Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Launched with a 280bhp 3.5-litre V6, the 350Z offers rapid performance with a 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds. The engine and exhaust note sound great from the moment the car starts, right up to the rev limiter. A special edition model with 300bhp was introduced in 2005, available in either yellow or black. It has slightly less maximum pulling power than the standard engine, making it a little less responsive out of tight bends, but a higher rev limit gives more performance at the top end.

This became the standard engine in 2006 with the 0-62mph time reduced to 5.8 seconds. Almost 80% of major engine parts were upgraded in mid 2007, with power boosted to 313bhp and the rev limit raised to 7,500rpm. It shaves a further 0.1 second off the 0-62mph time while 90% of maximum pulling power is now available from 2,000rpm, so it feels keener out of slow corners.

However, a heavy clutch and gear shift mean driving smoothly in traffic can be tricky.

The 350Z feels beautifully balanced on the road. It has an exceptionally stiff body and low centre of gravity, plus with near perfect weight distribution it always feels responsive. It reacts intuitively to steering inputs and is flat in corners too, giving you plenty of confidence. However, as it is rear wheel drive, it can be quite lively in the wet.

Luckily the standard electronic stability control system allows the rear tyres to slide slightly before intervening and reining in over-exuberance. The ride, while firm, is not too jarring over bumps.