2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan 350Z Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 306 hp @ 6800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Nissan 350Z

  • The 2008 Nissan 350Z is still one of the best performance buys on the market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong and sweet-sounding V6 engine is happy at any rpm, capable handling and braking, excellent value, still looks great after several years.

  • Cons

    Some low-grade interior materials, steering wheel doesn't telescope, poor rearward visibility, stiff-leg clutch can be a pain around town.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Nissan 350Z is unchanged.

Full 2008 Nissan 350Z Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Nissan 350Z is unchanged.


This year, there's been a considerable amount of attention focused on Nissan's new GT-R sports car; 473 horsepower has a habit of doing that. However, unless you've got $70,000 (assuming -- ahem -- no dealer markup) and have your name on a waiting list, this Skyline successor will likely remain out of reach. Thankfully, Nissan has another legendary sports car for the rest of us: the Z.

Available as a coupe or convertible, the 2008 Nissan 350Z is a proper sports car priced for the everyman. Its fairly compact dimensions, sharp handling, potent V6 and rear-wheel drive make it fun to drive in almost any situation. Plus, the car's styling still looks fresh, even though the current-generation Z debuted for 2003.

For 2008 the 350Z stands pat, though it does mark the first full year of availability for the limited-production Nismo 350Z. The Nismo has effectively taken the place of the now-discontinued Track trim. This racetrack-oriented model comes with a specially tuned suspension, additional body reinforcements, a full aerodynamic package, Brembo brakes, and unique wheels and exhaust.

In testing, we've found the Nismo to be the best-handling 350Z to date, though this enhanced performance does come at the expense of fairly punishing ride comfort and noise. The remaining trim levels are more suited for everyday use, although the clutch can be too stiff in traffic. No matter which trim you choose, you'll still get one of the best values out there for a rear-drive performance car. Of course, the Z isn't perfect. Compared to models like the BMW Z4 and Mazda RX-8, the Z lacks handling finesse and cockpit refinement, and against the various permutations of the Ford Mustang GT, it lacks personality. But for an affordable sports car that delivers all-around performance and style, the 2008 Nissan 350Z is an ideal choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Nissan 350Z sports car is available as a coupe or roadster. Trim levels include base, Enthusiast, Touring, Grand Touring and Nismo. Note that the base and Nismo trims are exclusive to the coupe.

Base coupes come with 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, automatic climate control, full power accessories and a CD/MP3 player with steering-wheel controls. Going with an Enthusiast model adds cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a limited-slip rear differential. The roadster version includes a power-operated soft top and power seats.

The Touring model adds an upgraded Bose audio system with satellite radio, Bluetooth, power seats for the coupe, seat heaters for the roadster and leather upholstery. The Nissan 350Z Grand Touring has front and rear spoilers and more powerful Brembo brakes. Grand Touring coupes also have special lightweight wheels.

The limited-edition Nismo 350Z forgoes many of the Grand Touring's luxuries in favor of performance-enhancing upgrades, such as a stiffened, seam-welded chassis, firmer springs and shock absorbers, and various aerodynamic upgrades. Brake and wheel specs are identical to the Grand Touring, though the Nismo's wheels have a darker finish. Inside, each Nismo has red/black cloth seats, a gray-faced tachometer and a number plaque indicating its build order in the production run. A navigation system is optional on Touring and Grand Touring models.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-drive Nissan 350Z is armed with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 306 hp and 268 pound-feet of torque. Putting the power to the ground is either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. Base and Nismo models take only the manual gearbox. This is among the quickest sub-$50,000 cars you can buy, as we timed a Nismo 350Z at 5.1 seconds for the 0-60-mph sprint.


Antilock disc brakes are standard on all models, while all but the base car have traction control. Stability control comes on the Grand Touring trim, and on Touring models equipped with the manual transmission. GT and Nismo models have upgraded Brembo calipers and rotors. Side and head-protecting side curtain airbags are optional on all coupes except the Nismo, on which they're standard. Regular side airbags are standard on roadsters. In government crash tests, the 2008 Nissan 350Z coupe received a top five-star side-impact rating. In frontal-impact testing, it received four stars.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Z's instrument panel features three gauge pods that move with the tilt steering wheel. Unfortunately, the wheel doesn't have a telescoping adjustment. All of the controls a driver might need are close at hand, but some of the materials used in the cockpit seem low-grade for this price range. In the coupe's cargo area, there's a distinctive rear suspension brace that certainly improves body rigidity, but it also compromises valuable luggage space. The roadster's trunk is even more diminutive (just 4.1 cubic feet), but the top is easy to operate and can be dropped in about 20 seconds.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Nissan 350Z offers performance equal to some of the best sports cars available. The V6 is quite docile, though, and opening it up a bit produces an enjoyable and throaty growl. Power delivery is linear and athletic and particularly entertaining at higher revs. Although the automatic transmission matches revs on downshifts, a manual transmission brings out the most in the car. The six-speed's shifter feels heavy through the gates, but it's fairly precise and clutch take-up is smooth (if not stiff).

Around town, rearward visibility is poor. On a curvy road, however, the 350Z rewards its driver with a high level of outright grip and balance. The steering is a bit coarse in feel, but otherwise it's quick and well weighted. The track-tuned 2008 Nismo 350Z has the sharpest reflexes of the Z-car family, though its excessive road noise and predisposition toward freeway hop make it unsuitable as a daily driver.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2008 nismo

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

Best handling car period with traction control on or off. I love this car. Makes me smile with every drive. Super tight and well built. I have owned many Porsches and BMWs. The only thing that handles better is a M3 or GT3 and the Corvette Z06. The Nismo could have a bit more power as the 306hp V6 is a bit short in torque and pull. That said, for $30-35K this is the one in my garage.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I love my nismo

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

If I had to give up my wife of 20 years or NISMO.....oh that'd be tough...That end of the day experience of crawling in the cockpit and ZZZZ'ing up that engine is like therapy. I wanted an 08 before the styling changed...beautiful curves, not a bad angle to the car. Walked in to a dealer on V-day 09 ready to check out the 09s, not really in the market and there was 08 1441 sitting on the floor with $26,500 on the windshield. Are you serious???? Pack it up....and drove it off the showroom floor. My wife looked at it and said, that's all bad, hence my plates "ALL BAD."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

From '07 roadster to '08

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

I was given the chance to 'trade-down' from my '07 350Z Roadster Touring (equipped) for a new '08 Nismo "even"///What a difference in handling, speed and fun..it is everthing my old '75 280Z had accentuated to the highest level and then some..The Nismo is for driving and I'm sure would be fun to punish at a track; however, I just like driving it 0-60 (or so) and enjoying the car's superb cornering and acceleration capabilities...I agree with the review about the stereo being poor; but when I put my I-pod adapter in, the stereo was much better..as the speakers 'break-in' the sound improves too...meanwhile I'm just smiling and driving this car more 'happily' than the convertible!


by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

This car is awesome as far as driving goes. Would have been better with XM radio and navigation unit. Also upgrade of camshafts to higher lope cam would have set it apart from other 350Z.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Nismo tracked

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

I thought the pricing was about right on my new Nismo, until i got it on the track. What a deal for this car. The car handled very well at full steam even being heavy. The new handling package on the Nismo was fantastic. I have raced professional and know the difference between a car that handles and a car that does not. If they could add another say 75-100 hp it would be perfect. I recommend this car as a true value in a market full of over priced sports cars.

True driver

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan 350Z NISMO 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

To experience both the normal Z and the NISMO tuned Z, is more than enough for you to quickly decide which is for you. The 2 are very similar interior wise, power wise, and that is where it ends. The nismo, is a much more aggressive/racing type car, yes you can travel, the gas mileage is comparable if you can keep your foot out of it! Good luck with that. The car handles like a dream, you can push it to the edge of your own limits and it still wants more, the stiffer chassis, and upgraded suspension make this car worth the little extra it costs to own, over a normal Z. If you like to drive, and love the road this car is for you!!! If not then I suggest a normal Z.

Talk About The 2008 350Z

2008 Nissan 350Z Discussions See all Started By

2008 Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Road Test The 350Z Enthusiast coupe doesn't shy away from demanding roads. | May 06, 2010 | Kurt Nie...

I have a question, yesterday I test drove a 350Z 2008 touring, it had 30 miles on it and the service light was on !!! The salesman told me that it was the fuel tank light (the gas tank was empty) but ...


Read more about the 2008 Nissan 350Z

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Other 350Z Years

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