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2004 Nissan 350Z Page 1

It took nearly a year before Nissan’s promotional army got us some seat time with the 350Z Roadster, but I’m not inclined to blame them. With one of the great bargains in all of motordom in your product portfolio, why waste time and money telling the story to the mainstream media? The basic Z coupe became the best-selling sports car shortly after its introduction in 2002, according to Polk registrations, so you have to figure Z enthusiasts and open-air fans alike, thanks to word-of-mouth and blogging, would readily take matters into their own hands once the roadster hit the streets, tire camber bedevilments be damned.

Still, you may want to hold out for an ’05 model, which is starting to trickle into a few West Coast dealerships and will be available nationwide by year’s end. According to Nissan product manager Dean Case, heated exterior mirrors and a new tire pressure monitoring system will become standard equipment, although the base price will only increase $30-$60, depending on model.

Poseurs beware

No matter when you get behind the wheel of the Z Roadster, poseurs, beware. Although the Z Roadster can be a wonderful cruising vehicle over long distances, this is a honest-to-gosh sports car that in goes head-to-head with the Audi TT convertible, BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster for thousands less, suggesting that teeth-gnashing may be an occupational hazard among German auto engineers. The Nissan does give up some territory to its Teutonic brethren in terms of overall refinement and the quality of interior materials, but these are issues that lose significance once you hit the road.

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