the interest in the Z alive. Two years later at the same auto show, Nissan presented another Z concept, which previewed the next Z production car – the 350Z in 2002.
350Z Design, Powertrain & Trims
Diane Allen of Nissan Design America penned the design and styling of the 350Z. The car displays the Z characteristic of long-hood, short-deck features. Its exterior styling includes a sloping fastback-like roofline, high waistline, flared fenders, and brushed-aluminium door handles. The brushed-aluminium theme in the exterior ties up with accents of the same material in the interior.
This Z generation used a (3,498 cc) 3.5-litre VQ35DE DOHC V6 petrol engine, generating up to 206 kW of power and torque of 363 Nm. This output drives the rear wheels via a 6-speed FS6R31A manual gearbox or 5-speed RE5R05A automatic transmission. This V6 engine is an upgraded version of the one that powered the Nissan Skyline V35/CV35.
In Australia, the following trims were available:
- Convertible/Roadster, base model – 2 doors/2 seats; features dual front and side airbags, ABS, automatic air-conditioning/climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, CD with 6-CD stacker, central locking/RC, EBD, electric top, engine immobiliser, limited-slip differential, leather steering wheel and upholstery, power front seat/mirrors/steering/windows, radio cassette with seven speakers, seatbelt pretensioners, sports seats, and traction control system
- Coupe/Touring, base model – 2 doors/2 seats; similar equipment as the base model convertible but features 17-inch alloy wheels instead of 18, brake assist, head airbags; does not include an electric top and sports seats
- Coupe/Track – 2 doors/2 seats; adds to the Touring/base18-inch alloy wheels, body kit, premium brake package, and vehicle stability control
In an update in 2005, the convertible/roadster’s base model added brake assist, premium brake package, and vehicle stability control to its standard equipment. Also joining the range of models were the following trims. This list includes a special edition for this year only.
- Roadster/Touring – 2 doors/2 seats; available with 5-speed automatic transmission only; adds heated front seats and Xenon headlights to the base Roadster model
- Roadster/Track – 2 doors/2 seats; available with 6-speed manual gearbox only; adds Xenon headlights to the base Roadster model
- Coupe/35th Anniversary – 2 doors/2 seats; available with 6-speed manual gearbox only; adds heated front seats, sports seats, and Xenon headlights to the base Coupe model
The 2005 35th Anniversary edition and Track model and all trims for the 2006 model year were powered by a revised 3.5-litre VQ35DE V6 engine, which gained additional power, now producing up to 221 kW and 353 Nm.
The versions produced from 2007 and 2008 came with a new powertrain which resulted in a faster car, making these model years the most sought-after by car enthusiasts. The engine used for the final years of the 350Z starting in 2007 was the 3.5-litre VQ35HR V6 paired with an updated CD009 manual gearbox, together delivering 230 kW and 358 Nm to the rear wheels.
Nissan produced the 350Z at their Oppama and Tochigi plants in Japan until 2008. The 370Z, which is the Z car currently in production, replaced the 350Z in 2009.
If you have a 350Z, especially the 2007 and 2008 model years, you’re one lucky chap! Remember, however, to keep it in tiptop shape. The good thing about the Z-series is that they were designed with the principle of interchangeability of parts with other Nissan models. Still, you need to choose the parts you buy carefully. At Carpart.com.au, you will find thousands of car parts sellers in one place. You can see what's currently available by browsing the classifieds, or you may also send us a parts request so we assist you in finding a reliable seller.