Why we drove it
Fun to Drive
Price of Test Vehicle: $39,115.00 (includes $605.00 dest. charge)
Engine Size and Type: 3.5 liter DOHC V6
Engine Horsepower: 300 at 6,400 rpm
Engine Torque: 260 at 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Curb weight, lbs.: 3,370
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway):19/25 mpg
Observed Fuel Economy: 18.9 mpg
Leg room (front/rear): 42.6 in.
Head room (front/rear): 38.2 in.
Max. Seating Capacity: 2
Max. Cargo Volume: 6.8 cubic ft.
Competitors:BMW Z4, Chevrolet Corvette, Chrysler Crossfire, Mazda RX8, Mercedes SLK
Second Opinion – Brian Chee
I love this car because it defies reason, deals directly with the heart and is quite affordable. Sure, in the sterile lab of vehicle evaluations it has its compromises – poor visibility, low-slung seats that penalize love handles, cargo and dicey materials come to mind – but canyons aren't in laboratories and the real world requires a blast of fun once in a while. This sweet, sweet car sure delivers fun. The short-throw six-speed manual transmission, the tightly wound V6 engine…and that sexy-mean-sweet-devilish design makes this one heck of a car. Write it down: the 350Z will one day, be just as much a classic as it fore fathers. But heck – who cares about that when there's a twisty road to run and a bright blue baby to take on it?
Second Opinion – Chris Wardlaw
This car is a ticket magnet. I couldn't resist dipping deep into the delicious V6's well of power, blaring my disregard for authority through the 350Z's sexy twin exhaust outlets. First gear was tricky, and I rarely launched the car smoothly, but once moving the Z was a blast to drive and utterly unflappable. Seat comfort was lacking, mainly because I'm a smidge too tall and wide for the sport-bolstered seats, but the driving position was perfect. This Z also didn't feel cheap inside like it did when it launched in 2003. What a terrific sports car bargain.
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry