By KBB.com Editors
The 350Z Roadster delivers the same exhilarating performance as its coupe counterpart but with the added benefit of an open-air cockpit. Structural bracing that keeps the Roadster's body rigid also adds a bit more weight, but not enough to hinder the car's handling or acceleration by an amount most people would notice. The Roadster's attractive design and hide-away folding top make it equally attractive to those who care more about projecting a stylish image than tearing up a winding country road. This dual nature of showman and performer makes it the perfect choice for people who have vastly different ideas of what their next car should be.You'll Like This Car If...
With a powerful engine, sharp handling, retractable roof and relatively low price, the 350Z Roadster offers a lot of style, performance and driving pleasure for the money. And it is, after all, a Z-car.You May Not Like This Car If...
If performance isn't at or near the top of your list of reasons for considering a two-seat convertible, the 350Z's stiffer highway ride and cumbersome rearward visibility could make it unappealing. And there are other two-seat convertibles available for less money.What's Significant About This Car?
The 350Z Roadster receives a big boost in horsepower as well as options, such as Bluetooth Hands-Free wireless technology and a new gray-colored convertible top.Driving It Driving Impressions
Once you've started the silky 3.5-liter V6 engine, the next order of business is dropping the topa push-button affair that takes about 20 seconds. A determined push on the throttle pedal should get you to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. In the corners, extensive structural reinforcements help the 350Z Roadster maintain the sharp, solid handling characteristic of the fixed-roof model.
Six-speed manual models feature a crisp, short-throw gear selector, while the five-speed automatic transmission now features downshift-rev matching for quicker and smoother downshifts. The ride might be harsher than some people might prefer, and limited rearward visibility can make parking lot maneuvers difficult, but those can be small prices to pay for the driving experience delivered by the 350Z Roadster.
The heart and soul of every 350Z is the smooth, powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, good for 306 horsepower.
Triple Gauge Pods
A sporty touch that's also a nod to the car's past, the 350Z features three gauge pods mounted on the center of the instrument panel.
The 350Z Roadster's interior is roomy and well arranged, and even our tallest driver was able to find a position in which the steering wheel, pedals, shift lever and controls were all within comfortable reach. Significant elements include well-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and an angled three-pod gauge cluster reminiscent of early Z models. Overall, the interior design is clean and straightforward. Storage space is limited, as you might suspect, but, according to a pictogram affixed to the inside of the deck lid, the trunk is big enough for a set of golf clubs.Exterior
As with many convertibles, the 350Z Roadster doesn't look its best with the top up, but it's sleekly handsome when the power-operated cloth top is hidden neatly out of view beneath the body-color tonneau cover. Under the skin, structural reinforcements that counter the absence of a fixed roof result in a car that's about 230 pounds heavier than the coupe.Notable Standard Equipment
The 350Z Enthusiast Roadster includes a 3.5-liter V6, six-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, automatic air conditioning, anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), HID headlights, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cloth sport seats, tire pressure monitoring system, AM/FM/CD audio system, integrated garage door opener, power-operated cloth top, glass rear window with defroster, traction control and 18-inch alloy wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Optional and trim-level equipment includes a five-speed automatic transmission, DVD-based navigation system, Bose audio system, leather seats, stability control and Brembo brakes.Under the Hood
Under the aluminum hood of the 350Z resides one of the world's most renowned engines, rated at 306 horsepower. The engine is a model of smoothness, response, power and operating efficiency. With the six-speed manual, and a professional driver behind the wheel, the car is almost a half-second quicker to 60 miles per hour than if equipped with the automatic.
306 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
268 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 19/25 (automatic)
Priced roughly $5,000 higher than comparable coupe models, the 350Z Roadster has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,165, and will climb past $45,000 for a loaded Grand Touring model. Before you set out to buy your new Z Roadster, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows real-world transaction prices being paid in your area. Kelley Blue Book expects the 350Z to hold its value better than almost every vehicle in its category.