You don’t have to to break the bank for a satisfying dose of speed these days.
For proof, look no further than the Nissan 350Z – one of the Japanese firm’s most alluring junior performance packages that, even in its heyday, had an attainable price and bags of kerb appeal.
Propelled by a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, the early 350Z offered 276bhp. It was initially available as a coupé and all cars were rear-wheel drive with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Power was uprated in 2005 to a lusty 296bhp and a roadster was added to the line-up. Straight-line speed was quick enough to get your attention: with 296bhp, the model completed 0-62mph in 5.8sec in the coupé and 6.2sec in the roadster.
If that’s not enough poke, look for the HR (for ‘high response’) model. Produced from 2007, it received a comprehensive engine overhaul that boosted power to 308bhp.
The revised car also gained a new front bumper, bi-xenon headlights and updated LED tail-lights. And inside, the 350Z was equipped with a new sat-nav as well as larger door bins.
We thought the transmission was far smoother than the original car’s and road noise was reduced. In fact, we would certainly choose a later example, if funds allow, because of its vastly improved refinement and impressive engine reliability over those from launch.
We were tempted by a 2009 example that’s up for just £8495. Although it has covered 115,000 miles, it’s a one-owner car with no aftermarket additions, a full Nissan service history, a three-month warranty and 12 months of AA cover.
It’s also in GT spec, which adds features such as electric seats, leather upholstery and cruise control.