Nissan 350Z GT
Since it appeared in video game Gran Turismo 4, we've loved Nissan's 350Z so will the new version be a top scorer too?
These latest revisions haven't added much to the 350Z driving experience - although this wasn't an area which needed improving in the first place. The car is still handsome and well built, but the boost in power makes it more invigorating than ever - and ensures this two-seater remains the best-value sports car on sale today.
The first version of Nissan's 350Z proved to be simply incredible, and we were amazed by the special-edition GT4, which offered more power and eye-catching yellow paintwork. Now, the Japanese maker has gone a step further, with the launch of a revised 350Z for 2006. And while it's not yet available in yellow, you do get an extra 20bhp, bringing total output to 300bhp.
That's not all. The company has taken the opportunity to give its two-seater a quick cosmetic update, incorporating bi-xenon headlamps, a revised grille and bumper arrangement plus a pair of futuristic rear lamp clusters which each have 42 LEDs. Light show aside, the fresh 350Z is a definite case of blink and you'll miss it. And a good job, too - the car's handsome, muscular shape works so well that Nissan would have been crazy to mess with it.
Equally subtle, but no less welcome, are the revisions to the cabin. Some of the 'cheapo' switchgear that shamed the previous model has been replaced with more substantial items, and the centre console and dashboard have been retrimmed with higher-quality soft-touch materials. Now, the 350Z feels as well as looks the part.
Under the bonnet, the 3.5-litre V6 has new pistons, a revised intake system, electronic exhaust valve timing and a more aggressive camshaft that delivers peak power of 296bhp at 6,400rpm - that's 200rpm higher than before. In absolute terms, we are only talking about a 0.1-second cut in the 0-60mph sprint time - the coupe does it in 5.8 seconds; the roadster in 6.2. However, the sharper throttle response and voracious hunger for revs makes what was an already potent, enigmatic engine even more addictive to use.
The other important change is the addition of a speed-sensitive steering system. This helps take the effort out of parking manoeuvres, and adds weight at speed when it's needed most. Best of all, though, the 350Z retains that vital element of interactivity that marks it out as one of the most impressive sports cars ever produced.
Unfortunately, greatness comes at a price - in this case an extra £800, which brings the cost of the Coupe GT model driven here to £28,800. Still, if that's too expensive, you can always test drive the Sony PlayStation version.