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's 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, chiseled-from-a-block-of-aluminum look.
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 car.
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.
Price New :: $26,370 Coupe / $33,850 Roadster (Roadster price for Enthusiast version)
Engine :: 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine
Horsepower :: 287 @ 6200
Torque :: 274 @ 4800
Curb Weight :: 3188 lbs Coupe / 3428 lbs Roadster (Roadster weight for Enthusiast version)
0-60 mph :: 5.8 seconds
1/4 mph :: 14.4 @ 99.7 mph
Nissan has extended 2003 and 2004 350Z front-end alignment warranties in what it hopes is the final installment of the infamous tire feathering" saga.
All 2003 Zs are now covered for 36 months from the original in-service date or until Oct. 31, 2005, whichever comes later, and unlimited mileage. 2004 cars are covered for 36 months and unlimited mileage. 2005 and 2006 model years aren't included.
Nissan initially extended warranties to two years from the original in-service date for all 2003 model year 350Zs (AW, April 26, 2004).
Nissan earlier attempted to correct the malady by adjusting front toe settings, but some owners reported the problem's return. Nissan now will equip cars with Z-unique Bridgestone Potenza RE040 front tires that feature a modified tread pattern more resistant to tire feathering. Nissan says properly aligned cars fitted with the new rubber have experienced virtually no incidents of tire noise."
Nissan will pay for a portion of the replacement tire cost, up to the full amount for worn tires with more than 4/32-inch of measurable tread remaining. Nissan will also reimburse owners who replaced their front tires prior to the warranty extension.
Nissan began mailing warranty notifications on Aug. 8. For more information, call the company at (800) 343-0294.
(source: Autoweek), by Mac Morrison, 8-22-5
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