2006 Nissan 350Z GT Roadster – Test drive and new car review – 2006 Nissan 350Z GT Roadster

27 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Nissan 350Z GT Roadster – Test drive and new car review – 2006 Nissan 350Z GT Roadster
Nissan 350Z

Nissan’s cure for the wintertime blues

For those who worship the sun, nothing is more depressing than winter. Which means as soon as the first blade of grass defiantly peeks through the snow, it#146;s time to get out the convertible. If you own a Nissan 350Z Roadster, you sit by the window with binoculars scanning lawns looking for that brave piece of Fescue. The 350Z makes a darn good roadster. For $40,000, you get everything you need to please all your senses.

The Z comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile limited basic warranty.

First Glance. A hot look top up or down

Sexy, sleek, and sporty are just three adjectives that sum up the Z#146;s look. The styling faintly reminds m3 of the Z car#146;s beginnings over 35 years ago. A long nose and short deck are the basic styling cues.

For 2006, the 350Z, both coupe and roadster, receives an updated front bumper and headlight and grille design that are subtle but maintain the sports-car flavor. Large wheels and tires#151;18s in front and 19s in back#151;add presence to the car#146;s overall sporty image. The roadster incorporates cowl areas behind the seats along with bars for rollover protection and added structural integrity.

The power-operated soft top sits neatly under a power-operated hard tonneau cover for a finished appearance.

My test car was the GT trim level (Enthusiast and Touring are the other trims) equipped with high-performance Brembo (considered one of the best) brakes, front and rear spoiler, and Vehicle Dynamic Control, Nissan#146;s electronic stability control program.

The top operation is smooth and quick: it#146;s first a manual release of the single overhead latch (easy open and close), then hold down the brake pedal and push the button. Presto, chango, it#146;s topless cruisin#146; time.

Continued below.

In the Driver#146;s Seat: Tight quarters but well designed

Tight quarters, but it’s all about the driver in here

#169; Nissan

The Z was never meant to be the designated airport shuttle. That#146;s a good thing because you won#146;t be fittin#146; an oversized bag in the back and trying to sit in the passenger seat. At 4.1 cubic feet of cargo volume, pack lightly. There#146;s a small center storage box, with the real glovebox behind the passenger seat.

It#146;s a bit inconvenient, but it does have a lock so you can store valuables and leave the top down.

Nissan 350Z

The placement of the power seat controls on the inboard side of the seats was probably born from necessity, but works well and is a smarter location than the outboard side, where too often fingers get crushed trying to work those controls with the door closed. A shame more manufacturers haven#146;t figured this out. My GT was outfitted with special Burnt Orange-color ventilated leather-trimmed net seats that actually allow airflow when driving with the top down.

In case it gets cold, the seats also are heated.

The three-bay instrument pod is reminiscent of the original Z, and the shift lever for the six-speed manual is well placed for quick movement through the gears. Plus the audio and cruise controls are on the steering wheel, not only convenient but safe, because as much as I channel surf, my hands stay on the wheel.

On the Road: Mood-altering performance and sound

Throw away the Prozac and buy a Z. Everything about it is designed to lift your spirits. How could you not love this vehicle? The exhaust tone is throaty, raw, and makes you want to rev the engine to redline in every gear just to hear it roar. The 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 with 260 lb-ft of torque is beyond smooth, and is the proverbial genie, ready to grant your every wish no matter how hard or lightly you press on the throttle.

The Brembo brakes are equally up to the task, providing exceptional stopping power, especially when it#146;s combined with ABS and Brake Assist. The steering feels like a 1:1 ratio; even the slightest input rewards the driver with action. It#146;s as if the Z reads your mind and reacts instantly.

As with any cabrio, I expected a spine-jarring ride, but was surprised — no, astonished — at the smoothness of the chassis and the Z#146;s impeccable road manners. When you chop the top off a vehicle, stiffness disappears. Because the engineers added center and front-end structural reinforcements for strength, as well as more structure at the door openings and seating areas, the Z didn#146;t not experience any cowl shake (movement at the windshield pillars) or shuddering over harsh roads or even railroad tracks.

Journey#146;s End: The Z remains a top sports car

A good excuse to move to southern California.

Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z
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