Review: Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)

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Rating:

Proper sports car. Wonderful handling, performance and a very good drive. 300PS 350Zs from March 2006 get hit by high £505 annual VED.

Quite heavy on the fuel. Not much luggage space. Long stroke 310PS engine not as gutsy as previous 300PS engine.

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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What does a Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009) cost?

Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4315 mm
Width 1815 mm
Height 1330 mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm

Full specifications

Dropping the top is a fiddly old process. You have to unclip it at the centre of the screen rail, have the engine running, put your foot on the footbrake, then find a button hidden under the dash. But when it's down the car looks fantastic. Unlike many sportscars, the cabin is actually very spacious with plenty of useful places to stow or put things. You don't feel claustrophobic in as you can in an MX5. And when you adjust the steering wheel height the instruments go up and down with it, so you can always see them clearly.

Child seats that fit a Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009) like to drive?

The engine note is pure fruity, bellowing V6 sportscar. Not too loud. Just wonderfully sonorous. The gearshift is precise, yet pleasingly clanky and old fashioned. You feel like you are working a big, strong box, plenty man enough for the engine's substantial 353Nm torque. And you have to get clutch and revs right, which is as it should be. It's a powerful car. You have to think. You can't just get in and drive.

On paper, the performance is supposed to be near identical to the Mercedes SLK 280 I had last week. 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. Top speed limited to 155. But, being manual, the Nissan feels massively faster. Traction control switched off for the steep hill out of Broadway it simply stormed up in a succession of neatly contained drifts, leaving everything else in its wake.

Strangely enough, on our run through the Cotswolds, we kept seeing Austin Healeys. And I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Cotswold residents for continuing to be the most polite and generous motorists I have shared roads with in the UK.

On the way back to Surrey we got stuck in a traffic jam. Took more than an hour to cover a mile. Yet despite the fun in the Cotswolds and idling fuel away in the jam we still managed 23mpg, which is only 0.5mpg short of the official combined figure.

The pleasure continued with a sightseeing run into London on a sunny Sunday. Docile as an old dog in the inevitable nose-to-tailers. A surprisingly comfortable ride on the pockmarked, traffic harming streets of Mouth Ken despite 225/45 R18 fronts and 245/45 R18 rears. Much better than the SLK280 on 225/45 R17 fronts and 245/40 R17 rears.

I love this car. It's powerful enough without being silly powerful. It handles brilliantly with bags of feel. It isn't crazy money to buy. It's brutally ugly, like a squashed toad. But I like that too. Sure the boot is tiny, the roof mechanism isn't the best and you can't see much with the top up. I don't care. I much preferred it to the SLK280 and if I had the cash to spare I'd definitely buy one.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
3.5 V6 24 mpg 6.1–6.2 s 280–288 g/km

Real MPG average for a Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

99%

Real MPG

18–29 mpg

MPGs submitted

13

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What have we been asked about the Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005 – 2009)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

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.
Answered by Keith Moody
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