The Nissan Z has true sports car enthusiasts sitting up and taking notice. With its speed, power and oh-so-cool look, the 2003 350Z does not disappoint.
I know the Z is a cool car, but what kind of power does it have? I don’t want a pansy car.
No pansies here. The Z boasts a 287-hp, V-6 engine, capable of 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds.
5.4 seconds, huh? What’s the secret?
With a hood, suspension and engine all made with as much aluminum as possible, the Z has some real zip. The aluminum throughout the suspension means a 25 percent weight reduction versus standard materials. The drive shaft is made with carbon fiber and the steering wheel with magnesium, and the aluminum pedals are drilled.
Light is good. How’s it handle?
The Nissan Z is a “wheel-centric” car, which means its body was essentially poured around wheels that were placed at the far four corners, creating a long wheelbase. Then, Nissan adjusted the weight distribution, pushing the engine back, the driver’s seat toward the middle and the fuel tank forward, toward the center of gravity Ñ all of which help to keep the wheels flat for improved cornering performance.
What’s all this speed gonna cost me?
The cars runs about $25,269 to start (but this doesn’t include the cost of speeding tickets).
This all sounds too good to be true.
Well, you’re paranoid.
If I decide to put the pedal to the metal, am I gonna be killed?
I can’t answer that because I don’t know how you drive, but there are plenty of safety features in this sporty speeder, including Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). This system instantly senses when the car is losing its intended trajectory. It may remedy the situation by reducing engine torque to specific wheels or applying brakes as necessary.
Cool. What else will protect me from myself?
Many of the Z’s safety features are inspired by race car safety features. A cabin structure built with cross members and reinforcements surrounds you, along with energy-absorbing, side structures. You’ve also got the added safety of front and rear crumple zones, front dual-stage air bags and available side air curtains.
One more thing. I want people to hear me comin’.
I like it loud. Not a problem. The Z comes with 240 watts of pure Bose audio, coupled with an in-dash 6-CD feed-the-meter changer – all pumped through seven speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer, that were precisely positioned by Bose to assure the truest, fullest sound. Rock on!
Writer Cheryl McMullen is managing editor of BodyShop Business.