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Nissan 350Z

Nissan upgrades the cabin of its 350Z to match the components elsewhere

Subtle changes to the facelifted 350Z's interior improve the feeling of quality and the S-Tune S2 offers impressive performance. But at almost twice the price of the standard car, it doesn't warrant the extra cash. The car's Nismo styling kit will be available from Nissan and should prove popular with those wishing to personalise their Z.

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On sale next spring, the new model has a range of other improvements as well as the revamped cockpit, including LED tail-lights, bi-xenon headlamps and a 296bhp tuned engine. It will sell for £1,000 more than the current model, at an expected cost of around £26,500.

Auto Express was first to get a taste of what it will be like behindthe wheel of this early version of the coup� in Japan. Covered in stickers, the S-Tune S2 was provided by Nissan tuning specialist Nismo.

Inside, the instruments have a sporty look, while the quality of the controls on the centre console has been enhanced. Door trims have been redesigned and the armrest between the front seats widened. Switches for the heated front seats have been moved forward toavoid being accidentally turned on.

Exterior changes to our test car were far more extreme than they are likely to be when the 350Z hits the UK. The Nismo modifications involved adding big carbon fibre wings and deep bumpers, distinctive alloy wheels and extended side skirts. But the biggest difference to the S-Tune S2 is under the bonnet, with a 3.5-litre engine which pumps out an impressive 320bhp.

This performance model also gains uprated suspension, bigger anti-roll bars and larger Brembo brakes. Acc-eleration is noticeably stronger and the V6 thrum from the stainless steel exhaust is louder. The car offers enormous amounts of grip, yet handling remains predictable and ride quality is barely compromised by the lowered suspension. It's an incredibly impressive machine, and more than a match for rivals from Porsche and BMW.

But so it should be! The enhancements push the price of this 350Z up to around £50,000 - and for that kind of money, you should expect world-beating performance. We'd wait a little longer for the standard facelifted 350Z to arrive early next year.

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