With its 287-horsepower engine, this rear-drive, two-seater ranks on Car and Driver magazine’s Top Ten. The 2003 Nissan 350Z uses the same engine as the high-end Altima and Maxima. It even speeds through the tightest curves with ease.
The structure looks completely solid with no creaks or groans. The suspension takes the edge off of bumps and dips so that the ride feels surprisingly smooth for a performance car. Part of the comfort results from the seats, which feel very soft yet supportive. The instrument panel looks very well configured and moves up and down with the steering wheel so that visibility never becomes a problem.
The Nissan 350Z offers precise handling with almost no body roll. The transmission shifts expertly and powers easily through all gears, even the sixth on the manual transmission. It includes several nice features on the interior, particularly in the higher-end models.
Body Styles: coupe
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmission: automatic, six-speed manual
Models: Nissan 350Z Coupe, Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Coupe, Nissan 350Z Performance coupe, Nissan 350Z Touring Coupe, Nissan 350Z Track coupe
The Z car gets completely redesigned for the model year resulting in the 350. Changes include the new FM (meaning Front Mid-ship) platform. The new platform means a compact engine compartment, a long wheelbase (104.3 inches), wide wheel tracks, short overhangs, and a 53:47 front-to-rear weight bias.
Bold strong lines and 17-inch wheels come on the lower two models of the 2003 Nissan 350Z, and 18-inch wheels improve the higher three. The Track coupe adds front and rear spoilers. The body unit welds steel stampings and a rubber-isolated rear subframe.
The 2003 Nissan 350Z includes very supportive bucket seats but the Touring’s seats feel particularly comfortable. They all have well-designed, ergonomic controls, but nothing seems overly luxurious about the interior materials.
Even the base comes with impressive interior features such as an automatic climate control system, power windows and locks, a CD player, and remote keyless entry. The Enthusiast adds cruise control and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The Performance also has a tire pressure monitor. The Touring and Track upgrade to a Bose stereo system with a CD changer, power heated seats, and leather trim. Unfortunately, the power outlet sits behind and between the two seats so any electrical items that you want on the dash, like a radar detector, require stretching a cord across the shoulder of your passenger.
Performance & Handling
Precise steering with minimal body roll and decisive responses mark some of the standout performance features. The 2003 Nissan 350Z has excellent grip, pulling 0.88 g on the skid pad. It starts and stops on a dime, doing zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and stopping from 70 mph in 164 feet. These performance numbers looks similar to the Porsche Boxer. The Nissan 350Z offers 287 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 274 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The six-speed manual transmission shifts confidently and smoothly. Surprising power comes from the non-turbo, non-supercharged V-6. It has a forged aluminum independent suspension and moves effortlessly around corners.
All models of the 2003 Nissan 350Z have anti-lock brakes with brake assist and remote keyless entry. The Enthusiast adds traction control. The Performance and higher models feature Vehicle Dynamic control. The Track uses high-performance Brembo brakes. It also has front airbags standard and optional head airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan 350Z Coupe (S5) automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Coupe six-speed manual: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Coupe (S5) automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Coupe six-speed manual: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Performance Coupe (S5) automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Performance Coupe six-speed manual: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Touring Coupe (S5) automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Touring Coupe six-speed manual: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Track Coupe (S5) automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan 350Z Track Coupe six-speed manual: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Styling, power, and handling
- Plush seats in the Touring
You Won't Like
- Interior styling stresses performance over luxury
- Lack of rear visibility
Good horsepower and great handling.
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