Chi Z

The rebirth of Nissan’s flagship sports car touched our very soul. Right before we nearly ran over some old broad.

We were having a really shitty Friday. So when Nissan offered us the new 350Z for the weekend, we were more than catatonically euphoric to accept.

For a rice burner, Nissan’s Z car was once uniquely embraced by American drivers as if it were one of their own. But during the ’90s, the car’s supercharged price tag, coupled with the nation’s need for an automobile that could seat nine comfortably while providing for long-range nuclear capability, sent the Z packing for Japan, where it lay dormant for the last six years.

1. The Z’s instrumentation features three digital pod gauges and an optional DVD navigation system.
2. The dual overhead 3.5-liter V-6 roars at 287 horsepower, providing 274-foot pounds of torque. And you know what that means.
3. Everything from air ducts to the car’s rear stabilizer bar bears the mark of Zorbo.

But now soccer moms are out, and speed-starved, reckless jerkoffs like us want to put pedal to metal without having to endure a background check or four-strap safety harness. Cue the new 350Z: $10,000 cheaper than its most recent incarnation (the 300Z) and 23 percent more powerful.

It wasn’t until we unleashed Z on the mean streets of Manhattan at speeds of 2, 5, even 10 mph that we realized what an attention thief it is. We couldn’t make it through a red light, traffic bottleneck, or angry Israelite rally without someone paying homage in the form of brayed praise and/or slack-jawed gawking. The constant stares we received confirmed for us that this was a special automobile. Or maybe it was the plastic bags of powdered sugar we tossed freely out the windows. Either way, everyone was staring at us, and we liked it!

It was at that very moment that we began to understand the modus operandi of the Guido. We instinctively slowed to a pimp crawl the moment an assemblage of women came into view, carelessly cranking the volume on Z’s 160-watt stereo system and spontaneously growing a sparse, weedy mustache.

But the Z is no cheesy ride. Those trifling pedestrians were staring for a reason, and it starts with a menacing design reminiscent of a mellifluous angry terrapin and continues with the Z’s 287-hp 3.5 liter V-6. We finally got our chance to open her up—on the cop-blocked New Jersey Turnpike, no less—and better understood what all the fuss was about. We topped that mother out at just a hair over the speed limit (90 miles per hour is still within “hair” range, isn’t it?), and barely breached the 3,000-RPM mark. Responsible driving went right out Z’s dual single-pipe exhausts as we reverted to our 16-year-old selves, peeling doughnuts on the football field and picking our girlfriends up from band practice.

The Z’s snug interior plays like the cockpit of an F-1 racer, giving you just enough room to do your business. Our freakishly elongated Frankenstein of an editor fit without even minor contortion—no “small” feat considering his scalp has scraped the roofs of many a clown car. Knobs, handles, and trim are appointed in aluminum, with both analog gauges and digital pod displays, which feature adjustable readings for speed, temperature, and pussy probability.

By weekend’s end, we were refreshed, our spirits renewed. More affordable than a reasonably priced high-performance sports car was a free high-performance sports car—one that we will not soon forget.



3.5 liter V-6 (287-hp)


Six-speed manual (5-speed automatic available for communists)


5.4 seconds


17-inch aluminum alloy


$26,000 to $34,000

Z went with us everywhere, from the drive-thru at McDonald’s, to Mount Rushmore, to the deck of the HMS Prince of Wales for a brief summit with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.