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

Nissan 350Z: Buying guide and review (2003-2009) Classic and Performance Car
Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z Nissan 350Z
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
3950 15995 GBP
  • NISSAN 350Z 3.5 V6 300 3dr

    £4,941 £4,941

    Type: Used Year: 2006 Make: NISSAN Model: 350Z Trim: 3.5 V6 300 3dr Body: Coupe Trans: Manual Mileage: 104767 Engine Size: 3498 Ext Color: Silver

    • Mileage: 104767 mi
    • Engine size: 3498
    For sale
    £4,941 £4,941
    Evans Halshaw Citroen Stockport
    01616154633 View contact number
  • NISSAN 350 Z CUSTOM ONE OFF WIDEBODY DESIGN STUNNING CAR BARGAIN PRICE 2002

    £8,995 £8,995

    PICTURES DO NOT DO THIS CAR JUSTICE IT LOOKS / SOUNDS AMAZING WE STRONGLY ADVISE EARLY VIEWINGS AS THIS WILL GET SNAPPED UP VERY QUICK;Nissan 350z 6spd manual;Comes with GT pack extras;One off custom built widebody version ;Wide body fabricated from metal NOT fibreglass like most;Rays kreutzer brainer victrix alloy wheels 18x 11j 13jj 5x114.3 deep dish;Brembo brakes (upgraded with DBA slotted front disks and Ferodo DS2500 pads);AMUSE TITANIUM EXHAUST costs about GBP 2000 Stainless twin exit tail pipe;Custom design front rear bumpers;Clear front headlights;TEIN 'FLEX' FULLY ADJUSTABLE COILOVER SUSPENSION;In Car EDFC (Electronic Damper force Controller) gives you 32 different settings for front and back suspension;Hks induction with super dry layer 3 filter fitted;HEAVY DUTY CLUTCH;Volage stabilizer +Earthing Kit;DE_RESTRICTED using HKS No limits package;Unmarked heated black leather;Tv Dvd sat nav jvc headunit;Factory fitted Bose system;91523km;Original mats;Oil pressure dial also battery voltage;Ice cold Ac;Folding mirrors;Twin air bags;Immobilizer with 2 keys;Car was imported in 2006;350z owners manuals;New clutch kit fitted;Replacement battery fitted;Regularly serviced with folder full off receipts;Cat 1 alarm certificate;Electric heated leather seats;Electric folding side mirrors with reverse setting for parking;SAT NAV with UK/EUROPE map ;Aftermarket JVC Double Din head unit hooked up to BOSE ;;

    • Mileage: 57000 mi
    For sale
    £8,995 £8,995
  • Nissan 350 Z

    £9,990 £9,990

    Climate Control, Full Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Headlamp Jetwash, Rear Spoiler, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, 18'' Alloys A highly modified Nissan 350Z. This 350 is fitted with a Supercharger and Coilover Suspension.This Nissan has a huge history file and has had much money spend on it. Please call for further details.We may be able to finance and take a part exchange.Viewing by appointment please.

    • Mileage: 75473 mi
    • Engine size: 3498
    For sale
    £9,990 £9,990
  • NISSAN 350 Z V6 ROADSTER 2005

    £5,295 £5,295

    NISSAN 350 z V6 ROADSTER finished in Grey (Manual), 56,500 miles with baseball part leather interior This car also benefits from the addition of Sat Nav. This car comes complete with a full service history.;;Amazing performance and sound from the 3.5 V6 engine. This car will never fail to disappoint.;;Features include Remote Roof Operation, 3 Month Warranty, Full Service History, Power Assisted Steering, Sports Suspension, Alloy Wheels, Drivers Electric Seat, HPI Clear, Remote Locking, Xenon Headlamps, Front, Side, Rear Airbags, New MOT Upon Sale, Sports Seats, Alarm, Cruise Control, Heated Door Mirrors, Rain Sensor, Warranted Mileage, CD Player, Electric Windows, Metallic Paint, Service Indicator, Air Conditioning, Headlight Washers, Radio, Trip Computer, Central Locking, Electric Roof, Ipod / Bluetooth Conn, SatNav, ABS, Half Leather, Power Fold Soft Top, Traction Control, Auto Wipers, Electric Mirrors, Immobiliser.;;Only GBP 5,295;;

    • Mileage: 56500 mi
    • Engine size: 3.498
    For sale
    £5,295 £5,295
  • NISSAN 350 Z STUNNING LOOKING 350Z ZIGEN EXHAUST VOLKS RACING RAYS MONOBLOCK RIMS 2002

    £5,995 £5,995

    Nissan 350z in silver;HS52BVU;19 FORGED MONOBLOCK VOLKS RACING RAYS WHEELS;Twin exit 5zigen stainless steel cat back;Upgraded braking system with drilled grooved vented discs with red stuff pads;Clean tidy body with no marks;Black electric heated leather;Cd DVD player with built in Bose system;6spd manual;73160km;Bose battery and oil pressure gauge operate good;Sat nav;All original under bonnet;Clear headlights;New alternator belt;Top mount strut brace;Recent mot;Hpi clear report available;New power steering pump fitted at 71599km;Owners manual;Date of first reg 01/11/2002;Imported 01/04/2006;3 previous owners;Last keeper since 02/02/2014;;WE DELIVER NATIONWIDE ;;CALL 7 DAYS;

    • Mileage: 73000 mi
    For sale
    £5,995 £5,995
  • 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
    £6,495 £6,495
  • 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
    £8,950 £8,950
  • 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
    £15,995 £15,995