For 2006, the dramatic Nissan 350Z sports car receives its first comprehensive updating since its introduction in the United States market in August 2002. The changes to the Z®, which has sold over 100,000 units in its first three years, include a revised front end appearance, enhanced interior, LED taillights, a new vehicle speed-sensitive power steering system, refined optional navigation system and available RAYS® super lightweight 18-inch front/19-inch rear 5-spoke forged alloy wheels (Coupe only).
A new Grand Touring Coupe model featuring the 18/19-inch wheels, Brembo® brakes, front and rear spoiler and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) has been added to the model lineup and all 6-speed manual transmission models now receive the 300-horsepower* tuning of the Z®’s standard 3.5-liter DOHC V6. Models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission are rated at 287 horsepower.
For 2006, the 350Z is again available in Coupe and Roadster body styles and in an array of models – five for the Coupe and three for the Roadster. Each provides sports car lovers high performance excitement and dynamic driving experience, with a style all its own. Other enhancements for the new model year include standard 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels (except Coupe Track and Grand Touring models), increased brake rotor size for non-Brembo models, standard bi-xenon (low and high beam) headlights, and mp3-CD capability for the available Bose® audio system.
Three new exterior colors are available for 2006: Silver Alloy, Magnetic Black, and Interlagos Fire.
The 350Z Coupe and 350Z Roadster share their proud performance heritage, including state-of-the-art platform, engine, suspension and braking systems. The Z®’s FM (Front Mid-Ship) platform positions the engine behind the front axle, providing an optimized front-to-rear weight balance of 53/47. The FM platform, derived from racing technology, also places a strong emphasis on aerodynamics, especially on the control of airflow under the body.
The heart and soul of the Z®, since the original 1970 model, is its engine. Again for 2006, every 350Z offers a standard 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine, which delivers not only outstanding start-off acceleration and high-speed passing performance, but also torque characteristics suitable for city driving. The engine utilizes an advanced intake port design and Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) technology. Drivability has been further improved by adopting an electronically controlled “drive-by-wire” throttle and the use of a highly rigid cylinder block.
Aluminum block and heads reduce engine weight, contributing to improved fuel economy and performance. Lighter pistons and connecting rods trim mass, allowing the engine to respond and rev more freely, while lightweight, hollow camshafts help reduce energy losses when the engine is running. The Z® also features a lightweight, one-piece, carbon fiber reinforced plastic driveshaft unit.
Along with a powerful engine, the Z® produces a powerful sports car sound to match – one without the low frequency booming or rumbling that can grow tiresome on long trips or high-pitched mechanical sounds. The exhaust sound is maximized at low RPM (1,000-3,500 RPM), but quiet at normal cruising range. Intake sound is maximized at high RPM (3,500-6,000 RPM), especially at wide throttle openings, but toned down during cruising.
Both a 6-speed close-ratio manual and 5-speed automatic transmissions are available (manual transmission only on Coupe Track model). The manual transmission features close-ratio gearing from 1st to 5th speed ranges for high-performance driving and an overdrive 6th speed for long-legged highway fuel economy and reduced engine noise. The advanced automatic transmission design includes Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), which provides smooth downshifting.
The redline is 7,000 rpm for manual transmission models and 6,600 rpm for automatic transmission Z®s.
For 2006, the standard rack-and-pinion steering system receives a new vehicle speed-sensitive power assist, which provides comfortable steering effort at both low and high speeds. The system’s two orifice sets (compared with one set for traditional power steering systems) work together (based on vehicle speed) to generate the appropriate level of steering effort for nearly every driving condition. The orifice sets are controlled by a solenoid valve and electrical control units.
The Z®’s suspension is a 4-wheel independent multilink design with extensive use of lightweight aluminum components and standard front and rear stabilizer bars.
The 2006 350Z offers a power-assisted 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. (BA) Brembo brakes, featuring four front caliper pistons and two rear and larger pads and rotors, are standard on the Coupe Track and Coupe and Roadster Grand Touring models.
Traction Control System (TCS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) (not available on all models) work in conjunction with the braking package. TCS uses the ABS wheel speed sensors to detect if the rear wheels are accelerating faster than the fronts. If so, torque is reduced to the drive wheels by altering the fuel injector pulse and controlling the Electronic Throttle Control motor.
Working hand-in-hand with the Anti-lock Braking System and the Traction Control System, VDC can reduce engine torque or apply individual brakes as necessary to help stabilize the car under severe cornering situations or adverse weather conditions.
One of the other major changes for 2006 is the use of standard 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels (17-inch wheels were standard in previous years). They are mounted with 225/45WR18 (front), 245/45WR18 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport or Bridgestone® Potenza RE040 tires.
New RAYS super lightweight 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels, 18x9-inch front and 19x10-inch rear, are standard on the 350Z Track and Grand Touring models. The new wheels are mounted with 245/40WR18 (front), 265/35WR19 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. All 2006 Z®s feature a standard Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with a separate readout for each tire.
2006 350Z Coupe
The 350Z Coupe takes its cues from the original 1970 Datsun 240Z – a front engine/rear-wheel drive drivetrain configuration, two-seat interior, a powerful 6-cylinder engine and, 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. For 2006, the front end appearance of the Z® has been refreshed with a revised front bumper, headlights and grille design. Also new are High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon (high and low beam xenon) headlights.
As always, the Z® continues to offer a long wheelbase (104.3 inches), short overhangs and wide stance; raised rear deck for enhanced aerodynamics.
The coefficient of drag is 0.30 for the base, Enthusiast and Touring models and 0.29 for the Track and Grand Touring models – which include front and rear spoilers. Roadster coefficient of drag is 0.34.
The Z®’s strong, spine-like beltline is anchored with large, distinctive taillights, which have been changed to a LED for better visibility and quicker lighting times than conventional lights. Other standard Z® design elements include an aluminum hood, distinctive vertical door handles and heated outside mirrors.
Along with the three new exterior colors for 2006, the Z® is available in LeMans Sunset, Redline, Daytona Blue, Pikes Peak White and Silverstone.
Inside the stylish Z® Coupe body, the interior has been revised for 2006 with new cloth seat material, new meter styling, redesigned door panel styling, revised HVAC controls, new storage space including the addition of a cupholder on each door panel, a new storage net on the passenger side footwell and the addition of steering wheel switch lighting (except base model).
Other enhancements include steering wheel audio controls (except base model), mp3-CD capability for the available Bose audio system and available satellite radio with body-color antenna on Coupe models. Also upgraded for 2006 is the Z®’s available Nissan Navigation System, which offers an all-new graphic interface, new menu structure, intelligent search capabilities and key functionality improvements – including split screen capability (allows viewing of map and intersection simultaneously).
Unchanged is the Z®’s classic driver-oriented two-passenger interior environment, which combines classic and cutting-edge sports car interior design. The 3-bay gauge pod is similar to original 240Z design, while the specially shaped driver’s seat (different from passenger design) holds the body firmly in place during enthusiastic driving.
The Z® Coupe features an 8-way manual driver’s seat/4-way manual passenger’s seat (Coupe) and choice of black woven “carbon” seat cloth or leather-appointed seating surfaces in a choice of three colors (Frost, Charcoal and Burnt Orange).
The long list of standard equipment includes automatic temperature control, a lockable rear luggage box behind the passenger seat, center console with solid aluminum look, power windows with auto one-touch up and down, power door locks, aluminum pedals (except base model) and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver (except base model). The Z® Coupe is available with a Bose audio system with 6-disc CD changer and 7 speakers, heated seats and illuminated steering wheel audio controls.
Another interior feature on the Z® Coupe 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.
2006 350Z Roadster
First introduced as a 2004 model, the 350Z Roadster receives most of the enhancements of the Z® Coupe for 2006 (except the forged alloy wheels), making a great open-air sports car even more attractive. The Z® Roadster features a power-operated soft top with glass rear window, which transforms from top-up to top-down in about 20 seconds.
The 2006 350Z Roadster is offered in three models: Enthusiast, Touring and Grand Touring. The Grand Touring model, which comes equipped with Brembo brakes and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is available in both the 300-horsepower 6-speed manual version or 287-horsepower 5-speed automatic version. The Roadster Grand Touring automatic is new for 2006.
The Z® Roadster’s fully automatic soft top features a heated glass rear window, which helps provide clearer visibility in adverse weather conditions. And, unlike other convertibles in its class, the top stows compactly under a lightweight powered tonneau cover, completely hiding the top when down.
The three-lock, single latch system was created to give a more secure seal, while also making the opening and closing process easier. Activating the top is a simple process. To open, with the transmission in Park or Neutral (manual transmissions), release the latch (located directly above the middle windshield area), push the brake pedal and hold the button (located to the left of the steering column) and the top opens. To close, reverse the process.
Structural reinforcements were incorporated to strengthen the Z® Roadster unibody (versus the Z® Coupe), including a center floor V-shaped cross bar connecting the side sills and a front A-shaped cross bar reinforcing the front end. Additional reinforcement was added at the door openings and a triple-member was added to the seating area connecting the sides to the floor structure to provide enhanced rigidity.
Also during the design phase of the Z® Roadster, engineers devoted countless hours conducting wind tunnel tests. These tests allowed the engineers to adjust the Roadster’s design to route air flow to help minimize interior noise and turbulence while maximizing downforce at highway speeds.
A key component to reducing interior noise is a tempered glass wind deflector located between the seats that directs wind out and over the cabin. Seatbelt fasteners were also added to help keep seatbelts from flapping in the wind. As a result, the Z® Roadster is among the leading competitors for low interior noise with the top down.
Like the Z® Coupe, the Z® Roadster’s instrument panel features three gauge pods consisting of the drive computer, oil pressure gauge and voltmeter, as well as modern touches such as the enhanced, optional navigation system with 7-inch display.
The driver’s seat of the Z® Roadster is tailored for performance. The base cushion is firm and long for additional support, while bolster cutouts under the thighs optimize pedal operation. The seatback is sculpted with large “wings,” designed to help secure drivers during acceleration. The upper side bolster is sculpted in the middle for easy shifting and steering, while the lower side bolster is designed wider and deeper to keep the driver squarely behind the wheel.
Also offered on the Z® Roadster are Burnt Orange ventilated leather-trimmed net seats (Touring and Grand Touring only). The net-style seats are made with a woven seat cloth center insert and feature an opening in the seatback so that the driver can feel a wind flow during top-down driving. A built-in seat heater is also available for those sundown rides.
A lockable luggage box capable of storing a briefcase is standard. There is also sufficient luggage space in the trunk even though the top is stored in the trunk area when down. The trunk has up to 4.1 cubic feet of useable room for storage.
The 2006 Z® utilizes Nissan’s “Zone Body” construction, providing front and rear “crush” zones and a secure center occupant zone. The Z®’s body structure has been designed to create a high degree of structural and torsional rigidity. Key features include a double-panel floor, a double front bulkhead and large-section doorsills.
In addition, roof rails and side panels are laser-welded for a strong, accurate fit. The rear strut tower brace is bolted and welded in place, allowing use of the hatchback body design without sacrificing rear body rigidity.
In addition, the Z® features standard dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors, seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters.
Supplemental front seat side-impact side air bags and side-impact curtain air bags are optionally available to further enhance side-impact protection (side-impact curtain air bags are not available on the Z® Roadster due to the lack of a fixed hardtop).
Models and Options
The 2006 350Z Coupe is available in five models – 350Z, Enthusiast, Touring, Track (manual transmission only) and the Grand Touring. 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, bi-xenon headlights, dual front air bags and more.
The Enthusiast model adds HomeLink Universal Transceiver, cruise control, Traction Control System (TCS), Viscous Limited-Slip Differential (VLSD), aluminum pedals, illuminated steering wheel audio controls and auto dimming rearview mirror.
The Touring model adds a Bose audio system with 6-disc CD changer and 7 speakers, leather-appointed seats with 4-way power driver’s seat, heated seats, and, for manual transmission models only, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC).
The 350Z Coupe Track model comes with a close-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission, front and rear spoilers, RAYS super lightweight 5-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
The ultimate Z® Coupe model is the Grand Touring model, offering front and rear spoilers, RAYS super lightweight 5-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
The 2006 350Z Roadster is offered in three well-equipped models – Enthusiast, Touring and Grand Touring.
Standard 350Z Roadster Enthusiast features include power seats, power-operated soft top, electrically operated storage cover, rear wind deflector, 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, automatic climate control, a choice of 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission and more.
The 350Z Roadster Touring model features a Bose audio system with 6-disc CD changer and 7 speakers, leather-appointed seats and standard side-impact air bags.
The 350Z Roadster Grand Touring model adds Brembo brakes and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
Four options are available, on the 2006 350Z Coupe and Roadster: a DVD-based navigation system (Touring, Grand Touring and Coupe Track models only); satellite radio (with choice of XM® or Sirius™ service), side and curtain side-impact supplemental air bags (Coupe) and side supplemental air bags (Roadster Enthusiast model).
* All horsepower ratings are per SAE J1349 JUN1995