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Nissan's 350Z 'Saturday Special'

2006-07-10 11:27

Nissan's 350Z GT-S

A small team of Nissan development engineers have transformed a 350Z into a highly tuned 'Saturday Special'.

Performance driven

Their creation is called the GT-S, the supercharged super coupe - a performance-focused version of Nissan's acclaimed 'Z-car' and is designed to appeal to enthusiastic 350Z owners who simply want more.

Although boasting a power hike and a substantially modified chassis, the GT-S is far from being a stripped out racing car with a rock hard ride and a peaky power delivery.

Nissan's Communications Director Wayne Bruce says: "The GT-S has been created as a real car not an ornament.

"We wanted to build a 'Club Special' that could still be used to commute to work during the week but would provide added thrills at the weekend: a weekday workhorse and a weekend warrior in one distinctive package."

More power

The principal changes made to turn the 350Z into the GT-S, center on its engine and chassis. Using a supercharger installation from Swiss manufacturers Novidem, power has increased by more than 25% from 223kW to 284 kW.

Performance gains are expected to include a one second cut in the benchmark 0-100km/h time (5.8 seconds for the standard 350Z) with 2.5 seconds slashed from the 0-160km/h time.

And it sounds better, too, thanks to an electronically controlled by-pass valve that enriches the exhaust note at a pre-determined engine speed.

NTCE engineers have undertaken the suspension changes. Working closely with specialists from Bilstein, the changes concentrate on optimising road performance, with improvements in both handling ability and ride comfort, particularly on British 'B' roads. Wider wheels and tyres complete the chassis alterations.

A wind tunnel developed body kit from the German firm Strosek, not only gives the all-black GT-S a distinctive look, but also improves the 350Z's aerodynamic performance with increased front and rear down force at high speed.

The package is completed by a NVH pack which makes the GT-S even more civilized than the standard 350Z.

So will the GT-S ultimately become more than a weekend project by a group of mavericks?

Nissan is saying nothing officially, though insiders say that the GT-S concept is being taken into serious consideration.

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