NISSAN 350Z

Three-and-a-half liters of Vee-Six power

It was with great eagerness that I walked into the Nash Nissan dealership to collect the 350Z for my test drive. You know that feeling, when you've waited for a long time for something special to happen, like counting down the days to an exciting event. Well, I just couldn't wait to slide in behind the wheel of Nissan's new Zed. After all the advertising hype on TV and in the papers, I was trying desperately to look nonchalant.

But before I could take her out on the road, I was subjected to been shown all the fancy technology in the 350Z (I remember thinking, "can't we do this afterwards?"), but Johan was determined to give me the rundown before he handed over the keys, so here goes. Obviously the man thing to do is pop the bonnet first. The 350Z is powered by a high-tech, 3498cc, normally-aspirated fuel-injected, DOHC, aluminium, V6 mill. Producing 206kW at 6200rpm and a whopping 363Nm of torque at 4800 revs (and we weren't even in the car yet). The motor is placed longitudinally in the chassis which means only the rear wheels are driven. Transmission is 6-speed manual with a carbon fibre reinforced drive shaft and a limited slip differential with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). Opening the boot revealed a big aluminium strut (for increased body rigidity) spanning across the luggage bay, which I thought was large for a true sport car.

Finally, we got into the car. I wasn't taking any chances, so immediately started the engine and drove out the showroom and into the street, before Johan could even fasten his seat belt. The gear lever is short and the power phenomenal, as you hold tight and push the pedal to the floor. The 350 will have you breaking the speed limit in under 8 seconds and is capable of reaching a governed top speed of 250kph.   I managed a quick burst of 210 without any sweat (hey, we were on public roads and all). The Z handles superbly, thanks to the wide, squat wheelbase, 18 inch- low-profile tyres and independent, multi-linked, firm suspension. Brakes are Brembo ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels, with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), stopping the 1500kg sports car just as fast as it accelerates.

The interior is plush, but still very sporty. All the sound controls are on the three spoke steering wheel as well as on the CD/Radio/Tape deck, not that I even switched the thing on, the music emanating from the twin exhausts was better than Bruce Springsteen (almost). There's storage nooks and cup-holders and even a holder for your sunglasses. The bucket seats hold you firmly but comfortably and are electrically adjustable. The steering wheel also adjusts for height. The Nissan has a nifty auto-up function for the electric windows which helps when closing doors.

At R385 000.00 the fully imported Nissan 350Z is worth every rand. Now all I need to do is speak very nicely to my bank manager.   Thanks to Harold Bromberg and Johan van Vuuren of Nash Nissan in Al-ber-ton for the drive.

 

Performance

Maximum Speed

250km/h (governed)

0-100km/h

5.9 seconds

Engine

Model

VQ35DE

Cam design

DOHC

Orientation

Longitudinal

Cylinders / Configuration

V6 with CVTCS and Molybdenum-coated pistons

Block / Head composition

Aluminum / Aluminum

Maximum Power

206kW @ 6200rpm

Maximum Torque

363Nm @ 4800rpm

Displacement

3.5 litre (3498cc)

Drive Configuration

Mid-mounted front-engine / rear wheel drive

Transmission & Drivetrain

Gear Ratios

6-speed manual transmission

1st to 6th

3.794, 2.324, 1.624, 1.271, 1.000, 0.794

Reverse

3.446

Final Drive Ratio

3.538

Drive Shaft

Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic

Differential

Viscous – Limited Slip

Mechanism

Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)

Steering

Type

Rack and Pinion, power assisted

Suspension

Type

Front and Rear – independent, multi-link. Ripple control shock absorbers.

Brakes

Type

Brembo, ventilated disks (front and rear)

System

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)

Tyres & Wheels

Wheels

18-inch alloy

Tyres

Front: 225/45R18 91W, Rear: 245/45R18 96W (Bridgestone)

Dimensions

Length, width, height (mm)

4310, 1815, 1320

Wheelbase (mm)

2650

Track: Front, Rear (mm)

1540, 1545

Rear Overhang (mm)

855

Weight

1500 (kg)

Fuel tank capacity

80 (litres)

Fuel

Required type

Premium Unleaded

Features

Safety

Airbag system

6-Airbag system (driver and passenger have front, side and curtain airbags)

Seat belts

3-point seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters

Security

NATS immobilizer

Remote keyless entry

Logical lighting (illuminated entry, with time-delay fade-out)

Exterior

Lamps

Xenon headlamps with auto levelizer and headlamp cleaners, rear fog lamp, high-mounted stop lamp

Wipers

Front Wiper: 2 speed and variable intermittent. Rear Wiper: intermittent.

Comfort & Convenience

Ventilation

Automatic airconditioner, micro filter ventilation system

Audio system

BOSE, radio/tape/6-disc CD, 7 speakers.

Windows

Power windows, one-touch up/down

UV cut glass – windshield and door glass

Rear window defroster

Interior Lighting

Dual overhead map lamps

Door mirrors

Power adjustment, heated (through defogger system)

Cruise control

Standard

Utility

Accessory power outlet with cap (DV 12V)

Sunglass holder (overhead console)

1 Cupholder

Centre console storage bin

Driver and passenger sunvisors, both have illuminated vanity mirrors

Pedals, Footrest

Aluminium-covered pedals (accelerator, brake, clutch) and footrest

Boot

Carpeted, illuminated, space for 2 golf bags

Seating capacity

2

Upholstery

Charcoal black or burnt orange leather (see options)

Driver’s seat

Heated, 4-way adjustment (power slide and recline, manual cushion lifter)

Adjustable head restraints

Passenger’s seat

Heated, 2-way adjustment (power slide, manual recline)

Adjustable head restraints

Seat back fall down function – manual – lever on seat back

Steering wheel

3-spoke black leather with height adjustment.

Instrumentation

Drive computer

Standard

3-bay gauges

Trip computer, oil pressure monitor, voltmeter

Displays

Clock, exterior temperature, programmable shift indicator (rpm timing for effective gear shift changes)

Controls

Instrument panel illumination, headlight height adjustment

Warning lamps

Headlight on, driver’s seat belt

Switches

Defogger (includes door mirror heating), power door locks (driver’s side)

Remote releases

Boot lid, fuel filler

 

 

Looks like it can do 300 kph in neutral.

Test car courtesy of  NASH NISSAN. 3 Voortrekker Road, Alberton.  Tel: 011 907 3510.