Nissan went back and began designing a new car from scratch and what they came up with is the 350Z we know and love today. The 350Z was designed by Diane Allen in the year 2000. Diane kept the same ideas of the 240Z, such as the long hood and sloping rear. The car was very well received and became available for purchase in 2002.
During its life cycle from 2002 to 2009, Nissan made many modifications to the car, such as the different engine configurations. The cars made from 2002 to 2006 came from the factory with the VQ35DE with the earlier models producing 287BHP and 274LB-FT and the later 2006 and some 2005 models producing 300BHP and 260LB-FT. All of the 2007 to 2009 models came with the VQ35HR that produced 306BHP and 268LB-FT. All cars were available with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Nissan also had six trim packages available base, enthusiast, performance, track, touring and in 2004 the roadster with an electric retractable sunroof. The different packages specs are
- Enthusiast – traction control, cruise control and a VLSD
- Performance – 18-inch wheels, rear spoiler, front air dam, vehicle dynamic control (VDC) and optional Brembo brakes
- Track – Brembo brakes, traction control, front air dam, spoiler, VLSD 18-inch wheels, and optional GPS.
- Touring – Power leather seats, vehicle dynamic control (VDC), VLSD, upgraded headlights, 18-inch wheels, optional Brembo brakes and GPS
- Roadster – Available in Enthusiast and Touring.
Nissan also has many special editions of the 350Z such as the anniversary edition, 350Z GT-S that came with a supercharger and the Fairlady Z type E to name a few. These models were made in very limited numbers and are very hard to come by.
Due to the overwhelming success of the 350Z as it sold over 150,000 cars in the US alone, Nissan had the vehicle in over nine different motorsports categories such as Drifting, Grand-Am, NASA and speed trials.
The stock 300HP of the 350Z is great for zipping around and is a good suit for the car. But in today’s day, the 350Z lacks behind most other newer performance cars on the road. Fortunately, Nissan cars are known for their tuning potential and squeezing extra horsepower out of your 350Z can be an easy task. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to produce big horsepower numbers, it’s not going to be cheap. If you want to build a Mustang killing monster or just want a little extra power, the 350Z can accommodate. A simple rule of thumb is the stock internals of the VQ35 can reliably and safely handle around 400 to 450WHP. Some 350Z owners were able to push their cars well beyond this, but reliability starts to become an issue. Pushing the motor above 450WHP, it is recommended to begin upgrading engine internals.
If you are looking for the best performance mod for the 350Z, the best investment you can make is in yourself. Taking a professional driving lesson will allow you to push your car harder and with more confidence. You can have the fastest car on the track but if you don’t know how to drive it what good is it. Also if you plan on a high horsepower build, you are going to want to ensure you have supporting mods in places such as brakes and suspension.