How grateful are we that Nissan performed a U-turn on its original decision to not introduce the 350Z in Europe. Had the car only been sold in Japan and the US - as was first intended - today's classifieds might be a little bleak for anyone searching for a V6 sports coupe with an exceptional reliability record and sub £10k price tag. Now, 15 years after the 350Z first went on sale in the UK, the first Z model of the 21st century has become almost the go-to choice for used car buyers seeking brawny, old-school character in a low-cost package.
Indeed, the 350Z was celebrated back in the early noughties for its affordability (it rivalled the more mainstream Audi TT), but it wasn't anywhere as unique as it is today. Back at the turn of the millennium we were spoilt for choice with several larger capacity six-cylinder cars on offer, where as today they're are almost entirely exclusive to the more expensive realms of motordom. As good as they are to drive, four cylinder sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110 will forever lack the aural quality of a better-endowed oldie like the 350Z. No amount of pops and crackles can match the glorious induction growl and silky exhaust note of an atmospheric V6.
Nevertheless, the 350Z was not an out and out performance machine, and it wasn't intended to rival the Boxster of the time for dynamic prowess. The 350Z, particularly when specced in higher GT trim like almost all UK examples were, was more comfortable and effortless than most of its two-door competitors. The 3.5-litre engine, launched with 280hp and upgraded to 313hp in 2007, offered strong mid-range torque, and the chassis was set up with ride comfort in mind as much as handling.
Admittedly, the UK market's differing tastes to those in Japan and the US encouraged Nissan to alter the car's suspension settings. The UK version was developed in Britain with a slightly stiffer ride, but it ended up being so effective that Nissan later added the same settings to its other markets. With them, the 350Z matched its grunt with a willing front end and, if you were really on it, enough power to make the car pleasingly adjustable on the throttle.
That being said, this 1,525kg Z model didn't beg to be driven absolutely flat out, but rather coaxed to its best at 6,200rpm (or all the way to 7,500rpm in later, higher revving cars). Mated to a manual six-speed gearbox, its on-road performance felt as traditional as its technical layout, which enhanced its appeal in the last decade and has promoted it into the status of modern classic today.
Like many popular Japanese performance models, the 350Z was provided with a lengthy aftermarket parts supply, and many owners have been tempted to uprate their cars. A more potent Nismo version that topped the range in Japan was never offered in Britain, but it helped to inspire many modifications that can now be seen applied to UK cars for sale on the classifieds. Happily for the purists, there still does exist a wide supply of unmolested examples, like today's Spotted.
As an earlier example with the original lower-powered V6, this car is priced towards the bottom end of the pile of good condition 350Zs. But helping its case, aside from the generally well-kept appearance, is an odometer displaying just 49,500 miles. Having covered an average of about 3,800 miles per year, it's possible this 350Z has spent much of its time as a second car or weekend toy. Not that there's anything to suggest it couldn't now become your daily runner, because it comes specced in GT form, bringing a leather interior and top-spec Bose stereo system, as well as those lovely wheels, to name a but few additions. And who wouldn't want everyday access to that engine...
SPECIFICATION: NISSAN 350Z
Engine: 3,498cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 268@4,800rpm
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 49,469 miles
Price new: £24,000 (2003)
Yours for: £10,999
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