The Nissan 350Z is one of the most popular Japanese performance cars of the past twenty years (it feels rather surreal to write that the 350Z is nearly 20 years old now – read our buyer’s guide and history for more information)
If you are after a bit of an “old school” performance car that is still modern enough to contain decent creature comforts and safety features (read more here about whether the 350Z is a dangerous car) then you may well have the 350Z on the top of your list.
But is the 350Z worth buying or are there better options for your money?
In this edition of Car Facts we look at whether or not the 350Z is worth purchasing.
Bear in mind that prices on classic cars (even “modern classics” like the 350Z) are starting to climb fairly rapidly at the moment – so you want to make sure you buy the right car for your needs.
Our Take On Buying The 350Z
We’ve delved into the performance credentials, reliability, styling and other “quirks and features” (to borrow Doug De Muro’s trademark phrase) in many other articles on this site about the 350Z, most notably our detailed 350z buyer’s guide and history.
We don’t want to re-tread the same ground over and over again, so let’s get right to the heart of the matter – is it worth you buying a 350Z in the current car buying environment?
In our view, the answer comes down to whether or not you can answer yes to the following simple questions:
- If the 350Z is going to be your daily driver, can you truly live with the lack of rear seats, small trunk, and poor fuel economy? In other words is practicality a secondary consideration? (If you are buying as a second car, then this issue doesn’t matter so much)
- Do you want a car that has a more “old fashioned” performance car driving style that can be harder to deal with (but also more rewarding and exciting) than more modern performance cars with turbocharged engines, dual clutch gearboxes etc?
- Are you experienced enough at driving to handle the potentially difficult, dangerous characteristics that the 350Z can exhibit owing to its combination of rear wheel drive, high power and relative lack of driver aids?
If you can answer yes to all of them, then the 350Z is a good buy for you.
If you can’t answer yes to them, then you might be better looking at other options (for example if you like the idea of the more classic sports/performance car experience but need more practicality, then you might want to consider the Infiniti G35. Read our article here on the Nissan 350Z vs Infiniti G35 for more information).
If you want a more tuneable car, then you might be better off looking at a turbocharged option like the WRX or even a Hyundai Genesis turbo coupe; you will be able to extract far more impressive performance gains with an already-turbocharged car than you will be able to with the 350Z, unless money is no object.
Basically, if you are after a great looking “pure” performance car – and you don’t have a great need for practicality or the latest in modern driving feel and aids – then the 350Z can be a great option.
Conclusion – Is The 350Z Worth Buying?
In our view the 350Z is definitely worth a buy if you are after a genuine sports car in the “old school” vein (rear wheel drive, manual gearbox – although autos are available – and large naturally-aspirated engine).
While there are better cars for the money if you want to buy and modify something to have crazy power (basically any turbo performance car will be easier to extract higher levels of power out of) and there are better options if you want a more modern, easy-going driving experience we think that the 350Z is an excellent proposition for the sports car purist.
In a previous article we argued that the 350Z is not suitable as a first car. This isn’t a reflection on the car itself, more the fact that it demands respect and can be quite a handful, so isn’t really suitable for inexperienced drivers. If you’re thinking of buying a 350Z as your first car, then read that article first before taking the plunge.
What do you think about the Nissan 350Z? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!