If humps and bumps in all the right places catch your attention, the Nissan 350Z should suit you just fine.
With all due apologies to Pamela Anderson, a noticeable lift in this sportster's new hoodline is there to accommodate an increase in engine power.
The "Z" is a reincarnation of the famous Zs of the '70s when Nissan was still Datsun. Its 240Z version roamed America's highways and byways, collecting accolades and the occasional speeding ticket at the hands of a (probably jealous) state trooper. The current gutsier 350Z might draw more wrath. (We suggest caution away from a closed circuit track.)
Upgraded engine power is THE story for the 2007 350Z. The current model houses Nissan's revised powerplant with a designation (VQ350HR) that doesn't easily roll off the tongue. What it does with ease is churn out more grunt. Every version gets the same hefty underpinnings, an award-winning, improved 3.5-liter V6 with a large range of tire-kicking torque (between 2,000 and 7,000 RPM). Add a horsepower rating of 306 (up from 300 last year) to the 268-lbs. ft. of torque and watch it move.
The kind of high performance driving one would expect from the rear-drive 350Z comes at the hands of two sophisticated shifters, a six-speed manual (20/27 best mileage on premium) or five-speed automatic. Nissan points to the manual's close-ratio gearing for jack rabbit speed surges, topped off with an overdrive function for "long-legged" highway fuel economy. (Hmmmmmm. Wonder if the Rockettes or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have heard about that?)
The latest rendition of the Z has grown in variety since its intro in 2004. Models include three power-operated soft top roadsters ($35,550 base) and four Coupe models (from $27,900). Owners opting for more, depending on model, can get such amenities as aluminum pedals, alloy wheels, illuminated steering wheel controls, and front and rear spoilers. All models have the signature 3-bay gauge cluster, reminiscent of its 240Z predecessor. The driver's seat is designed to hold one firmly in place during performance driving.
Lest the style-conscious feel slighted, color gets attention for 2007. Carbon Silver, San Marino Blue and an intriguing sounding Solar Orange are added as exterior hues. Gray bumps blue in the soft top color palette. (Black stays.) Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity (okay, a stretch) is added to Touring and Grand Touring coupes. All this, plus the power boost, could make a non-Z owner green with envy.