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Nissan 350Z: Buying guide and review (2003-2009)

Nissan 350Z: Buying guide and review (2003-2009) Classic and Performance Car
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It’s 15 years since Nissan launched the 350Z. Who today would launch a small coupe with a brawny, 276bhp 3.5-litre V6, manual gearbox and indulgent rear-wheel drive, all for the price of a basic TT? 
 
In fact, the 350Z was launched first in Japan and the US, and it was a year later, in the late summer of 2003, that we finally got the European-spec model, its suspension reworked by the team at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe, based at Cranfield, Bedfordshire. So good was this setup that Nissan adopted it for all Zs from that point forward.
 
In the UK it was keenly priced at £24,000 for the basic model, though most buyers forked out the extra £2500 for the GT Pack, which included an uprated Bose hi-fi, cruise control and electrically adjustable heated leather seats. A further £1000 added the Z’s signature forged 18-inch Rays alloys, which not only looked good but saved 4kg per corner.
 
In March 2005 the Roadster arrived, and three months later came the limited-edition GT4. It boasted an extra 20bhp, lifting peak power to 296bhp, and though peak torque was slightly down, it had a flatter torque curve, so it felt more muscular through the rev-range. For £29,500 you also got a colour choice of black or retina-searing Ultra Yellow Pearl, unique Rays alloys and (full nostalgia-mode engaged) a gift-box containing a PlayStation 2 console and a copy of Gran Turismo 4. Just 176 were sold in the UK, but the uprated engine was carried over to the regular Z for the 2006 model year. 
 
The biggest round of changes, though, came for 2007. The V6 was re-engineered, the new HR (for High Response) unit revving to a heady 7500rpm and feeling good for every one of its 309bhp – we recorded 0-60mph in 5.5sec. The process of reducing the weighting of the steering, clutch and gearshift that began with the 2006 car was also continued, making this the sweetest of the lot.
 
As more new cars are powered by small-capacity turbo engines joined to paddleshift gearboxes, a big, lusty, naturally aspirated V6 driving the rear wheels through a manual ’box is surely only going to seem more appealing. There are too many Zeds around for values ever to really fly, but well-cared-for cars are edging upwards. Here’s how to bag a good one.
 

Performance and specs

 
Nissan 350Z HR

Engine  V6, 3498cc 
Power 309bhp @ 6800rpm
Torque 264lb ft @ 4800rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, LSD
0-60mph 5.5seconds
Top speed 155mph (limited) 
Insurance group   47
Fuel consumption  24.0mpg
Price when new  £26,795
 

Dimensions and weight


Wheelbase            2650mm
Length 4313mm
Width 1816mm
Height 1334mm
Weight 1532kg
 

Common problems

 
• The original engine is known as the DE. This was revised in 2006, when the power went from 276 to 296bhp, then comprehensively re-engineered to make the 309bhp HR version that ran from 2007.
 
• Scott Fairman at Abbey Motorsport says the HR was greatly improved, both in terms of performance and robustness. The main issue with the early engine is that it burns oil. Because the catalytic converters do such a good job, you might not spot smoke from the exhausts, but check anyway.
 
• The piston rings are the weak spot. By the time the oil light comes on, damage has probably been done. Abbey is gearing up to supply complete exchange engines, the cost expected to be £4000-5000. Most Z engines burn at least some oil, so the first thing to check is the oil level and, if you’re buying privately, quiz the owner.
 
• Exhausts split near the junctions with the cats, so listen for blowing. A replacement back-section can be a grand or more.
 
• The biggest service is at 54,000 miles and costs around £500.
 
• Clicking from the rear axle is a common issue with the driveshaft joints. It shouldn’t require replacements – many owners have found that unbolting the shafts, greasing the splines with heavy-duty grease and torquing the nuts back up cures it. It’s a fairly simple task that a competent home mechanic can do, or a quick job for a specialist.
 
• Clutch replacement is likely to be one of the major expenses you’ll face – a clutch kit and flywheel are around £600, with labour adding a couple of hundred to that, so beware any juddering or slipping. With typical use they should last around 40,000 miles.
 
• Knocking from the front suspension almost certainly means the bushes in the lower compression arms need replacement. It’s a common issue. Genuine Nissan bushes are around £250 per side, plus about an hour or so’s labour, but many owners take the opportunity to upgrade to poly bushes, which last longer and also sharpen the handling.
 
• If the car is fitted with OEM 18in wheels, the tyres should be 225/45 front and 245/45 rear, evenly worn across the tread. Most experts recommend sticking with the OE Bridgestones.
 
• No serious rust issues as yet. Check the A-pillar and around the edges of the windscreen for any signs of rust, which could indicate a bodged windscreen replacement.
 
• Check the doors don’t drop when you open them. Conversely, the windows should drop slightly on opening. On the coupe, check the hatchback opens cleanly and the struts support it easily – and that the boot is completely dry. If the fuel-filler cap doesn’t ping open, it could mean an actuator has failed. Also check the headlight lenses are clear.

• Interiors are fairly hard-wearing – only the driver’s seat bolster might show much wear – so be suspicious of a tatty cabin. Check all the warning lights go out – ABS and airbag lights could require costly rectification.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• 350z-uk.com – 350Z and 370Z Owners Club
• nissansportz.com – Performance Nissan owners club
• abbeymotorsport.co.uk – Japanese car specialists
• kaizermotor.co.uk – Nissan specialst
 

The rivals

 
 
Between £4000 and £5000 gets you a pristine 222bhp first-gen TT quattro. A little more buys the excellent 237bhp Sport, or if you want even more brawn, the 247bhp 3.2-litre V6 quattro.
 
 
As with the 350Z, the Z4 is available in both coupe and roadster forms. The 3.0 version has 261bhp and pleasing – if not completely thrilling – rear-wheel-drive dynamics. From around £8000.
 
 
In some ways the closest modern equivalent to the 350Z, the GT86 and its Subaru cousin have less power (197bhp) but a similar driver-focused ethos and rear-wheel drive. From around £11,000.
 

Summary and prices

 
It’s possible to pick up a Z for as little as £4000, but this end of the market is largely populated by imports, modified cars and autos. Good UK cars start at around £5000 privately, with those from dealers from around £6000 for high-milers.
 
A really pristine low-miler with just one or two owners is anything from £8000 to as much as £10,000 – more for a GT4. And remember, you pay less road tax (currently £305) for a car registered before 23 March 2006. After that date, it’s a hefty £535.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin 
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Last updated: 16th May 2017
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Nissan 350Z cars for sale

20 Search results
Nissan 350Z
3950 99995 GBP
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £4,000 £4,000

    Air Conditioning, iPod Connectivity, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, ABS, Air Bag, Multiple Airbags, Twin Air Bags, Colour Coded Body, Metallic Paintwork, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, MP3 Player, Stereo, 18'' Alloys, Service history Nissan 350 Z, Icon of a sports car with 3.5 V6 engine and 6 speed manual gearbox.This car comes with Nissan Service history up to 2013 71000 Mls, and privately serviced there after.MOT is valid till MAY 2018Please note, this car was CAT C in 2014, however it has passed the VOSA VIC check and every MOT since.For more details, or to arrange viewing, please call us on 01243 774441

    • Mileage: 94000 mi
    • Engine size: 3498
    For sale
    Motion Automotive
  • Nissan 350Z

    £8,999 £8,999

    Variant name:Coupe ,Variant: Z WHAT A HEAD TURNER! EYE CATCHING ORANGE PAINT WITH RAYS LIGHTWEIGHT 6 SPOKE ALLOYS WITH ORANGE BRAKE CALIPERS! FULL ORANGE LEATHER UPHOLSTERY, BLUETOOTH CONNECTION. A POWERFUL 3.5L V6 WITH GIVES 308 BHP, COBRA EXHAUST SYSTEM & A GREAT SERVICE HISTORY

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 72700 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £7,950 £7,950

    Only 66,000 Miles, UK Specification, Full Main Dealer Service History, Black Leather Sports Seats, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Bluetooth Prep, Xenon Headlamps, Cruise Control, Brembo Brakes, Bose, Powered Folding Mirrors, Stunning Condition Throughout, Power Steering, Adjustable Steering Column, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, Anti-Theft System, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Quick-Clear Screen, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Side Air Bags, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, CD Player, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Headlamp Jetwash, Colour Coded Body, Metallic Paintwork, UK Supplied, 18'' Alloys, Full main dealer service history Affordable Cars Of Kent are recognised as one of the top 1,000 car dealerships in the whole of the UK & Ireland 2017 By Auto Express in a survey of over 20,000 new & used dealers.Over 70 Used Vehicles In Stock,Visit our Website For a Great Selection Of Used Cars,We Review Our Car Prices Regularly To Give You The Customer The Best Possible Deal..Nissan 350Z 3.5 V6 GT Sports Coupe 6 Speed Manual In Stunning Azure Blue Metallic.Only 66,000 Miles With Full Nissan Main Dealer Service History.Screen Price Includes a Parts & Labour WARRANTY,FINANCE AVAILABLE FROM 9.9% Apr,LIFETIME WARRANTYS AVAILABLE FROM £199**THIS CAR QUALIFIES FOR OUR TOTAL CARE PACK**All Our Vehicles Are HPI Checked **SPECIAL OFFER** WILLIAMS Synthetic Paint Protection Only £100 When Purchased With a 12 Month Warranty** As We Are Part Of AA Cars This Vehicle Comes With a Full AA History Check & 12 Months AA Breakdown Cover.PLEASE NOTE:Please Call Before Travelling As The Vehicle You Are Looking At May Be At Our Other SiteHaving trouble Getting To Us? Not a Problem,Customer Video Presentations Are Available On Request., Friendly Family Run Business Established For Over 18 Years With Over 70 Used Vehicles In Stock.

    • Mileage: 66000 mi
    • Engine size: 3498
    For sale
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £7,495 £7,495

    Bose, Full service history met silver with black heated sports leather,bose,18 alloys,great looking Z new mot & service upon sale Full service history, Black Full leather interior, Metallic Silver, £7,495

    • Mileage: 76000 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £6,495 £6,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Stability Control, Traction Control, Power Steering, Parking Sensors, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Adjustable Steering Column, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Retractable Headrests, Heated Seats, Full Leather, Front Centre Armrest, Electric Seats, Remote Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Colour Coded Body, Rear Spoiler, Radio Cassette, CD Player, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Alloy wheels, Service history A truly Iconic sports coupe - GT PACK - Stored in garage by previous owner who has covered only 33 miles since last MOT and has therefore reluctantly decided to sell - Only 4000 miles covered since New Clutch Fitted - To be sold with NEW MOT - Three year WARRANTY available.

    • Mileage: 80870 mi
    • Engine size: 3498
    For sale
  • NISSAN 350 Z V6 GT 2007

    £8,999 £8,999

    NISSAN 350 Z 3.5 V6 GT 2dr Coupe. Manual. Petrol 2007 (57 reg), Next MOT due 11/01/2018, 88,201 miles Full service history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Excellent, Alloy Wheels (18in), Sports seats, Electronic Stability Programme, Climate Control, Cruise control, Seats Heated (Driver/Passenger), Cruise Control, Electric Windows (Front), Alarm, Seats Electric (Driver/Passenger), Upholstery Leather, Computer (Driver Information System), In Car Entertainment (Radio/Cassette/CD Autochanger), Traction control, Remote central locking, Power-Assisted Steering, Immobiliser. 2 seats, Grey, Free Oil Service and Pre-Sale Inspection. HPi And National Mileage Certificate. Finance Available. Credit and debit cards accepted. BUY WITH PEACE OF MIND. WE HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR OVER 23 YEARS, DELIVERIES ARRANGED. GBP 8,999

    • Mileage: 88201 mi
    • Engine size: 3.498
    For sale
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £8,950 £8,950

    This Stunning 350Z Comes With The Following Huge Spec: Full Service History To Include 8 Stamps, Nismo Body Kit, 18 Inch Rays Alloys, Full Black Leather Sports Seats, Brembo Brakes, 6 Disc CD Changer, Electric Adjustable Door Mirrors, Phone Prep, Rear Parking Sensors, Climate Control, Electric Windows, Multifunction Steering Wheel, Xenon Headlights & Wash, 2 Keys And Much Much More. Parkway Motor Group Are An RAC APPROVED Dealer and All Our Cars Come With 12 Months M.O.T, Service, HPI Certificate and an RAC Warranty. RAC Inspections Welcome, Finance Packages and Extended RAC Warranties Available. For More Photos Visit www.parkwaymotorgroup.com or Call 01623 825560. Full Dealer Facilities, SHOWROOM OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK. PX WELCOME.

    • Mileage: 44352 mi
    • Engine size: 3500
    For sale
  • Nissan 350Z

    £99,995 £99,995

    This is the only high tune Nissan 350Z made by Veilside for the third Fast & Furious film, Tokyo Drift. It is the actual car that Takashi (known as DK - Drift King) owned and drifted in the movie. This includes the memorably perfect drift up the car park ramp and other high speed footage throughout the film. The car's specification is well known to Fast & Furious fans. Fitted with the Veilside Version 3 Wide Bodykit and an APS twin turbocharged engine, increasing the engine power from 280 to 430 bhp, with 420 lb ft of torque. This power is handled by a Nismo twin plate clutch (rated to 600 bhp) and a Nismo two way differential. Currently set up for drifting, the car could be returned to more standard specification if preferred. With Paul Walker's Toyota Supra selling at auction for £120,000 earlier this year, the investment value of these film star cars is clearly significant, and we couldn't resist including a photo of the Nissan parked next to a movie icon from an earlier era! Complete with full documentation proving its provenance. Properly imported into the UK and registered for road use, this is a stunning film star car that can be used on the road and is a sure fire entry to some important events.

    For sale
  • NISSAN 350 Z GT4 GRAN TOURISMO LTD EDITION 65/176 2005

    £15,995 £15,995

    THE UPGRADED GRAN TOURISMO LTD EDITION WAS SOLD IN 2005 JUST 76 CARS IN ULTRA YELLOW [AND 100 KURO BLACK],PRODUCED IN ASOSIATION WITH SONY PLAYSTATION. ENGINE REDESIGN TO 300BHP WITH 6 SPEED GEARBOX,GIVES A IMPROVED DRIVE TO THE CAR, VERY HIGH SPEC INCLUDES "BOSE" SOUND CENTRE 6CD DASH LOADER, HIGH OUTPUT WITH MULTI SPEAKER/BASE UNIT. LEATHER SEATING AND UNIQUE 18" RAYS ALLOYS;A LOCAL AREA CAR.IT HAS BEEN MAINTAINED ANUALY REGARDLESS OF MILEAGE AT MARSHAL AND COLLIERS MAIN NISSAN DEALERS THE LAST IN 2015 JUST A FEW HUNDRED MILES AGO ALL DOCUMENTED.;ALL FACTORY DOCUMENTS/HANDBOOKS ARE WITH CAR AS IS THREE KEYS AND ALL INVOICES. ;TRACKER SYSTM IS FITTED [USE SUBJECT TO CONTRACT];NEW PIRRELLI TYRES JUST FITTED TO FRONT, PIRRELLIS AS NEW ON REAR FITTED 2013 ;RECENTLY FITTED NEW DISCS AND BREMBO PADS;GTZ REGISTRATION REMAINS WITH CAR;;PX WELCOME DELIVERY CAN BE ARRANGED

    • Mileage: 26000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
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