Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009) At A Glance
Imagine the perfect afternoon. The Cotswolds. Clear blue skies. Open top-sportscar. And 300bhp under your right foot.
Could it have been the combination that made me like the 350Z so much? Or was it the car?
It was even my favourite Nissan colour, described as "Sunset Orange". It had Nissan's excellent Birdview DVD satnav, a reasonable £1,200 extra. And ‘Alezan' Orange leather seats, that won't be to everyone's taste but had a kind of sweatwork effect woven section that stops you sticking to them.
Nissan 350Z Roadster 2006 Road Test
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Real MPG average for a Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)
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Reviews for Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)'s top 3 rivals
Ask Honest John
Could you suggest a relatively easy to maintain and economic to fix modern classic?
"Having sold my two classic Triumphs, I'm at the age where I'm having difficulty in doing full maintenance jobs but still appreciate driving and owning a classic car as my hobby. Is there a car that I could purchase that gives me the thrill of a "classic car feel" and turns heads but is (relatively) easy to maintain whilst, if needed, incur low(er) garage costs for those jobs I am unable to tackle? I have a car for everyday travel and not too keen on a Morgan due to its harsh ride, so could you another two-seater soft top? I have about £40,000 to spend."
It's going to be tricky to tick all these boxes. If you want something that turns heads, that normally means a premium model such as a Porsche. In which case, you'd be expected to have anything but the most basic oil and filter it serviced at a specialist. Plus, if you're after mod cons like power steering, air-con, decent stereo (and soundproofing) then you're looking at cars that are a bit more complicated. If you're after something that's easy to get in and out of and doesn't have harsh ride, then you may have to think outside the box. You could go for something traditional such as a Triumph Stag (assuming you want to keep it Triumph), which is still very much a classic two-seater with a great engine. Alternatively, look at 911 ownership for a bit of wow-factor, and a decent compromise between mod cons and specialist servicing... and don't discount the later Jaguar XJ-S. We know plenty of people who own Honda S2000s and are terrifically happy with them - stunning performance and reliability (see also Nissan 350Z). Sightly left of centre coupe options to consider - BMW 8-Series and Mazda RX-7 or RX-8 if you're feeling brave, Toyota Supra. We'd also have a look at hot hatches - cars like the Mk1 Golf GTi and Peugeot 205 GTI are excellent to drive, have reasonably mod cons, and can be maintained at home... they also have plenty of wow-factor. Perhaps something like a TVR Griffith would also suit you.
What's the best, fun two-seater convertible or coupe?
"I have up to £7000 for a fun two-seater - ideally a convertible but a coupe would be fine. It will be used for a daily seven mile commute and at weekends. It needs to be reliable, handle well, be quick and fun. I also don't really want the worry of some known inherent problem which would involve significant expenditure. I was thinking of the Mazda MX-5 2.0 or MR2 (storage isn't a priority), but also noticed the Nissan 350Z, BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster. What would you suggest or can you think of something else?"
You'll find the greatest choice among MX-5, but they need to be the 2.0 Sport 6-speed model and you need to be sure you can fit inside comfortably. Also be aware there is very little cabin space for bits and pieces. A 350Z is brilliant, especially the 300PS roadster of around 2006, but they gobble fuel, and clutches. A Boxster could mean scarily big bills. Z4 don't steer very well. MR2 are great fun and good late ones are now appreciating but, like the MX-5, not a lot of room inside and hardly any luggage space. Check out the entries in http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar
"For years I've yearned a Porsche Boxster and have now reached a time in life when it becomes practical. I can't stretch to a brand new one so I'm looking at a 2 or 3 year-old version. The two options I'm looking at are the standard 2.9 or the 3.4 Boxster S. The prices are not radically different, nor the fuel economy so I wondered what tips would you give in making my choice? Or am I hankering after a long held desire and there are better all round alternative marques I should be considering? "
Purists prefer the Cayman with a Limited Slip Diff to the Boxster. I'm not that keen. I'd prefer an older 911 GT3 for the same sort of money. Cheaper and more fun than the Boxster: the Nissan 350Z 300PS roadster from around 2006. That was the subject of this test: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/nissan/nissan-350z-roadster
Best second hand Japanese convertible sport car?
"I have recently moved to Italy and am in the last throes of my youth. I am interested in buying a second hand convertible but don't want anything too precious. I am thinking it makes sense to import from the US, would you agree? Any advice? Which is the easiest, most fun, sensible and economical car option?
Obvious choices are 350z, S2000, MC-5 or RX8 (I know it's not a convertible). When I read comments about checking oil every week or not suitable for short trips I get worried because I know I will break these rules sooner or later. I will get rid of my current rhd car so the new one should be reasonably practical too (supermarket trip)."
The most powerful is obviously the 350Z. The best of these was the 300PS version with the uprated original engine rather than the longer stroke later engine. But most sensible is an MX-5 2.0i Sport, preferably the later version with the chain cam engine. S2000s need to be revved to give their best, and some of them lack steering feel, but the engines are tough. I can't help you with importing from then USA to Italy. The regulations on car registration in Italy are so complicated that even BCA has not opened an auction house there.
What does a Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009) cost?