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Thoughts on Nissan 350z.

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by mjgermane, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. mjgermane

    mjgermane Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2003
    507
    I was up at my local BMW dealer today getting some service done on my MINI and I decided to go over to the used car lot. I have been looking for an E36 M3 for some time now, and they had a couple. They also had a 2003 Nissan 350z that someone had traded in.

    I first looked at the M3's. I used to have a 1995 M3, and ever since I sold it I have been wanting another one. I drove a 98 and loved it. It was quick, agile, very good looking. The steering was precise, the exhaust note was excellent, and the transmission was awesome. It was everything that I remembered from my M3 and it made me want one even more.

    I then took out the 350z. I was going into the drive being very optimistic, I had heard a lot of good things about the car. Well, I was very dissapointed. I don't even know where to start. The car was not very quick. It had some power, but the power felt so different from the M3. The engine reminded me of an engine that would be in a Mustang. It definitely did not fell like it had 287 hp. It had no spring, meaning, when I blip the throttle I did not get pushed back in my seat. The pedal feel was loose, the steering was decent and suspension was ok, but it felt like a really heavy car. The interior was tacky, the visibility was horrible. The design is outstanding though. It looks great, but that is about where the good things end. The fit and finish is no where near BMW. I grew up with BMW, so I am biased, but I thought the 350z atleast impress me. IMO, if Nissan would have engineered the car for one more year, they could have done a lot better job.

    For those of you who have driven the 350z, what did you think?

    I pretty much just needed to rant. I am still surprised at how dissapointed I was.


    MJG
     
  2. Billy10mm

    Billy10mm Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    643
    Westchester
    Full Name:
    Billy Ng
    Same feelings as me. I stopped by a local Nissan dealer right after they hit dealerships to see what all the hype was about.

    The engine was ok, but in a car so track oriented, I felt they could have moved the power band up a bit. It felt like it ran out of breath near redline. I did like the transmission, shifting was tight and throws were short.

    What frustrated me most about the car was how useless it was. It was way too big to be just a 2-seat sports coupe, yet that gargantuan cheasy-plastic covered strut bar in the back all but eliminated what was already a miniscule trunk/hatch space.

    Why so big?? Why so much weight?? If they had put a turbocharged V6 in it and touted it as a touring car / muscle import / hot rod ... that would've been one thing. But it's clearly aimed at the track market and weighs about 500 pounds too many, is at least a foot too long, and needs to drop its center of gravity an inch or two.

    Instead of charging me more for the "Track" model with the Brembos and 18" wheels, why not understand that track people would've liked to have shed some pounds? Give me some lightweight seats, remove a bit of the sound-deadening material, give me a taller rear-end gear, give me 4 or 5-point harnesses standard, and do something with that suspension. Drop the standard traction control and vehicle stability control, get rid of the poseur 18" wheels and give me lightweight 17s (track rubber is easier to find in 16 & 17" sizes). Drop the cruise control, the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the HomeLink tranceiver, the power windows and doors, and the automatic temperature control.

    With that stuff deleted, you would have dropped the MSRP considerably, enough to make up for the Brembos and seats. The car would be 200 or so pounds lighter, the wheels would be lighter which reaps mucho on-track benefits, and the car would be much much quicker. You wouldn't totally offend the real sports-car enthusiast as you did, and the 16 year old kids would actually get at least a modicum of respect. The import tuner market with their wild wings, 3-dozen TV/DVD screens, and flamboyant paint jobs would still be ridiculed however.

    Bill in Brooklyn
     
  3. tk951

    tk951 Karting

    Jan 9, 2004
    103
    DeBary, FL
    Well, as an owner of a 350z I can share a few things.

    Firstly, this car impresses me less and less every day. I had an 86 Porsche Turbo that make this look like an experiment gone awry. The car does have some nice features, but let me focus on the issues, if these don't bother you, then you will love the car.

    Interior
    This was designed by blind monkeys sniffing glue. The power plug (for radar detectors, cell phones, etc). is between the seats on the back panel. This means that my radar detector cord is taught between the passenger and myself. Total stupidity.

    This vehicle has outward visibility similar to that of a WWI tank. I can see straight ahead, but to the rear, and especially the sides, it is horrific. I have blind spot mirrors mounted on my regular mirrors, and I use them!

    The plastic interior is definately cheap.

    The seats, while comfortable, are very cheap. My feels like it has something amiss, plus they wear. I have 13k miles on my Z and the drivers seat looks like my F150 seat did after 130000 miles.

    There is no armrest. Whats worse is my elbow sits directly on the button for the storage compartment, so I pop it open about 1431231 times a day.

    The center console where NAV would go was just a cheap, tacky design that will break soon.

    Enough on the interior, lets move outside..

    Exterior

    The car does have good looks. I get more looks than I ever did with the Porsche, and quite a few thumbs up. I have a funny story about this car and my friends 360, but I will save it for the right thread.

    The paint is cheaper than the stuff I put on model cars as a kid. A dark shadow will cause it to chip. I have about 3 or 4 major, to the metal, rock chips, and countless other small ones. I should have bought an invisi bra, but I waited, and now it is too late. I do have a regular bra on it.

    The gas flap is cheap cheap plastic. Why, I will never know, it just feels so cheap.

    The tires are a joke. NEVER EVER buy RE040s. I am a huge Bridgestone fan, as most tifosi are I would imagine. However that particular tire is crap. There is a known defect with the suspensio of this car that causes the tires to cup horrificly. My front tires were replaced under warranty at 8500 miles. This will continue to happen, because there is no real fix.

    A lot of people are having transmission problems. I have not, but I can tell you that after 13k miles I still have a hard time shifting this smoothly. This from a Porsche guy who has mastered the G15 and G50 transmissions.

    The car porpoises. My wife will not ride in this car. She gets sick. No discussion.

    Did I mention the paint was terrible. You just cannot imagine how poor it is.

    There are other issues too, the window regulators leave streaks on the windows (there is a tsb, but it didnt resolve my issue).


    Anyway, that is the worst of it. The engine is reliable, and mine is under a 100k btb warranty. I haven't gotten rid of it b/c of the financial loss I would take, but I will. I have no attachment to it as I have with my Porsches.

    I got it, because it was definately better than a boxsters (thats not saying much I know). As a long time Porsche nut it has been painful to watch the company become just a manufacturer as opposed to engineers that liked to race....a whole new thread, i know.

    BTW when you drove it, did you turn off the traction system. When I do the car is totally different. The difference between night and day.

    Sorry to type so much, but you can see how it has affected my day!!

    t.
     
  4. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Look are a subjective thing, which is why the G35 Infiniti coupe would have been my choice between the two.

    If I was in the market for that kind of vehicle I wouldn't even have looked at the Nissan because of it's exterior styling.
     
  5. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,421
    ny
    ive never driven one but i think the 350z is a great looking car for the $. there is a guy who tracks his in the northeast and his car flat out flies so i assume its pretty decent to drive also. m3 is in another price class.
     
  6. Johnny Bravo

    Johnny Bravo Formula Junior

    Jul 22, 2003
    532
    DC Metro/MD
    Full Name:
    Ben
    I agree with most of you guys in that it is rather heavy and slightly underpowered from what it ideally should be even the 'track' model although I have only been a passenger in one and not driven one yet. The G35 coupe I think is a lot better looking in that it's lines (although derived from the Z) flow MUCH better and generally looks more elegant overall IMPO. However, Nissan just came out with a version called the Type-E which has a bit different styling and I believe a few power/handling upgrades although I can't read Japanese so I'm not sure exactly what: http://www2.nissan.co.jp/Z/Z33/0310/LIMITED/main1.html

    Beyond that their performance division NISMO (to Nissan what AMG is to MB) is coming out with the S-Tune GT which takes the Type-E version much further: http://www.nismo.co.jp/complete/z_s-tunegt/index.html

    "Car is based on the 350Z Type-E (on sale from today). The Type-E is a commemorative edition and sells for the same 6.8 million Yen as the S-tune GT & features longer f/r bumpers and a side intake. Only 10 are being sold by Nissan while the S-tune GT will be sold through Nismo with 20 cars being built per month. The car has been made to celebrate Nismos 20th anniversary and is packed with bits from the Nismo catalogue.

    Engine gets hotter cams & pulleys, valves & springs, ecu, larger intake pipe with larger AFM, carbon air guide, carbon engine cover and black crackle-effect intake plenum, oil cooler, PS cooler, full stainless steel exhaust with sport cats, uprated clutch, S-tune suspension & stabilizers, F50 front brakes, 19" GT4s, Nismo alcantara seats and other bits & bobs. Power is rated at 300PS while torque is the same. Engine is supposed to be much much more responsive and free revving."

    I doubt we here in the US will ever see either of those versions at the dealership though. :(
     
  7. 4sfed4

    4sfed4 Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    231
    BWAHAHAHAHAA!

    That line is a keeper!
     
  8. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    148
    Marin Calif
    Good review/ insites.

    It is a good looking car. Some first model year issues?

    I read they did something with armrests and the center console cover.

    Tranny is a big issue though.

    Do intake and exhaust mods help the Z wake up? Like 30 HP?

    Looks like its Infinity twin is a better buy, yes?
     
  9. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    Good looking car. Piece of junk build quality. Probably reliable enough. The Infiniti G35 Sport Coupe is better, but still has a really cheap looking interior.
     
  10. tigermilk

    tigermilk Formula Junior

    Jul 12, 2001
    321
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    James P. Smith
    The looks are OK, but I think I'd go for the G35 coupe. The 350Z is the next big yuppiemobile. The G35 is more understated.

    That said, I bought my wife a 98 M3 Coupe in November. She loves it, I love it. Great car. It just pulls, pulls, pulls. Doesn't give the same exhiliration as driving the 308, but they are different cars. You just can't get the 308 sound and mid-engine handling in the M3.
     
  11. fanatic1

    fanatic1 Guest

    Nov 1, 2003
    553
    columbus
    Full Name:
    philip
    Well, I guess I'll differ.....

    I bought an '04 350Z Roadster......I love the convertible top, up and down in 20 seconds....visibility isn't an issue, because I always have the top off. In 04, the "power plug" or "cigarette lighter" has been moved from the rear to the front, so that is nice, the seat wearing item has been fixed, there are some tranny issues, not on mine yet, but it's under warranty and so in that sense I'm not worried. I really love mine, it's fun, fairly cheap, convertible, dependable, and the Roadster is a BEAUTIFUL looking car.

    I have no problems with the speed. I think it is very fast. Now keep in mind, it's fairly heavy, but also, there is an electronic throttle on the car, not a cable..........so everyone I have talked to said that any car with an ELECTRONIC throttle will not have the same type of responsiveness as a cable driven car...............

    Anyway, I love mine, think it's a great car for 32k (roadster)....the tire wearing problem is an issue, but hell, they have me 4 free tires anyway........... I do love the G35, but it only comes in coupe.............

    my .02
     
  12. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
    CA
    Full Name:
    Jerry
    That is some funny stuff. :)
     
  13. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Owner Miami 2018

    Dec 1, 2000
    50,061
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    After our RX-8 discussion a few weeks ago I feel better about the Mazda, we just have a tough crowd here. It's almost like our standards are the highest for some reason. :D
     
  14. mjgermane

    mjgermane Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2003
    507
    I agree completely, but we all have something to compare the 350z to. I think a lot of 350z owners get in the car and love it because that is all they have experienced.
     
  15. fanatic1

    fanatic1 Guest

    Nov 1, 2003
    553
    columbus
    Full Name:
    philip
    migrmane...........I don't agree.........I've had 3 Ferrari's and 2 M.B's.........I love all of them........I just think to get a convertible Z with almost 300 h.p's stock, a great warranty, and a brand new car for under 32k.......I'm very happy with it.

    I just think many people want to find a 25k car that has 350 hp's, nothing ever goes wrong with it, it's looks beautiful, drives beautiful, and the engine is bullet proof...............it ain't gonna happen..............

    I love my F cars and my "Z"...........but come on, I can step back and say I enjoy them both totally differently. How can you compare a Ferrari to a Nissan....................

    Jim G, doesn't compare his P4 to his Taures...............the Ford Taures is much more comfortable than a 1 Million dollar P4.........the P4 must be junk...........
     
  16. mjgermane

    mjgermane Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2003
    507

    That is an apples to oranges comparison. The 350z is a sport car, so I will judge it on a sports car level. Compared to a Nissan Sentra, the 350z is dynamite, but compared to other sports cars, not necessarily a Ferrari, I do not like it too much.
     
  17. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    Aww...they're both just cars.
     
  18. richard

    richard Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,394
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    Richard Thompson III
    Finally have some time to respond to this thread.

    I am a 350Z owner and have had the car for a year now, which is longer than average and has given me a decent amount of time to reflect on the reliability, drivability, and other characteristics of the car.

    Before I write anything, I will say that I have driven cars of all sorts, both better and worse in every respect than a Nissan Z (BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, etc.). I don't fancy myself a car reviewer of any sort, and I am not so obsessed with the Z that I will give it high marks or defend it to the death -- it is severely lacking in some categories.

    First, to address some things said in this thread which I might be able to shed some light on:

    I know how you feel. The reason the car does not feel as fast is because it has very linear torque and horsepower curves. The acceleration is so even that you are never really clued in as to how fast you are going. Although it wouldn't seem like it, because of this even line of acceleration top end (on the highway) it is very easy to exceed the speed limit by 30 or 40 mph and not realize what you're doing. The other reason it does not feel as fast is because of the suspension, which is much stiffer than in an M car. As a result the Z is more confidence inspiring (neutral) through turns, but when you jump off the line there is not as much squat and so you aren't thrown into your seat as much. Nevertheless, it does make more torque than a 360... ;)

    Cant make any excuses there. If you were seriously looking for BMW interior quality at the Nissan dealer, there are some things you should know... ;) To drive cost down, the Japanese have always used plastic. They are getting pretty good at it, too! Have you seen the interior of the RX-8? Very nice looking in my opinion. Maybe not as nice to the touch, but...it has already been pointed out that the BMW is more costly. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

    This was redesigned for the '04 model. There is another power plug right under the wierd cup holder built into the passenger side of the dash. As I have an '03 I managed to solve the radar detector problem by running the cord for my V1 underneath the carpet by the e-brake handle. Something to think about. Also, they fixed the center console you complained about. I agree it was a bad idea, but it definitely looks cool when you open it! :)

    I feel the same way! I have driven many "more difficult" clutches that are way harder. I got to thinking about it and it really comes down to the bizarre engagement point for the clutch that makes it so hard to get off the line.

    It masculinity, yes. In driveability, comfort, and track ability? No! In addition to the Z I also daily-drove a 2001 Boxster S for more than a year. The Z is very muscular, but it makes you work too hard in the simple rudiments of driving to be ideal. No one is quite sure what causes this; my own feeling is that it is a combination of seating position, high door sills, and suspension.

     
  19. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 6, 2003
    21,662
    Las Vegas, NV
    Full Name:
    Ryan Alexander
    I'll start off by saying I didn't drive one. I got close though...

    Last year I sat in one at a car show that must have had EVERY option on it, and I thought it was awesome (mind you, I was still driving my first car at the time, which was an '88). I saw a few black ones in Honolulu with tinted windows and thought they looked incredible.

    Then last summer I bought a WRX without even shopping for a 350Z (wife wanted 4 seats)... then in a twist of angst and the early-20's urge to have a coupe sportscar, the week after I bought the rex I went to the Nissan dealership planning to test drive one - so I sat in a $26k black base model, which was in the same general price range as the WRX. I thought everything Matt thought; although similar to the WRX in some ways (the seats and fabric are almost the same), the orange instrument cluster drove me nuts, and it didn't *click* for me. Once I added in the hit I'd take on the rex (although it only had 200mi and I got it for invoice, it would be too much to lose), and the reality the performance wouldn't be too different, and the two seats, it didn't make sense. I passed on the test drive (I was also miffed the salesman sneered at my Subaru choice).

    Now I'm visiting my family up in Canada and there's a foot of snow on the ground, and I'm pretty darn happy I have the WRX. The people who live next to the parking lot where I keep doing donuts might disagree :).

    Tigermilk: That's funny you said 'yuppiemobile' - that's exactly what I thought when I saw the 200ft. 350Z posters they had in Times Square last Christmas, I was picturing all the mid-life-crisis-stricken NY lawyers and stockbrokers buying them to drive through New Jersey and Long Island.
     
  20. speedanomix

    speedanomix Rookie

    Mar 11, 2004
    1
    guys can anyone tell me what tranny problems?

    i keep hearing about them but no one seems to know!

    i have had my Z (2004) 2 days and the clutch (i think) is rattling when I shift in to 1st gear. It is also there in 2nd gear but subtle.

    It happens when I have shifted in to first and am lifting off the clutch towards the top of the motion.

    any ideas??

    what particular tranny problems are known??

    Pls help
     
  21. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    the car is WAY too heavy -- the mass numbs what could otherwise have been a great drivers car. it does, however, sound beautiful.
     
  22. Mako99

    Mako99 Formula Junior
    BANNED

    Dec 29, 2003
    454

    Junk. Buy a used 3.0L NSX instead. It's faster, costs the same, and is probably more reliable too, lol. Plus it's a ton more fun to drive than the Z.

    My 2 cents.
     
  23. 150shot

    150shot Formula Junior

    Jun 15, 2003
    807
    San Dimas, CA
    the 350 did not even come close to what the TT or even Normal 300z did back when it first came and started the jap. sports car battle.

    Remember that commercial and the typewriter that hit that "z" , that was awesome! IMHO, the 350z doesnt come close.
     
  24. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 25, 2002
    11,036
    MO
    Of all the 350's that I have seen that have been used only a short while, most have had the **** beaten out of them...
     
  25. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
    6,786
    NewRotic
    Full Name:
    Otto
    You are an idiot.
     

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