The tradition of Nissan Z coupes stretches way back to 1970 when the legendary (Datsun) 240Z coupe first appeared. Buyers immediately took to the 240Z as not only did it offer a cheaper alternative to sports cars such as Porsches and Jaguar E-types, it also looked good, it had the right credentials (rear wheel drive, independent suspension and a punchy six-cylinder engine) and it provided plenty of driving enjoyment. In later years Z coupes grew larger and more powerful, yet they lacked the raw-edged sporty appeal of the earlier cars and the model line finished with the 300ZX in 1996.

The turbocharged four cylinder 200 SX has done a good job providing an affordable Nissan sports coupe, however it’s the 350Z’s job to re-ignite the Z-car passion with its upto-the-minute styling, its latest technology mechanical specifications and a standard equipment list that should please all. Two 350Z models are available, the Touring at $59,990 and the Track at $65,990. Those prices get you the six-speed manual version; five-speed automatic costs another $2,800. A roadster version of the 350Z is scheduled to arrive in Australia late this year. Both versions of the 350Z are powered by a high tech 3.5 litre 24-valve DOHC V6 engine that features an aluminium block and heads, continuously variable valve timing, direct ignition and electronic drive-by-wire throttle control. Drive goes to the rear wheels through a carbonfibre drive shaft and both traction control and a viscous limited slip rear differential are featured. Suspension is independent multi-link front and rear, with substantial strut tower braces fitted at both the front and the rear.



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