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Nissan 350Z GTS 2006 review

This is what happens when Nissan’s technical experts get their hands on the 350Z!

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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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!

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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!

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