First introduced as a 2004 model, the 350Z Roadster receives most of the enhancements of the Z Coupe for 2006 (except the forged alloy wheels), making a great open-air sports car even more attractive. The Z Roadster features a power-operated soft top with glass rear window, which transforms from top-up to top-down in about 20 seconds.
The 2006 350Z Roadster is offered in three models: Enthusiast, Touring and Grand Touring. The Grand Touring model, which comes equipped with Brembo brakes and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is available in both the 300-horsepower 6-speed manual version or 287-horsepower 5-speed automatic version. The Roadster Grand Touring automatic is new for 2006.
The Z Roadster’s fully automatic soft top features a heated glass rear window, which helps provide clearer visibility in adverse weather conditions. And, unlike other convertibles in its class, the top stows compactly under a lightweight powered tonneau cover, completely hiding the top when down.
The three-lock, single latch system was created to give a more secure seal, while also making the opening and closing process easier. Activating the top is a simple process. To open, with the transmission in Park or Neutral (manual transmissions), release the latch (located directly above the middle windshield area), push the brake pedal and hold the button (located to the left of the steering column) and the top opens. To close, reverse the process.
Structural reinforcements were incorporated to strengthen the Z Roadster unibody (versus the Z Coupe), including a center floor V-shaped cross bar connecting the side sills and a front A-shaped cross bar reinforcing the front end. Additional reinforcement was added at the door openings and a triple-member was added to the seating area connecting the sides to the floor structure to provide enhanced rigidity.
Also during the design phase of the Z Roadster, engineers devoted countless hours conducting wind tunnel tests. These tests allowed the engineers to adjust the Roadster’s design to route air flow to help minimize interior noise and turbulence while maximizing downforce at highway speeds.
A key component to reducing interior noise is a tempered glass wind deflector located between the seats that directs wind out and over the cabin. Seatbelt fasteners were also added to help keep seatbelts from flapping in the wind. As a result, the Z Roadster is among the leading competitors for low interior noise with the top down.
Like the Z Coupe, the Z Roadster’s instrument panel features three gauge pods consisting of the drive computer, oil pressure gauge and voltmeter, as well as modern touches such as the enhanced, optional navigation system with 7-inch display.
The driver’s seat of the Z Roadster is tailored for performance. The base cushion is firm and long for additional support, while bolster cutouts under the thighs optimize pedal operation. The seatback is sculpted with large “wings,” designed to help secure drivers during acceleration. The upper side bolster is sculpted in the middle for easy shifting and steering, while the lower side bolster is designed wider and deeper to keep the driver squarely behind the wheel.
Also offered on the Z Roadster are Burnt Orange ventilated leather-trimmed net seats (Touring and Grand Touring only). The net-style seats are made with a woven seat cloth center insert and feature an opening in the seatback so that the driver can feel a wind flow during top-down driving. A built-in seat heater is also available for those sundown rides.
A lockable luggage box capable of storing a briefcase is standard. There is also sufficient luggage space in the trunk even though the top is stored in the trunk area when down. The trunk has up to 4.1 cubic feet of useable room for storage.