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Nissan 350Z

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Comments

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ...it forces me to exercise my brain cells converting Canadian to US dollars.

    The latest round of corporate layoffs notwithstanding, I still think there is a big market for a high performace 350Z in the $32k to $35k range ($50-55k Canadian). I don't see buyers cross shopping a BMW 3 coupe. I see it being an alternative to the "toys" you mentioned at a price point that's much easier to justify as a non-primary car. The market for two seaters is, by definition, pretty narrow. Trying to price it at a point where it works as a daily driver for the average 25 year old would, I'm afraid produce a product that was more comparable to a Miata than a Boxter. Cute, but not exactly cutting edge performance.

    Look, I'm probably just being influenced by my recent purchase of an S2000. If the 350Z was available at a comparable price, I would have shopped it. But not if it were designed with mass market compromises to compete at the low-middle end of the market.

    By the way, I think the the S2000 lists for $48k Canadian (a little less than the US list of $32,400). How are they selling in Canada? How do you see the 350Z positioned against it?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I'm a little worried that the 350Z as currently spec'd would get flattened by the WRX/EVO/RX8/RSX/Cobra crowd. I think I agree with flyingfish that it may have a much better chance at survival at the $60k price point as a prestige vehicle (that Nissan currently lacks) that competes with the vette, M3, etc.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..but what is an EVO and is the RX8 even available? And what do you mean by currently spec'd? If the Z's performance can match its claims, it should be a competitor in the middle to upper middle end of the sport coupe / two seater market.

    As for your other comparisons, I'll repeat my previous statement. As a recent Honda S2000 buyer, I would have considered a 350Z if it offered comparable performance, aesthetics and value. None of the other cars you mentioned - the WRX, RSX, Cobra were within a mile of my list (although I understand the RSX is a great $20k something car for 20 somethings). The M3, Boxter S, CLK (not SLK) were. The S2000 was the only non-European car that competed for my attention. The Z could, potentially.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    EVO is a ~270hp four seat rally-oriented sport sedan that matches up against the WRX. Apparently this as well as the RX8 *are* headed to the U.S. These are all sub-6 second 0-60 cars sitting at the same price point as the 350Z, along with the S2000.

    So you're not cross-shopping these cars, fine. But many people will. One year ago when rumors of a $30k 260-280hp Z were flying about, the new Z would have sat at a price/performance point with virtually no competition other than maybe the S2000 and the Audi TT---but that was a year ago. When the 350Z arrives, it's going to stack up against much stiffer competition. The RSX-S is inexpensive but hits 60 in a shade over 6 seconds and has many of the S2000's slick goodies. Little needs to be said about the WRX, which also undercuts a 350Z's price by a wide margin. The EVO and RX-8 are likely to fall into that same bucket. Mercedes-Benz has successfully moved into the low-end coupe market with a surprisingly high value coupe, and a CL-S will offer similar power output, higher value, full luxury content and a manual transmission by the time the 350Z arrives. The Z3 will finally get a modern restyling, while the Cobra convertible will remain the best high performance convertible value, while the S2000 continues winning 10-Best awards. In other words, the $20k to $40k coupe/2-seater market that seemed a little dry a year ago, is a LOT more competitive. The Z is no longer competing against merely the high-strung S2000 and one or two other niche cars. It's going to have to knock the doors off everything else out there if it wants to achieve real mass-market success at $30k. If it isn't a gem, buyers will have no problem with roomer, equally torquey and smooth-revving Acura CLs or 325Cis, higher-strung S2000s, and the like. The 350Z isn't entering a "it's me or the highway" market, that was my point.
  • The S2000 does reatil for $48,000. How common is it? Well, it's rare. Less common to see one on the road than a 3rd gen RX-7. Driving around town, you're likely to see 15 Boxsters before you see an S2000. IMO Nissan can't afford to have a product that sells in such low volumes.

    Oh, and when you're converting prices, you're better off to analogue the prices for competing cars first. If you simply convert the dollar amounts, you end up with "discrepancies" like the following: directly converted at 0.63 cents on the dollar, a Honda Prelude starts at $17,800 USD, an Acura RSX Type-S is under $20k USD and a Mazda Protege starts at only $9,800 USD.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I have noticed that some cars have much lower Canadian prices than their US counterparts whereas others are fairly comparable. The Nissan Maxima for example, seems a real bargain in Canada. At a Canadian list of $36,900 + $966 freight for a fully loaded SE 6-speed, that works out to about $24,200 US at current exchange rates (vs. a US MSRP of about $30,000). Assuming the Canadian dealers discount by a similar percentage as US dealers, the price difference between a Canadian Maxima and US Maxima is about 20% less in Canada.

    When I looked at the conversion of a BMW 530i, the Canadian price was much closer to the US equivalent. Even Hondas seem to be priced in Canada more in line with their US counterparts. The S2000 list of $48k converts to about $1,700 less than the $32,440 US list (i.e. about 5.3% less in Canada).

    Note: I used 1.56:1 as the current conversion factor, although it was as high as 1.60 a few weeks ago. Educate me if I am missing something in these comparisons.

    P.S. I fully agree with you that Nissan can't afford to limit production of the 350Z to Honda S2000 volumes and have it be financially successful. On the other hand, as an S2000 owner, I confess to enjoying somewhat the feeling of exclusivity. That was probably a subliminal factor in my purchase decision. I am thankful that Honda has been financially successful enough with their mainstream cars to be able to develop a "poor man's NSX" as more of a marketing/exhibition project than a profit center.
  • jimxojimxo Posts: 423
    I'm willing to blow 35k on my next car. I'm torn between getting another sedan such as the next generation Maxima/I35/G35 or a pre-driven Q45, or a Z350. If the Z gets a Turbo in 2004 I'm sold. I currently drive a 2000 Maxima SE and was really surprised the new Altima was as quick as they say it is. If the new Z cant beat the Altima I'll go for the sedan.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..when I was trying to decide on replacing my 1995 Maxima SE with a 530i or getting a Honda S2000 as a third car (did the latter). Here you seem to be deciding between replacing a sedan with either another sedan or two seater.

    All I can say is if the Z can't beat the new Altima, Nissan is in very deep do-do.
  • I noticed that about BMW too. It seems a little odd to me. I've made a mental note not to shop BMW's when I buy my next car.

    I've used the exchange rate of $0.63USD/$CAD, which is equal to about $1.58. Today's rate is $0.6402, the lowest it got was 0.6251.

    As much as we'd like Nissan to come out with a Z packed with technology and selling in price ranges that give it "exclusivity", I fear that would lead to either the Z's demise or Nissan's demise, or even both. (Oops, I forgot. That already happened.)

    I think Nissan has great potential in the North American market, and they're not cashing in on it. In my opinion, the Z isn't going to help them tap that wealth of potential customers. There are so many things that they could do better, like their rather poor entry-level luxury sedan, the G20. Most people see it as just a Sentra in disguise, and it really doesn't sell well.

    A viable option would be to bring over the Skyline from Japan: it's price range in the Japanese market is approximately USD$20,500 - $25,500 (perfect!), it's got great styling and more power than anything else in its class (215hp at base-level, 260hp option). And a coupe. It's like Nissan's North American branch has never heard of a coupe before! I know, I say that in almost every post. Imagine I must think it's important.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love for Nissan to offer the Z. But if they stake their entire North American business on just the Z, they're going to evaporate before too long.
  • >>>>The mustang is ugly. It has a big nose heavy front end. It understeers pretty bad. It is too long, too wide, and too heavy to be competitive. It handles like a whale(the cobra only slightly better than the GT). And it has a cheap and ugly interior. There is a reason why people are snooty about not driving a mustang.<<<<<<

    Yes they handle terribly, that is why Car and Driver rated the Cobra R as the best road holding car for 2001 at 0.99g. Wake up and smell the flowers. The Germans just wish they could build a better machine for the money.
  • jay_75jay_75 Posts: 10
    How much does the Cobra R cost?
    How many are being made?

    exactly
  • $54,000 list. With the low production numbers, I am guessing the cobra R runs for about $60,000 at the dealers, or a huge waiting list.

    Yeah, great comparison between the 350Z and the Cobra. Face it...the cobra R and the cobra are two different beasts. And I will give you that american cars give you a lot for the money. They are quite possibly the best "bang for the buck" on the planet. But to quote badtoy, buying a car based on its numbers is like choosing a girlfriend based on her bra size. Theres more to a car than just its numbers.

    I am stating that the Cobra is only mediocre handling by todays standards for sports cars. The GT is WAY below average by todays standards. We have yet to determine how the Z car handles, but I can almost guarantee you right now that the Z will handle better. It also is more attractive(to me and a lot of other people), with better build quality, more comfortable and attractive interior, and with less weight.

    I think Nissan does not consider the Cobra a threat to their sales. Any japanese or german sports car is going to be the same way. If you like big horsepower and straight lines, you go for the mustang. If you want a real sports car, you go for something else. Nissan should have no intentions to steal cobra sales, and it should not expect to have sales stolen by the Cobra.
  • What's wrong with choosing based on bra size?!?!? =] But yes, skidpad numbers mean nothing. Handling can not be determined by numbers, because feel also makes a difference. And the Cobra R (R = Racing BTW) is different than the Cobra. That's like saying the Integra and Integra Type R (although they are quite close in price) handle the same.

    Comments?
  • Ive known a few double D size bra girls in my life, and the majority of them also have D size rolls on their waists too.
  • boomn29boomn29 Posts: 189
    Why are people comparing the 350 2-seater to 4 door rally-inspired cars???
    Why are people comparing the estimated 30k 350 to cars costing under 24k???

    Try to keep apples-to-apples people!
  • f1julesf1jules Posts: 288
    Hmm, the Mustang GT posts a slalom speed of 64.0 mph the BMW M3 65.4 (if I remember correctly). Not exactly whale-like handling if you ask me. Besides, a few hundred dollars spent on after-market goodies can make the Mustang handle better than an M3.

    Just because it doesn't appeal to you is no reason to trash the car. It is a fairly capable car for the money.
  • I don't know if someone may have posted a link to this article in here previously but, here it is anyway:


    http://www.roadandtrack.com/RoadAndTrack/features/1201_nissan_350z_p2.html


    I think you may find the third paragraph from the bottom of the page interesting, as an s2000 owner. It describes the goals of the handling characteristics for the Z. I'm a little surprised by the direction, although I guess I shouldn't be as the target consumer is likely older than I am.

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    How quick do you think it'll be? I'm a little concerned by the tendency of Nissan to feature an outstanding powerplant, and still manage to put up mediocre numbers. The 350Z has a 100ft/lb torque advantage over the S2000, only a 300-ish pound weight penalty, more horsepower up top and way, way more torque down low, and yet I'm a bit concerned this car will put up 0-60 numbers identical to the S2000.

    That said, the article was interesting although it didn't surprise me. I always heard that the Z was a touring vehicle, not too quick and rather heavy. I hope so because that's the car I want. It's the reason I got two Preludes in a row, and it's nice to see a nice step "up" on the horizon.
  • 64626462 Posts: 14
    They've been getting into trouble lately for exaggerating their claimed performance specs for the Sentra and Q45, so maybe they're just playing it safe now?
  • touring car I'd get a 3-series or wait on the G35.
  • 300ZX would be considered a tourer next to a Toyota Supra or a Mazda RX-7. That does not mean it could not go fast, but it did mean that the handling was not as good as the others....
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..am not not quite sure what Yukawa means by "more mature" handling than an S2000. It seems to me like Nissan has sent a couple of mixed messages regarding their intent relative to the new "Z". On the one hand, they seem to acknowledge that the old Z evolved into an expensive luxo-GT car that lost some of its original spirit and appeal. They claimed they were going back to their 240Z roots with the new Z. Now, in the R&T review, Yukawa talks in terms of the new Z being a "comfortable tourer".

    I hope the actual car is going to be a better execution of a clear strategy than the inconsistent attempts to articulate it.

    BTW, although I only have 900 miles on the odometer, I don't think the S2000's handling is one in which more "maturity" is needed. It is as precise and balanced a car as I've driven. The fact that it responds to inputs immediately and goes exactly in the direction it's pointed is, IMHO, a GOOD thing. And, at 44, I suspect I'm on the "mature" side of any demographic target market either Honda or Nissan has in mind. Perhaps the 350Z, by virtue of a lower revving V6, will be a little easier on the eardrums as an everyday car. For me, the S2000 makes a perfect compliment to my Maxima SE. (And my hearing is half shot anyway).

    P.S. Hopefully Yukawa or his colleagues won't be quoted as claiming the new G35 or 2003 Maxima target is "more mature" handling than a 3 or 5-series. Just what we need, another Buick.
  • Yep, I understand that. I guess I was hoping that the Z would be more of a "light and nimble" car than a GT geared towards comfort.
    I'd probably be happy with a miata if I could fit and felt safe in one. Now that the dealer markups on S2K's seem to have died (for the most part) I may consider one, although I'd feel obligated to sign up for track time if I bought one.
    btw, from what I've heard about 3rd Gen. RX-7s and Supras they're way too much car for me... right now anyway ;)
  • Yea, that kinda dissapoints me too. Well, I guess I should have expected something like this. It's being designed for North America, and US buyers typically like a smooth ride. They probably figure this will help them sell more cars. Which I guess is a good thing considering Nissans financial troubles lately. Look on the bright side, if you really want the go kart handling, you can easily add some aftermarket shocks and springs for about $600. Many people add aftermarket suspension to performance cars, and this will just make the benifits of it that much more noticeable.
  • when they say "mature" I believe they don't mean razor sharp handling and steering, but rather BMW/Prelude type ride, feeling solid and connected but not stiff and harsh. Personally, I would prefer the S2000 Razor Sharpness, but the Z is not meant to be a limited production car like the S2000. But, that's what I believe they mean when they say more "mature". Comparable to a BMW or a Prelude, solid and connected but not harsh.

    Comments?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..perhaps you haven't driven an S2000, but I personally don't find anything harsh in it's handling and ride relative to what is to be expected of a 2-seater sports car. I had a 1996 Supra Twin Turbo for six months and can assure you it was at "harsher" than an S2000, without some of the nimbleness benefits.

    If the "Z"'s target is the Prelude, heaven help us all. I am a Honda fan, but the Prelude was not a sports car. Period. As for the BMW comparison, I again ask what Nissan is attempting to accomplish. No one makes a better handling sedan than BMW. Last time I checked, the Z was supposed to be a 2-seater sports car giving the Boxter S and other comparables a run for it's money.

    I just don't think the Z can be all things to all people. It either needs to make performance the priority and add as much everyday comfort to it as possible, or vice-versa. But they will come in conflict with each other at times and knowing which is the priority is important, IMHO.
  • way too much car? Is that price or performance penalty? Just curious...

    Well... from what I've read, Nissan needs to squeeze out more hp and torque from the engine to match the expected competitions. It seems to fall short in acceleration as compared to an M3 or a Corvette. If Nissan can make the Z performs and pampers as well as those two cars and at the expected price, then I'll seriously consider it. OK... don't increase the power too much at the expense of fuel economy... in this day and age, you can do both.....
  • performance.

    Last Gen RX-7 with the factory performace packages are basically track cars. I'd never be able to drive the car anywhere near its potential, even on a track, not without attending a performance driving school.
  • I agree, it does seem a little like the Z doesn't have a clear sense of direction. The only car I can think of the Z "aiming towards" in terms of competition is the Audi TT, which also doesn't seem to have a clear purpose. Granted, the Z will have a lot more power than a TT, but IMO that's a market that only exists in theory. Both cars may look good on paper and in person, but they're not the kind of cars that give people a reason to "go out and buy one right now". Just my opinion.
  • 64626462 Posts: 14
    It seems to me like a classier Mustang GT. Maybe they're looking at how many Mustangs are sold per year and figure that they can tap into that market a bit. People will always pay a bit of a premium for the Japanese label, more refined interior, better reliability, and better handling.
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