THE RIDE: Two-door, two-passenger 2007 Nissan 350Z roadster.
DOWN THE ROAD: Open-air and performance-oriented enthusiasts, this soft-top convertible is for you! A carryover from 2006 with minor changes, the 350Z is an exciting car to drive. In the coming summer months, it would be the sports roadster to take off top-down to the beach or a vacation getaway in style, thanks to its aggressive appearance.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Available in three trims, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine pumps 306 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 268 pounds-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. Mated to a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission, the rear-wheel-drive convertible gets a four-wheel independent multilink suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, ensuring a solid ride. If you want to drive with the sun in your face, the soft-top power fabric takes just 20 seconds to go down.
LOOK & FEEL: With its revised aluminum hood, bi-xenon headlights and LED brake lights, vertical door handles and dual exhaust outlets, the 350Z stands out in a crowd. Inside, the three-bay gauge pods for the drive computer, oil pressure and voltmeter atop the dashboard blends in with the three-pod instrument panel for fuel, tachometer and speedometer. I liked the splash of aluminum on the center console, cross-drilled pedals, door handles and the instrument panel. The leather-wrapped bucket seats will hold you tightly in place. The standard rear-wind deflector serves its purpose by keeping road and wind noise to a minimum.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front airbags, front and rear crumple zones, active head restraints, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, seat belts with pretensioners and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $38,900, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P225/45R18 front, P245/45R18 rear; wheelbase, 104.3 inches; length, 169.8 inches; weight, 3,578 pounds; fuel capacity, 20 gallons; highway 25 mpg; city, 19 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Go for the 350Z if open-air motoring, backed by powerful performance and striking design, is to your liking. As Nissan puts it quite succinctly, "A true sports car that fuels the rebellious spirit."
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune