Buying a sports coupe can pose all sorts of problems, with reliability and practicality not always at the top of the list of assets for this type of vehicle. Or if they are, you'll have to sacrifice something when it comes to driving experience.
The Nissan 350Z proves that you can have your cake and eat it too. It was first introduced in 2003 and remained a popular choice on the market until 2009 at which point it was replaced by the 370Z.
While the 350Z for sale is a firm favourite today, it had a little trouble during its early days because it was competing against the Mazda RX-8, which with four seats and a rotary engine seemed just that bit more interesting than Nissan's efforts.
Thankfully the 3.5 litre engine and excellent overall handling and performance of the Nissan 350Z, combined with its muscle car-style looks and presence, helped it to find an audience in the UK.
In 2006 Nissan decided to update the 350Z for sale, altering the exterior aesthetics and increasing its engine output to 296bhp up from the previously available 275bhp.
If you are choosing between the Mazda RX-8 and the 350Z, you'll not be surprised to learn that both of these models feel quite different once you are behind the wheel. The Nissan is the bigger beast, with more power at its disposal and a classic coupe setup that's tough to match, particularly if you've no need for the extra seats.
Bang for your buck
The approved used Nissan 350Z cuts a dashing figure, with its unmistakable profile giving it the edge over some of the other, more generic coupes on the market.
When it first arrived many were comparing it to the Audi TT, if only in terms of its pop culture impact.
On the inside you get plenty of gadgets, including climate control, a 6 CD autochanger and a trip computer to keep you on the right track.
Cloth upholstery was standard, but leather seats could be added as an option as part of the GT Pack, which also boosted the stereo's output and added cruise control.
What you'll pay
While there are imports of the used Nissan 350Z available on the cheap, these are inferior to official UK cars in terms of both equipment and security, so give them a miss if you can help it.
For around £4000-£6000 you can get an early model Nissan 350Z with high miles and expect to spend about £1000 more on an example which had the GT Pack fitted as new.
The last run of Nissan 350Z cars for sale which were registered in 2008 or 2009 will set you back closer to £15,000 and convertible examples are a little costlier still. Even so, you get a lot of car for your money.
What to check
Reliability is where owning a Nissan really comes into its own. Mechanically the 350Z should be solid as a rock, as long as it hasn't undergone any extensive aftermarket modifications, which can be an issue with these cars.
The colour of the Nissan 350Z you choose will have an impact on its asking price, with those in black, red or yellow depreciating at the fastest rate.
Parking damage and alloy curbing are the only real external issues you should scout out for, since the 350Z should otherwise provide a trouble-free motoring experience.
Clutch replacement will cost £225 before labour expenses, while a replacement radiator or starter motor will set you back £250 apiece. The brake pads are £70 for a pair at the front and £55 for those at the rear.
As long as you treat your used Nissan 350Z with respect, running costs should be low thanks to the reliability factor.
How it drives
Let's get one thing straight: this is not a Skyline GT-R. That's not to say that the 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds that is made available to you in the 350Z is not impressive, it's just that it never really feels quite as seat of your pants fast as you might imagine.
There are plenty of gadgets and modern touches on the inside, but there is a reassuring weight to the handling and gears that reminds you of the traditionalist nature of this car's setup. It is well balanced and provides a firm, responsive ride with traction control getting you out of tricky situations. That is if you want to leave it on at all.