Used Nissan 350Z ('03-'09) buying guide

* Used Nissan 350Z from less than 4000 * Great noise, sporty looks * Precise steering, strong V6 engine...

Used Nissan 350Z ('03-'09) buying guide

The Nissan 350Z is something of an old-school muscle car, with its 3.5-litre V6 engine delivering power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. It's a set-up that takes it from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph.

Go for the Roadster, which came along in 2005, and you'll get to enjoy the powerful-sounding engine that little bit more. The engine delivers great acceleration from low in the rev range, as well as having good mid-range pull.

However, while it has loads of grip, the 350Z Coupe isn't quite as nimble as rivals such as the Audi TT. More positively, the ride is firm but compliant and the steering weights up nicely as speeds increase, providing plenty of feedback.

Thanks to extra body stiffening, the Roadster handles bends well, too. Although it carries extra weight, the slight loss in performance is negligible.

Inside, the 350Z is strictly a two-seater. Although driver and front passenger have plenty of head- and legroom, useable cargo space in the boot is limited. The Roadster's fabric hood folds neatly under a metal cover, so the boot is even smaller than the Coupe's.

There's only one 3.5 V6 engine, which comes with a manual gearbox, so it's just the paint and spec to worry about. The main revision to bear in mind is the 2006 face-lift, which gave the 350Z slightly more power - a 20bhp boost to 296bhp. In 2007, the power increased again to 309bhp.

Standard kit is very good, including 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control, xenon headlamps, electric front windows, remote central locking and a CD multichanger.

Sat-nav was available as an option, and the optional GT pack adds electrically adjustable and heated leather seats, cruise control and an upgraded stereo system.

Overall, you should have little to fear when it comes to reliability, because Nissan has a good record. However, owners do complain about squeaky brakes and seats, skipping CDs, chipped paint and the gas struts on the rear hatch that fail.

The service history should be complete, but the 350Z is a driver's car, so be wary of any vehicle that looks like it's had a hard life.

In particular, those big alloys are prone to kerbing, while uneven tyre wear will highlight problems with the suspension.

Another thing to remember is that there are lots of grey imports from Japan. While these work out cheaper to buy, they don't come with exactly the same specification as UK cars meaning your insurer is likely to charge you a significantly higher premium.

Despite Nissan stopping production in 2009, prices for the 350Z remain reasonably strong; a great drive and disappointing successor the 370Z are the main reasons for this. Early, high-mileage cars start from less than 4000, but ensure a full service history is present.

We found these on the forecourt:

Nissan 350Z 3.5 V6 Coupe
'05/05, 31,000 miles, 7485
Ivybridge Motors

Nissan 350Z 3.5 V6 Roadster
'05/05, 47,000 miles, 7995
Maidenhead Honda

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