The all-new Nissan 350Z sports car,
unveiled in January 2002 went on sale in the United States and Canada in
August 2002 as a 2003 model. The stylish, 287-horsepower 350Z continues
the Z® heritage of design, performance and value that has remained
unchallenged since the original Datsun 240Z was introduced 33 years ago
as a 1970 model.
“To be successful in the marketplace, we know that the 350Z must deliver
in performance and design while keeping the price tag under $30,000. The
new 350Z does just that,” said Carlos Ghosn, president, Nissan Motor
Co., Ltd. (NML).
Other “must haves” for the new Z were also taken from the first
generation 240Z – a front engine/rear-wheel drive drivetrain
configuration, two-seat interior, a powerful 6-cylinder engine and, of
course, a simple and honest design. The new Z, like the original,
features a true hatchback body.
Design cues passed on from the first-generation Z include the long nose
and short deck styling, triangular cabin form and the lines extending
from the arch-shaped roof to the hatchback opening. To that heritage, a
newness has been added to contrast the soft, warm body shape with the
geometrical forms of the headlamps and other parts.
The instrument panel features three gauge pods, similar in design to the
240Z, consisting of the drive computer, oil pressure gauge and voltmeter
as well as modern touches such as a navigation system with video
display. The door vents and center console have a solid,
The hatchback design is accentuated by functional storage space. Though
the 350Z has been executed as a sports car, thorough attention has also
been paid to storage capacity, with sufficient luggage space for
carrying two golf bags behind the seats, a lockable luggage floor box
capable of storing a briefcase and other storage places. Another
interior feature is an integrated aluminum rear suspension strut tower
brace. The brace is finished to match the rest of the rear compartment
and carries a Z logo, which is visible from outside the vehicle. In
addition, the use of aluminum for the instrument finishers, door handles
and other places enhances the high-quality look of the interior.
The 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine produces 287 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of
torque, an expanded power range that comes as a result of reworking the
intake port design and adopting Continuously Variable Valve Timing
Control System (CVTCS) technology. This enables the engine to deliver
not only outstanding start-off acceleration and high-speed passing
performance, but also torque characteristics suitable for city driving.
Drivability has been further improved by adopting an electronically
controlled throttle, and the use of a highly rigid cylinder block
combines with other measures to produce engine sounds worthy of a sports
Suspension for the rear-wheel drive vehicle is a 4-wheel independent
design. Both 6-speed close-ratio manual and 5-speed automatic
transmissions are available.