Thirty-five years since its first appearance in North America, the high performance Z® sports car returns in 2005 with a special commemorative 35th Anniversary model, along with a number of other enhancements, continuing the Z® heritage of design, performance and value that has remained unchallenged since the original Datsun 240Z was introduced as a 1970 model.
The 35th Anniversary Z®, available along with the 2005 350Z Track model, will offer some unique features, including enhanced horsepower from the standard Z’s 3.5-liter DOHC V6.
All 2005 350Z models receive a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), heated outside mirrors, wider view side mirrors and front seat lifter. Automatic transmission equipped models are now outfitted with downshift rev matching for smoother shifting, and manual transmission models now come with reduced clutch pedal effort for easier operation. The optional navigation system now has a faster system processor.
A new Ultra Yellow exterior color, which utilizes a new high-luminance and high-chroma pearl pigment and three layers of top coat (with separate color pigment and pearl pigment layers) to create an almost “liquid” surface appearance, is also available for 2005.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Z®
The 350Z takes its cues 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 350Z Coupe, like the original, features a true hatchback body.
While inheriting the “Z®-ness” passed on through successive generations, this Z® embodies many sports car features, all of which have been executed to exceptionally high quality.
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.
Fitting of its sports performance essence, the Z®’s design is anchored by very aggressive wheel forms pushed all the way out to the corners. Like a race car, the body’s center of gravity is placed in the middle and the tires are positioned as far as possible at the four corners to emphasize the car’s nimble agility.
Sporty Two-Seater with Functional Interior
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 an available 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 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.
Performance That Delivers
The 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine produces 287 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of torque, power range that comes as a result of 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.
Models and Packages
The 2005 350Z Coupe is available in six models – 350Z, Enthusiast, Performance, Touring, Track MT and the 35th Anniversary. Standard features on all models include the 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine, independent multi-link suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, strut tower bar, power windows, 3-bay gauge cluster, dual front air bags and more.
The Enthusiast model adds xenon headlamps, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, cruise control, Traction Control System (TCS), Viscous Limited-Slip Differential (VLSD), aluminum pedals and auto dimming rearview mirror.
The Performance model includes all of the Enthusiast equipment plus Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and 18-inch tires with aluminum wheels. The Touring model adds a Bose® audio system with 6CD, cassette with seven speakers, leather seats with 4-way power driver’s seat and heated seats. The Touring 6MT adds a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control and 18-inch wheels and tires.
The 2005 350Z Track comes with a close-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission, front and rear spoiler, forged aluminum wheels and Brembo® brakes. Two options are available, a DVD-based navigation system (Touring and 35th Anniversary models only); and side and curtain side-impact supplemental air bags.