2008 Nissan 350Z

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17 CITY / 24 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
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What Changed for 2008:
  • New exterior paint color: Nogaro Red
The name Nissan is synonymous with the \"Z,\" a popular line of 2-door, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sports cars manufactured since 1969 (originally under Nissan's \"Datsun\" brand). The early 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX and 300ZX were followed by the technically advanced 4th-generation 300ZX models offered in the 1990s. After a 5-year hiatus, the current 5th-generation chassis was introduced in 2002, followed by the Roadster in 2004. In 2007, Nissan made a major model revision to the 350Z. Changes included revisions to the hood, bumpers and headlamps. Most importantly, an updated version of Nissan's award-winning VQ-series engine was dropped under the hood. For 2008, the 350Z coupe and Roadster remain mostly unchanged.

All 2008 Nissan models are covered by a 36-month/36,000-mile basic coverage warranty and a 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition, a corrosion coverage warranty is in effect for the first 60 months of ownership.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Nissan 350Z coupe is offered in five models: 350Z (Base), Enthusiast, Touring, Grand Touring (GT) and NISMO. The 2008 350Z Roadster is offered in three models: Roadster Enthusiast, Roadster Touring and Roadster Grand Touring (GT). The 350Z Roadster models feature a power-operated soft top with a glass rear window and defroster. A powered tonneau cover hides the top when down. Standard features on all models include air conditioning with automatic temperature control, power windows, power locks, and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps.

The various models differentiate the options packages found on each. The 350Z (Base) and Enthusiast models feature cloth seating with manual seat adjustments (coupe only) and a 160-watt audio system. The Touring and GT models offer power seats, leather upholstery and a 240-watt stereo. Factory installed options on the coupe are limited to a DVD-based navigation system, side air bags and head curtains (Touring and GT models only); the Roadster is limited to the DVD-based navigation (Touring and GT models only). Customers may choose from a longer list of port-installed accessories including larger wheels, carpeted floor mats and splash guards.

The NISMO coupe features special performance-oriented bodywork with an aggressive front fascia with chin spoiler, rear fascia with an underbody diffuser, and a functional rear wing. The multi-link suspension has been specially tuned, and the vehicle is equipped with a special NISMO-branded exhaust. Unique NISMO interior and exterior treatments signify its limited-edition status.

The 2008 Nissan 350Z coupe and Roadster are powered by a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, 6-cylinder all-aluminum engine rated at 306 hp and 268 lb.-ft. of torque. Consumers are offered a choice of either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission (the NISMO coupe is only available with the 6-speed manual transmission). From the transmission, power is sent to the rear wheels via a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) driveshaft. A viscous limited-slip differential is standard on all models with the exception of the 350Z base model.

Base, Enthusiast and Touring models feature large ventilated disc brakes at all four corners. The GT and NISMO models are equipped with larger Brembo brakes to offer even more stopping power. The suspension is independent, employing lightweight aluminum components and large-diameter front and rear stabilizer bars. Vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering provides comfortable steering at both low and high speeds. The standard wheels are 18-inch cast aluminum. Forged alloy wheels, 18-inch front and 19-inch in the rear, are standard on the GT and NISMO models.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2008 Nissan 350Z coupe are 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway for the 6-speed manual, and 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the automatic. Fuel economy estimates for the Roadster are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 6-speed manual, and 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the automatic.

All 2008 350Z models are equipped with Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System including dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat sensors, and front passenger classification sensors. Both seats are equipped with 3-point restraints with pre-tensioning devices. Driver and passenger side-impact supplemental air bags and inflatable air curtains (coupe only) are optional. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is also optional. The 2007 Nissan 350Z coupe was crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It earned 5 stars in the side-impact test and 5 stars in the rollover test. No information was available on frontal crash tests. The Roadster was not tested.

All 2008 Nissan 350Z models are equipped with a 306-hp engine sending power to the rear wheels. In an innovative approach, Nissan engineers chose to use a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) driveshaft instead of a traditional steel or aluminum unit. While the use of such exotic materials was at one time limited to fighter aircraft or expensive racing vehicles, the benefits of CFRP have recently been embraced by the automotive industry at the consumer level. When compared to a steel driveshaft, CFRP offers more strength at just half the weight, Nissan explains, leading to better handling and improved fuel economy-as well as more power sent to the rear wheels for quicker acceleration. In addition, carbon fiber's unique vibration dampening characteristics keep noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels low in the cabin, maker says.

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