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Nissan 350Z Anniversary review (2005)
Yellow. Fine for daffodils, not so good for cars. However, I’m not going to turn this 350Z away because of its hue. Particularly as it Ultra Yellow Pearl paint means this 350Z one of the 176 limited edition 350Z 35th Anniversary models.
Produced in celebration of 35 years of Nissan’s Z cars, it’s not just the paint that’s a bit loud, as Nissan has also made a few choice tweaks to the engine, too.
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They couldn’t really have started with a better standard lump either, as the 350Z’s 3.5-litre V6 is an absolute cracker. Changes for the Anniversary model are therefore small but significant. It gets revised pistons and camshafts, allied to electronic exhaust valve timing control. All this boosts output from 280PS to 300PS, with that 300PS developed at 6400rpm; some 200rpm higher than the standard car. On the road it makes the 350Z a bit more eager than usual, not that you’d ever really say the non-Anniversary 350Z is lacking in muscle. So the Anniversary manages to sprint to 62mph in just 5.8 seconds, just 0.1 of a second quicker, but it feels more urgent at high speed, adding to the 350Z’s already impressive performance.
And the 350Z really does perform, that engine never providing anything less than ample power. Yet it’s not just the engine that’s impressive in the 350Z as the rest of the driving experience lives up to the engine’s performance. We’ve raved about the 350Z’s gearbox before, and it remains one of the 350Z’s most appealing aspects. It’s a beautifully weighty shift, positive across the gate with a mechanical action that’s a key part in exhibiting the 350Z’s brawny temperament. Its six ratios allow you to make that V6 engine howl too, its note accompanied nicely by the rich tone emitted by the big-bore exhaust. It all combines to give the 350Z some real soul compared to its rivals, the Anniversary exhibiting even more so than the standard car.
The steering is similarly involving. The chunky wheel needs a bit of effort compared to many of the over assisted systems out there today, but you’re rewarded with decent feel and accuracy. It’s a physical car to drive, but then that’s undoubtedly why it’s so entertaining. Low, firm suspension, allied to wide tyres fitted to unique lacquered five-spoke 18 inch wheels do mean you have the compromise of a slightly harsh ride on broken surfaces. Road noise isn’t particularly well contained either, but it does little to detract from the overall pleasure to be derived from driving it.
Anyway, should the road noise become an issue it can always be drowned out by the 240 watt stereo. The Anniversary comes with an excellent BOSE system with a 6CD in-dash changer. It also includes the two leather electrically adjustable and heated seats that you’d normally have to tick the GT pack option box for. If that’s not enough, it also comes with a Sony Playstation and a copy of Gran Turismo 4 (within which the Anniversary exists in digitised form) in the boot – so you can drive your car around famous race circuits in the comfort of your home without worrying about wearing out the tyres. No disrespect to the gaming community intended, but if you had a 350Z Anniversary on your drive and still chose to play video games then you really should get out more.
And the track would be the ideal destination. There you’d certainly be noticed, not just for the colour, but for the noise it makes. Sadly, you might find a few admirers less impressed when they sit inside. It’s a complaint we’ve made before, but it seems that after the instrument cluster the designers gave up. It’s a bit dull in there, except that is for the huge reflection of the Z that fills your rear view mirror from the strut brace across the rear. That brace, although undoubtedly adding stiffness does rather limit the boot’s usefulness – even if Nissan claims you’ll get two golf bags in the luggage compartment. Half sets at a push, and even if you squeezed them in with no luggage cover, the set closest to the back of the seats would be visible to prying eyes – though Nissan now offers an optional luggage cover. Tick that box.
These are small complaints in what’s still a fantastic package. The 350Z has impressed every time we’ve got the chance to drive it – and the Anniversary continues that tradition. The changes might be slight but they’re undoubtedly effective. Good as they are, I couldn’t live with a yellow one. But Nissan isn’t mad, as only 76 of the 176 made will be so coloured. The other 100 will be black - which is what I’d spend my £29,500 on if there are any left...
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