Nissan 350Z GTS 2006 review
This is what happens when Nissan’s technical experts get their hands on the 350Z!
One thing the standard 350Z never lacked was power, but the GT-S has even more performance. The switchable set-up gives it a split personality, but supple suspension means you don’t have to sacrifice ride comfort. A menacing bodykit and an even livelier exhaust note complete an impressive and addictive offering. Let’s just hope Nissan decides to offer the upgrades – and soon!
This is what happens when Nissan’s technical experts get their hands on the 350Z! Staff at the manufacturer’s Cranfield Technical Centre in Bedfordshire developed the supercharged GT-S in their spare time – and its key features could soon appear as a range of official upgrades.
The one-off model first appeared at July’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Now, Auto Express has tried it to see if you should be pleading with your Nis-san dealer to let you buy one.
The most obvious change is the add-ition of an aggressive bodykit. It incorporates a rear spoiler and low front splitter to create genuine downforce, while wider alloys hide uprated Brembo brakes. With the sinister black paint, these give the GT-S a purposeful look.
There are plenty of visual clues to the changes beneath the skin. For instance, the large intake above the reg plate feeds air to the most significant extra – a Novidem supercharger. This boosts power from 296bhp to a huge 377bhp, and can be switched on and off using a button on the centre console.
As the blower clunks into action, the 350Z is transformed from a fast coupé into a junior supercar. Performance is electrifying – the 0-60mph sprint takes only 4.8 seconds compared to 5.8 for the standard model. Every time you pull away, it feels like you are leaving the pitlane; the mechanical whines and whirrs give the GT-S a race car feel. As the revs rise, an electronically controlled valve in the exhaust opens, too, providing a suitably sporty soundtrack.
The specially developed suspension is surprisingly supple, and smooths out bumps without harming the superb handling. Modified cars often come with ultra-stiff set-ups, but the GT-S has been tuned for UK roads, combining good body control with a pliant ride. The powerful brakes are reassuringly responsive, too, and the meaty steering is precise and provides plenty of feedback. Nissan’s robust six-speed box is unchanged.
Additional sound insulation boosts long-distance refinement, but the mech-anical nature of the supercharger is a constant reminder that you’re not driving the standard model. Leave it on all the time and it noticeably increases cabin noise – and fuel consumption – especially at motorway speeds. How- ever, its 425Nm of torque provides an addictive surge of acceleration at seemingly any speed.
If you’re not in the mood for go-faster performance, simply turn off the blower and enjoy the standard V6. Already convinced? Form an orderly queue!