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Owners advice wanted : 350z's, what are they really like?


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Posted (edited)

So, i've done a fair bit of snooping around on the internet. There is ALOT of mixed opinions on 350z's to what I can see. Bottom line is personally I love the appearance of the 350z and I really like the idea of tastefully modifying one. I would only be using it on the weekends as I have a Golf TDI for commuting.

My true issue is I cant quite work out what 350z's are really like.

I know an obvious answer would be to test drive one. But in all honesty I find test drives often to be very difficult to get a true feel of the car and how much you enjoy it, especially only driving like a few miles often in a town or city and with the car owner/garage employee.

I've read previously someone refer to the 350 as 'more of a muscle car than a sports car'. I dont find this hard to believe given the 3.5l lump and the weight that comes with a coupe. It would make sense as they seem super popular in the USA. But what about the UK? I dont want to overlook the fact that I need a good B road basher. That is what I enjoy, Is this the wrong car choice for me?

I've owned a MX-5 mk2 1.8l, completely uncomparable, but it's the most fun car i've owned to date. The ONLY thing I couldnt put up with was the lack of power. 

The 350z entises me due to the following things;

HP & Troque of the beutiful 3.5l V6 but also the sound of these engines with the right exhaust setup when they scream. (I'm aware stock and some aftermarket exhaust dont sound too great)

RWD + LSD + Manual = Too much fun

General asthetics & Mod capabilty

there are more things but that's the main ones.

Biggest conerns for me would be;

 

I'm knowledgeable enough to look after it with basic maintenance and minor issues but anything slightly technical it will need to go to garage and I'll need to pay a mechanic

what do they ACTUALLY handle like. Is it going to be fun on B roads? That's where she will be used most. Will it grip well when I want it too in the dry giving it stick round corners or do they oversteer to much? given some good performing Tires of course.

I've heard the gearbox's are horendous but are they really that bad? does it feel very disconnected and horrible to drive? Are they that unreliable?

Is it that heavy that it dulls out the feel of the power? Power to weight has always been a big thing to me. I dont need something weighing under a tonne. But is it just going to feel like boat?

They are cheap for what they are, they really are.. Does that tell me all I need to know?

I would be buying a DE not a HR, purely down to the price point, I really cant see it being worth how much more the HR's are listed for in comparison to the DE.

I'm on the line with a 350. Part of me thinks a Porshe Cayman 05-13 might be a better choice or perhaps a BMW Z4 35i especially for B roads. TBH these are out of my budget, but I may be inclined to wait if the 350 is a no go! (Any other car suggestions would be interesting)

If I'm honest I just think I'll always have a soft spot for the 350z and It's a car that's been growing on me more and more, I just really dont want to be dissapointed though. There is alot more I could say or ask but in all honest I just want you generous peoples brutally honest opinions!

Edited by DrewSmith199
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  • DrewSmith199 changed the title to Owners advice wanted : 350z's, what are they really like?

You can’t figure out what a car is like when you test drive it for a short time, but you can from random stranger’s opinions on the internet?! ;) :lol:

 

I’ll keep it simple. Yes they’re fun on B roads as they don’t feel that big. Yes, they’re nose heavy as you’d expect so you need a fair bit of space to be a hooligan. The gearbox is fine, not the best but it does the job. Z4 will be much less fun to drive, but the Cayman will be magnitudes better. 
 

Truth is, you’re going to have to drive one to find out if it’s for you. If the dealership won’t let you drive it where you want, then purchase from somewhere that will. 
 

FWIW I’ve had MX5s 1&3, driven a Cayman extensively as my brother had one, and driven a handful of 350s through ownership and friends. I’d happily have another 350 but for the horrendous fuel cost these days in comparison to my current mk3 MX5. 

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I've had my 05 DE for 16 years and 70k miles.

It's been my daily but with the arrival of kids 12 years ago I use a family car when needed hence only 70k.

 

The only memorable repairs I've needed were.

 

Airbag clock spring costing about £200 where the garage sourced and fitted a second hand unit. 

 

Brake pedal switch failed 4 times, but that's a £6 part and 5 minute DIY job.

 

O2 sensors have thrown a wobbler a few times but just needed the codes cleared.

 

Tailgate struts failed twice......it's a HEAVY tailgate.

 

Boot popper springs failed a few times. Adding washers helps for a couple years then they fail again and you need to press the button twice to release the boot fully again.

Bought a new set from Nissan once but they only lasted a few years also.

 

Airbag light has come on a few times when I've moved the passenger seat...... again just a free reset needed.

 

The rest has just been wear and tear stuff like 

Belts 

Brakes 

Exhaust

Banana arms 

 

I'm still on original clutch

But when that goes it's one of the bigger outlays as you'll need to budget for a new flywheel too.

 

When running 19s, good tyres can cost a fair bit and despite me hardly doing any motorway miles I only see 18mpg so budget for alot of 98/99ron petrol.

 

In general, garage costs at my independent garage has been similar to our Kia Sportage and Mini Cooper.

 

I'm only an average driver at best so can't comment on handling except that tyres make a big difference to how it drives.

Even I felt a difference going from 12 years of Falkens to Michelins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Zed's are addictive, that's why I have had several of them.

However, if you are purely after a weekend B road blaster then you may find them a bit heavy.

My weekend toy is an Abarth 124. Probably out of your budget but really is awesome on said B roads. Small, light, loads of torque, cheap tax, cheap insurance and good on fuel if you want it to be.

The only problem with B road blasting at the moment is that every time you go around a bend you run into either a peloton of overweight middle aged men, or someone wearing a mask walking in the middle of the road - what is it with people wearing masks just stepping out into the road without looking? 

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Do go test drive one, it will give you more information than any posts on here will. 

 

I have been through a few cars since my Zed and in comparison it is a heavy beast and relatively, not as chuckable. If you are B road blasting then you might want to consider something that isnt a GT cruiser. That said there is an enthusiastic following here in the UK which is part of the ownership experience. Bear in mind a DE will probably be looking at a fair bit of work if it hasnt already been done, and prices for consumables aren't cheap relative to the price of the car, this often catches owners out who are buying these cars at the lower part of the depreciation curve and many DEs I suspect got neglected. Just really give it a good look over - and go test drive one!

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Down a fast B road I think a zed is ridiculously fun. I think I did describe them as muscle car like a few years ago on here, but I was comparing them to GT86s IIRC. I mean, something smaller and lighter like a MX5 (or indeed a GT86) will be more chuckable down a proper twisty one, but you can still have a good time in a zed for sure. The mods I've made to mine (as per sig) have helped manage the extra weight noticeably.

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I've driven a 350Z and I've got a 370Z. For me they are more of a GT cruiser type of car rather than something that you grab by the scruff of the neck and throw down a nice twisty road. For example when I had my Mini Cooper S and the 370Z together...the Mini was far more fun for me down a nice twisty road because it was smaller and lighter than the Z. The Z obviously won in the sound department though! :D

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Posted (edited)

As said, the 350 is a bit of a lard arse, but you can still man (or non binary) handle them on a B road. Yeah there are many things that will be quicker or more nimble on a B road. But to be honest the extra weight just means you have to be a bit better at throwing it around, just remember there could always be a tractor round the next blind one, a bit more weight and front end will serve you well :) 

Edited by Willsy1980
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I bought a 350z in December, and I'm really enjoying it. The gearbox is fine imo, coming from a e9x 3 series (i found my bmw box mushy in comparison) you have to be a little more precise when it come to fast shifting, apart from that i've not had any mechanical issues (I preemptively changed the gearbox mounts to polybush out of want that's it)

 

With regards to weight i wouldn't say that it feels heavy just more solid and if you're really hammering it you'll probably feel a bit of body roll more than weight itself, its nothing that cant be fixed with sway bars or something.

 

Power wise I'm still really enjoying and and don't feel it needs more, you can oversteer any time you like but in the dry you have to make it it happen (unless you're running horrendous tyres). In the wet with TC off you defiantly have to be conscious of your right foot as I've had to catch it a couple of time but its more funny than scary and it's nice to be kept on your toes.

 

Also it's worth mentioning that I do all my work myself and part prices aren't too bad and if something is a bit pricier there are plenty of people breaking them or used bits for sale on ebay. Its worth looking at part prices for porsche and coming form a bmw I can say part prices are a lot were worse and mine loved to pop fuses and whine about abs.

 

It's worth looking about for a 350 as i got lucky and mine doesn't burn oil (as proper ragged ones are bad for). Also if you didn't know these chug fuel and tyres are expensive ( at least for my 21 yr old self!) I still think it's totally worth owning and one, if you do decide to get one you'll love it!

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I had a Civic Type R EP3 for the last 17 years, due to family needs, before  had  Alfa GTV6, 2 x Jag XJS's V12's  MGB, numerous E30 BMW's ,Triumph Stag (lovely until it was stolen) Citroen BX19GTI 16V ! Fiat X-19 which was fun, so many motorbikes, still have a big twin Harley and the winner is .... the 350Z absolutely love it, In my experience is if you chase a particular car as I did with the X-19 I bought a pile of s***t you get sucked in, I bought the 350 with never having looked at them just saw it for sale and thought that looks nice, then found a good dealer who knew his cars http://www.evo-motors.co.uk/ and I have had 2 years of fun apart from I hate parking it anywhere ! IMG_20190509_171748.jpg.bb410739aaa141578d075a5f5ae33fba.jpg

IMG_20180901_100037.jpg

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IMG_20200322_110219794.jpg

IMG_20200322_110211785.jpg

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I don't know about it being a B-road blaster.. aren't all cars good on B-roads? B-roads are fun whatever.

The Zed is sharper than most, can sound great and pulls forever, making overtakes easy. Get it while you can.

 

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14 minutes ago, Lee370Z said:

Really love your car history stevezzz! B):thumbs:

thanks that's kind of you ,it goes far deeper I used to be a ford guy ,worked for Burton engineering back in the day, we used to do bits for the cars of the WRC of that time,

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Posted (edited)

I lied about the car! the GTV6 was the best:D sorry its the engine only 160 BHP but what noise

 

Edited by stevezzz
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Not sure where you are based but there will be  30 plus 350zs at the Ace cafe meet in June.

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21 hours ago, stevezzz said:

 

 

 

IMG_20200322_110219794.jpg

 

 

Love this. The family motor when I was a kid. Slammed on bags before people knew that was cool AF.

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19 hours ago, stevezzz said:

 

I like the fact that the car he starts off in and ends up in has the rays alloys. But the 1 he is driving quite hard has the touring alloys...:lol::lol:

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I forgot to mention re the gearbox - they're certainly not the last word in smoothness, but nowhere near 'horrendous'. They do require some skill and finesse to get the best out of IMO, but then for me that's kind of the point of a manual anyway.

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It's been a while since I thought about the real life experience of my 350z. To sum it up, I loved it. it's not a lightweight sports car, but then I don't think it was ever meant to be. It sits nicely in the space where it's as sporty as an enthusiast would want, whilst being extraordinarily good value, comfortable & practical enough to pack your bags (and golf sticks) for a long trip all over Europe & back and never get tired of driving your grand tour. With subtle mods to the interior and exterior you can address the weak points and make it a really pleasant place to be. But if you want to go the other way and stiffen it up and add boost, you can make it considerably more hardcore (depending on your appetite for discomfort). I think it's widely acknowledged as being accommodating to spirited driving (see that Tiff video and similar from VBH) and can be provoked into oversteer, by those with the skills, as easily and predictably as you could want. I never had any problems with the gearbox that new fluid didn't solve, it was supremely robust given the stick it got.

 

If I had any regrets about ownership it was spending money chasing fractional HP gains on an N/A car. All it really needed was an exhaust for a bit more noise and a remap for a bit sharper throttle response. Styling mod choices are endless and totally subjective, I loved doing little tweaks to freshen it up, but the stock one still looks fab (minus the giant aerial).

 

I moved to the BRZ because I wanted less mass and grip, for the ability to be playful with it at lower speeds. I did miss the lazy grunt of the 350z when I was on the motorway though,  and on overtakes. The BRZ feels more "alive" on a B road than the 350z did, but then it also is less pleasant to be in for long spells and not everyone wants to know the texture of the road surface beneath them, all of the time. Compared to my 2014 Cayman GTS, it stacks up very well on the GT side of things. Other than MPG (I get 35 from the 3.4L in the Porsche, compared to more like 23 from the 3.5L of the Z) and the PDK - but these are things that 10 years plus of development have brought, rather than failings of the Z.  The interior and refinement isn't even close, but then again, the price points are vastly different. I paid about 5 times as much for the Cayman as the Z, and it's not 5 times the car.

 

I think the fact that, even now, I still keep an eye out for a unicorn 350z HR on low miles, totally standard, says a lot about them. I'd probably not go back, if I'm totally honest, because life is too short for the same car twice IMO, if you are lucky enough to be able to keep trying new things. If I had eight grand to spend and was allowed only one car, I can't think of much else I'd rather be in. I just checked Autotrader and noticed prices are much stronger now than when I sold up, so might be a good time to jump in...

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