Datsun forever changed the world of affordable sports cars when they launched their sleekly styled, six-cylinder missile, the Datsun 240Z, in 1971. Five years after the Z car's reintroduction to the U.S. market, the 2008 Nissan 350Z happily stays true to the 240Z's successful blend of performance, style, and reasonable price.
The 350Z shares its platform with the INFINITI G35 sedan and G37 coupe. These cars all use Nissan's FM (front midengine) platform that places the engine behind the front axle line for optimal weight distribution, resulting in excellent handling. The 350Z uses the fourth-generation 3.5L, 24-valve DOHC V6 which in this application, makes 306 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual and a 5-speed automatic transmission with down-shift rev matching are available, and both a coupe and a roadster are on offer.
Inside, the Z is obviously a pure driver's car. The tachometer is large and directly ahead of the driver. When you release the tilt lever the whole instrument pod goes up and down with the steering wheel. It's a thoughtful detail that ensures a great view of the instruments at all times. The three small round gauges atop the center of the dashboard echo back to the original Z car, and a large storage compartment opens right below it. This is where the GPS system resides if you choose this option. Everything in the cockpit is pointedly styled, and just flat out works.
Even better than the interior is the driving. Nissan obviously went to a lot of trouble to make the Z chassis an exceptionally stiff one. Under the hood a brace connects the two shock towers. There is also a larger cross member that takes up a significant amount of rear cargo area. The Z's power is magnificent. The stiff chassis makes for a firm ride, but it also elevates the handling prowess of the Z beyond some high-buck sports cars. The ABS-equipped four-wheel disc brakes are absolutely fantastic.
The 350Z has a number of trims, including Enthusiast, Touring, and Grand Touring. The Enthusiast adds a limited slip differential, traction control, cruise control, aluminum pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a HomeLink universal garage door opener. The Touring gets heated leather seats, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, and a Bose audio system. The Grand Touring adds Brembo brakes, super lightweight 18-inch wheels, vehicle dynamic control and front and rear spoilers.
Side air bags for both the body and head are optional, as is a DVD-based navigation system, and satellite radio.
A limited number of NISMO coupes will be built for 2008. These special edition vehicles have a more rigid body (as much as 60% stiffer in many areas), a rear diffuser, a front spoiler, lighter wheels, large Brembo brakes, and a suspension with high spring rates and a bigger rear stabilizer bar.
Performance; aggressive style; comfort (for a sports car); reliable.
The 2008 Nissan 350Z continues on with no significant changes from the previous year. One new color is available: Nogaro Red.
The limited edition 350Z NISMO that was released for 2007 continues on for the 2008 model year. Available as a coupe only, the NISMO is billed as the best handling Z ever, and is equipped with all manner of performance enhancements, including an aerodynamic kit, tuned exhaust, lightweight wheels, Brembo brakes, and a stiffer body.
Nissan's 2008 350Z manages to capture all the excitement of the original Z car. The 350Z is one of the few affordable sports cars that is still offered as either a coupe or convertible. The car's styling is notable, handling is taut, and power is ample, and the coupe starts at $28,605 including destination charge. Few other cars on the market can make such claims, while still being an honest-to-goodness sports car.
Vehicle Price: 29,205.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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