Nissan is giving its 350Z sports car a tickle-up for the 2006 model year.
There's understood to be a softening of the original car's rather austere interior, and minor changes to the exterior, including LED (light-emitting diode) taillights.
The six-speed manual version gets an uprated VQ35DE V6 engine - the same engine that powered the 350Z anniversary model. It develops 221kW, up from 206kW. The less powerful motor will continue to be fitted to automatic gearbox cars.
Nissan increased the engine power by improving induction efficiency with larger-diameter air ducts and retuning the valve timing. The 221kW is developed at 6400rpm and peak torque of 353Nm is developed at 4800rpm.
The 206kW engine which produces 363Nm of torque at 4800rpm.
Modifications to the suspension tuning and power steering are said to have improved the ride, handling and feedback to the driver.
All Touring models now receive larger 320mm front brake discs (up from 296mm) and 308mm rear brake discs (up from 292mm) for reduced brake fade and improved feel.
Styling changes to the 2006 350Z include a redesigned front bumper and new Xenon headlights, as well as the addition of high-brightness LED rear combination lights. The remodelled Z comes standard with newly styled 18-inch aluminium wheels on all grades.
The interior features greater use of authentic aluminium accents, soft-feel materials, steering wheel mounted radio controls, additional storage spaces, an optimised control switch layout.
Additional storage spaces include a cardholder, cargo net at the bottom of the front passenger's seat, illuminated beverage holders in both doors and larger door pocket openings for increased practicality for occupants.
All models feature composite carbon-fibre drive shaft, a traction control system, viscous limited-slip rear differential, electronic drive-by-wire throttle, dual outlet exhaust and the improved close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) is standard on Touring Roadster models and available as an option on the Touring Coupe.
Details of NZ market 2006 model year 350Zs are yet to be announced. The specifications quited in this story are for overseas markets, including Australia.
Z car tidbits
* The 350Z is what Nissan calls a global car, which means it's available virtually anywhere in the world.
Right now it's sold in more than 95 countries, and Nissan has sold a total of 160,000 globally since its release in July 2002.
As far as Z cars are concerned, Nissan has sold 1.6 million of them worldwide since the 240Z's initial release in 1969.
* Ah, rumours, where would we be without them. There's a persistent rumour that a V8-engined version of the Z car is in the wings - a 430Z or 420Z. It would use the US market Infiniti V8.