Nissan’s Mighty Engine that Could

January 13th, 2024 by

Nissan of Fort Pierce Nissan 350Z Engine

Photo Source: NISSAN

The 350Z is a model that ticks several boxes: stylish, comfortable, powerful, and well-made. It is simple to be enthralled with the 350Z because it is so commonly seen in iconic films and games, and this appeal is because it is one of the best sports cars from its era. Its versatile nature and sonorous exhaust note, thanks to a beefy engine, make it an excellent sports car for the street or an exceptional long distance GT car to this day (2024). 

The vehicle’s exterior design language is what strikes customers first. To clarify, the beauty of the 350Z comes in the form of sheer simplicity. There is nothing overly offensive about the looks of this Z car, with nicely rounded edges, long tapering tail lights, and a somewhat aggressive but not over-the-top front grille. The 350Z was not over-designed by Nissan, something seen all too often on sporty compact cars. As such, the car’s good looks have held up, adding to its popularity.

Beneath the Hood of the 350Z

Despite its small and rounded coupe exterior, the 350Z hides a brawny powerhouse under the hood. Powering the 350Z is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, with acceleration ranging between 287 and 309 horsepower depending on the year. All of this means the 350Z is powerful and capable enough to perform as the GT car Nissan initially marketed it as, allowing it to achieve zero to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. 

It is worth noting that the heart and soul of any sports car is its engine. For Nissan’s most famous series, that has traditionally meant six cylinders. A high-strung, peaky four cylinder would not do for the 350Z engine design. The 350Z engine design needed to provide good low-end torque for powerful acceleration from a standing start and superb top-end breathing for high-speed merging and passing. 

Conquering Demands

Around-town drivability was crucial. In other words, no lumpy cams or hair-trigger turbos would do. Indeed, sources indicate, “The engine isn’t especially powerful, but it pulls cleanly all the way to its stock redline of 6,500 rpm, and thanks to variable valve timing, it also feels torquey lower down in the revs when you’re just cruising around.”

To meet these demands, the automaker wisely chose to power the 350Z with the third-generation version of its VQ V-6. Aside from the 350Z, the VQ has been utilized in the Nissan Maxima, Altima, and Pathfinder. From the start of Nissan’s plans, the goal was to accomplish high performance in a compact package. The engine would have to be narrow to work in a vertical orientation with multi-link front suspension. Additionally, it needed to be short so its center of gravity would not intrude unduly into the passenger compartment. After that, the 350Z landed on showroom floors in 2002. When it did, Z car enthusiasts were ready and sales hit a fever pitch. 

Everyone adored its sporty good looks, impeccable handling, and V-6 powertrain, and they still do in the 2024 model year. Things improved even more in 2006 when the manufacturer reworked the engine. As mentioned, Nissan revised the engine in 2006 “and bumped up its power to 309 horsepower, which arrived higher at 6,800 rpm instead of 6,200 rpm, and torque also rose slightly. The biggest news with this updated version of the VQ35DE was that you could rev it even higher, to 7,500 rpm before the rev limiter kicked in.”

If Nissan’s efforts to increase power output have you intrigued, please come visit Nissan of Fort Pierce. Do not forget we have a trained service team that can help with an online appointment to get started on all maintenance work and repairs. We know what it takes to provide a worthwhile experience. Allow us the pleasure of helping you today.