A new Grand Touring Coupe model featuring the 18/19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, front and rear spoiler and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) has been added to the model lineup and all 6-speed manual transmission models now receive the 300-horsepower* tuning of the Z’s standard 3.5-liter DOHC V6. Models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission are rated at 287 horsepower.
For 2006, the 350Z is again available in Coupe and Roadster body styles and in an array of models – five for the Coupe and three for the Roadster. Each provides sports car lovers high performance excitement and dynamic driving experience, with a style all its own. Other enhancements for the new model year include standard 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels (except Coupe Track and Grand Touring models), increased brake rotor size for non-Brembo models, standard bi-xenon (low and high beam) headlights, and mp3-CD capability for the available Bose audio system.
Three new exterior colors are available for 2006: Silver Alloy, Magnetic Black, and Interlagos Fire.
The 350Z Coupe and 350Z Roadster share their proud performance heritage, including state-of-the-art platform, engine, suspension and braking systems. The Z’s FM (Front Mid-Ship) platform positions the engine behind the front axle, providing an optimized front-to-rear weight balance of 53/47. The FM platform, derived from racing technology, also places a strong emphasis on aerodynamics, especially on the control of airflow under the body.
The heart and soul of the Z, since the original 1970 model, is its engine. Again for 2006, every 350Z offers a standard 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine, which delivers not only outstanding start-off acceleration and high-speed passing performance, but also torque characteristics suitable for city driving. The engine utilizes an advanced intake port design and Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) technology. Drivability has been further improved by adopting an electronically controlled “drive-by-wire” throttle and the use of a highly rigid cylinder block.
Aluminum block and heads reduce engine weight, contributing to improved fuel economy and performance. Lighter pistons and connecting rods trim mass, allowing the engine to respond and rev more freely, while lightweight, hollow camshafts help reduce energy losses when the engine is running. The Z also features a lightweight, one-piece, carbon fiber reinforced plastic driveshaft unit.
Along with a powerful engine, the Z produces a powerful sports car sound to match – one without the low frequency booming or rumbling that can grow tiresome on long trips or high-pitched mechanical sounds. The exhaust sound is maximized at low RPM (1,000-3,500 RPM), but quiet at normal cruising range. Intake sound is maximized at high RPM (3,500-6,000 RPM), especially at wide throttle openings, but toned down during cruising.
Both a 6-speed close-ratio manual and 5-speed automatic transmissions are available (manual transmission only on Coupe Track model). The manual transmission features close-ratio gearing from 1st to 5th speed ranges for high-performance driving and an overdrive 6th speed for long-legged highway fuel economy and reduced engine noise. The advanced automatic transmission design includes Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), which provides smooth downshifting.
The redline is 7,000 rpm for manual transmission models and 6,600 rpm for automatic transmission Z’s.
For 2006, the standard rack-and-pinion steering system receives a new vehicle speed-sensitive power assist, which provides comfortable steering effort at both low and high speeds. The system’s two orifice sets (compared with one set for traditional power steering systems) work together (based on vehicle speed) to generate the appropriate level of steering effort for nearly every driving condition. The orifice sets are controlled by a solenoid valve and electrical control units.
The Z’s suspension is a 4-wheel independent multilink design with extensive use of lightweight aluminum components and standard front and rear stabilizer bars.
The 2006 350Z offers a power-assisted 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. (BA).
Brembo brakes, featuring four front caliper pistons and two rear and larger pads and rotors, are standard on the Coupe Track and Coupe and Roadster Grand Touring models.
Traction Control System (TCS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) (not available on all models) work in conjunction with the braking package. TCS uses the ABS wheel speed sensors to detect if the rear wheels are accelerating faster than the fronts. If so, torque is reduced to the drive wheels by altering the fuel injector pulse and controlling the Electronic Throttle Control motor.
Working hand-in-hand with the Anti-lock Braking System and the Traction Control System, VDC can reduce engine torque or apply individual brakes as necessary to help stabilize the car under severe cornering situations or adverse weather conditions.
One of the other major changes for 2006 is the use of standard 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels (17-inch wheels were standard in previous years). They are mounted with 225/45WR18 (front), 245/45WR18 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport or Bridgestone Potenza RE040 tires.
New RAYS super lightweight 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels, 18x9-inch front and 19x10-inch rear, are standard on the 350Z Track and Grand Touring models. The new wheels are mounted with 245/40WR18 (front), 265/35WR19 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. All 2006 Z’s feature a standard Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with a separate readout for each tire.