Spotlight: Exploring the Tokyo Drift 350Z

The Tokyo Drift 350Z was the iconic villain car of the movie, with its aggressive styling and artwork it was the perfect DK car. We pop the hood on this wild Z.

tokyo drift 350z

Introducing the 350Z

The Nissan 350Z, also known as the Nissan Fairlady Z, is a two door, rear wheel drive sports car that was produced by Japanese automaker Nissan that came into production from the years 2002 till 2009.

The car offered an exhilarating driving experience and was one of the first models to bring back the traditional front-engine, rear-wheel drive drivetrain to Nissan’s sports car lineup.

Over the span of its production, it became one of the most recognizable and respected sports cars on the market, and it continues to be a popular choice among enthusiasts till date.

In terms of design, the Nissan 350Z was a different from the previous sports car designs and was heavily inspired by the sleek and aerodynamic lines of its predecessors.

The car’s long hood and short rear bumper gave it a muscular and aggressive look, while its flowing lines provided sleek and aerodynamic looks. The interior of the 350Z was also a nice place to be, with high quality build materials, comfortable and supportive seats, and a functional layout designed to enhance the driving experience.

History of the 350Z

The Nissan 350Z has a rich and storied history. Originally introduced in 2002, the 350Z was designed to replace Nissan’s long-running 300ZX sports car. Over its seven-year production run, the 350Z gained a lot of worldwide popularity, with the latest Z going on to be a darling in the drifting community.

The 350Z was the first model based on the Nissan Z car line to feature a front-engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) layout since the 300ZX was discontinued in 1996.

This layout, combined with a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, provided strong acceleration, sharp handling, and a reasonably compliant ride.

300zx tokyo drift 350z

The 350Z was well-received by enthusiasts and the automotive press, who praised its high performance engine, advanced suspension system, and sleek and aerodynamic design.

In 2009, the Nissan 350Z was discontinued and replaced by the Nissan 370Z, which continued the tradition of offering an exciting and dynamic FR driving experience.

Even today, the 350Z still remains a popular choice among car enthusiasts, who appreciate its powerful engine, advanced suspension system, and iconic design. It also helps that prices have fallen, and the Z33 is now failing into the “bargain” performance car category.

Tokyo Drift

Tokyo Drift is a 2006 action movie, part of The Fast and the Furious film franchise that was directed by Justin Lin. The film follows the story of Sean Boswell, a young American street racer who is sent to the city of Tokyo to live with his father, following a series of incidents in the United States.

In Tokyo, Sean becomes embroiled in the city’s underground racing scene, which is dominated by the charismatic and dangerous Takashi. Takashi’s drift races take place both in a parking lot and in Tokyo’s mountain canyons.

The film is set in the vibrant streets of Tokyo, providing a visual feast for the audience.

morimoto tokyo drift 350z

The racing scenes are well choreographed and feature intense, high-speed chases through the city’s busy streets, showcasing the film’s innovative approach to racing scenes.

The movie producers also decided to explore the cultural differences between the United States and Japan, providing a unique perspective on the lives of young people in Tokyo, in between the crazy neon lights.

Nissan 350Z was featured in the movie, driven by the character ‘Drift King’ Takashi and played a significant role in the film’s famous drifting scenes.

This star car, amongst other cars in the movie, was also featured prominently in several key scenes and was used as Takashi’s primary mode of transportation, therefore, it gained a lot of popularity globally.

Unfortunately, there was no sign of Paul Walker in this movie.

Reviewing the Tokyo Drift 350Z

The Nissan 350Z used in the movie has a pretty distinctive body style with unique vinyl artwork and is likely equipped with a full twin turbo setup to drastically increase horsepower and torque. A Nismo twin-plate clutch was probably used to handle the added power from the turbo system.

side view tokyo drift 350z

The Tokyo Drift 350z had twin exhausts for a more aggressive look and sound. The front end of the car had a wide body kit for a more aggressive and aerodynamic look. The fenders of the car were flared to accommodate wider wheels and tires.

A Veilside version carbon fiber hood was used to reduce weight and add style to the car. A carbon fiber rear spoiler was added to improve aerodynamics and add style to the car.

The car was equipped with Veilside 19-inch wheels for a more aggressive look. The interior of the car was fitted with Sparco racing seats for improved comfort and safety during high-speed driving. A nitrous bottle was installed in the Tokyo Drift 350Z to give the car a boost in horsepower when needed (even Forza shows this!).

forza screenshot morimoto tokyo drift 350z

Racing harnesses and a custom roll cage were installed to keep the driver and passengers securely in their seats. Pretty basic stuff that most F&F lovers must know already.

Tokyo Drift 350Z Powertrain

The Tokyo Drift 350z, shown in the movie, in its stock form is powered by a 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine that produced 287 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of torque. This engine was coupled with an option of either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission, which allowed drivers to choose the transmission that best suited their driving style. Top speed was 155 mph, limited.

The VQ35DE engine was used in several other Nissan vehicles other than the 350Z. This engine was designed solely to deliver strong performance and was known for its reliability, smoothness, and high-revving capabilities.
One of the key features of the VQ35DE engine was its Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) design, which enabled high-revving performance and a high level of power output.

The engine was equipped with Nissan’s revolutionary Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) technology, which improved throttle response and reduced emissions, making the car fun-to-drive and also improving its economy.

Additionally, the engine used an electronically controlled throttle, which provided quick yet smooth throttle control.
The impressive power figures of the VQ35DE were more than enough to deliver brisk performance. Furthermore, the engine was well-known for its reliability.

The engine was built with high-quality materials and was designed to be low-maintenance, which meant that it required fewer repairs and was more reliable in the long run.

All in all, with its high-revving capabilities, performance, and reliability, the VQ35DE engine remains one of the best engines ever produced by Nissan, and has played a vital role in making the 350Z outperform other cars of its league.

Tokyo Drift 350Z Specifications

The 350Z didn’t just have an impressive drivetrain; it was also loaded with some neat features. The car boasted a double wishbone suspension system, resulting in a well-controlled ride. For improved traction and handling, an optional limited-slip differential was available as well.

The 350Z’s sleek and aerodynamic body style was characterized by its long hood and short deck, which was a signature of the Tokyo Drift 350Z. The car came in several colors, including Super Black, Silverstone, Magnetic Black, and Sunset Orange.

As a compact sports car, the Tokyo Drift 350Z measured 167.1 inches in length, 70.7 inches in width, and 51.8 inches in height. It had a wheelbase of 104.3 inches and a curb weight of 3,232 pounds.

The interior of the 350Z featured premium quality materials and modern features of the time. Power windows, mirrors, and a stereo system were standard, while higher-end models like the 350Z Touring offered leather interiors, Bose premium sound systems, and touchscreen infotainment with navigation.

There were different specifications available in different regions; USA, UK and Japan all had different specs.

interior tokyo drift 350z

These are just a few of the key specifications of the Nissan 350Z. With its powerful engine, advanced suspension system, and high-quality interior and exterior features, the 350Z was designed to provide an exciting and dynamic driving experience that was unmatched by any other sports car of its generation.

Variants of the 350Z

Several different trim levels were introduced over the years, each of which offered a different level of performance and features. The range toping models, such as the 350Z Touring and the 350Z NISMO, offered additional features, such as larger wheels, sportier suspension, and top quality interior materials.

The base model, 350Z Coupe, offered a 300 horsepower engine, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission. 350Z Roadster came with the same drivetrain as a soft top convertible.

white nismo tokyo drift 350z

The 350Z Enthusiast was a relatively low budget variant that added a few more features like cruise control and aluminum pedals. The 350Z Track, on the contrary was a tuned variant with lightweight wheels, sport brakes, and a limited-slip differential.

The 350Z Touring and Grand Touring models offered a mix of luxury and performance features, including a Bose audio system, sports suspension, and heated leather seats.

The 350Z NISMO and NISMO RS were purely performance based, tuned versions that included a revised suspension, aerodynamic body kit, and a more powerful engine.

350Z Mods, Upgrades, and Tunings

The Nissan 350Z was a popular sports car that was well-suited to modifications, upgrades, and tuning. There were a variety of modifications that could be made to improve performance, enhance the driving experience, or add custom touches to the car.

A few popular modifications commonly made to the Nissan 350Z included performance upgrades including things like cold air intakes, exhaust systems, and performance chips, which could improve acceleration, increase the horsepower, and torque.

Turbochargers and superchargers are also available to further increase the performance. We have a whole section of tuning guides on the 350z – right here, which highlights all the mods listed above.

Another popular type of modification was suspension upgrades. This could include things like lowering springs, sway bars, and strut braces, which will improve handling and stability.

With increased power, brakes were another area that many 350Z owners had to upgrade. This included things like high-performance brake pads and rotors which could improve braking performance significantly. The calipers themselves are pretty beefy, so you will not need to upgrade them.

Another upgrade was with the wheels and tires. Many owners opted for larger wheels or lighter, high-performance tires to improve handling and grip. The 350Z interior upgrades included aftermarket gauges, custom shift knobs, and bucket seats, which could improve the overall look and feel of the interior, and add to the cockpit look.

Generally, the Nissan 350Z suited well to modifications, upgrades, and tuning.

There were a variety of modifications that could be made to improve performance, enhance the driving experience, or add custom touches to the car. Whether you were looking to improve acceleration, handling, or braking, or simply wanted to add a personal touch to your car, the Nissan 350Z is an ideal platform for customizing your car.

Was the 350Z reliable?

The Nissan 350Z is generally considered to be a reliable JDM sports car, particularly for its price and performance.

However, like any car, it is subject to certain issues and problems that may arise with time. Some routine wear and tear and some known faults. Nonetheless, routine and preventative maintenance remains a key factor that can impact the reliability of the Nissan 350Z.

The 350Z requires regular upkeep in order to keep it in good condition. Make sure that you keep that VQ filled up with fresh oil and oil filters. The suspension “banana” arms are also a known weak point as when the bushes go, the whole arm quite often needs to be replaced, which can be expensive to do.

Rust is also a consideration on 350Zs, they quite often rust on the rear sills and rear subframe. Make sure that these areas are clean and any rust has been properly repaired and sealed.

On the whole, many owners have reported few problems with their vehicles over time. The VQ35DE engine that powered the 350Z was best known for its reliability and performance, therefore the car had dependable reliability.

I owned a 150k mile 350Z for around a year, and other then some rust issues and the rear hatch struts failing, it was a reliable car, even with such high mileage.

Wrapping up the Tokyo Drift 350Z

Today, the Nissan 350Z is considered a classic sports car and is widely regarded as one of the best sports cars of its generation.

ffering a blend of performance, style, and versatility, with a wide range of variants available, including convertible, luxury, and performance-focused models, the 350Z had something to offer for a many buyers.

Its powerful engine, rear-wheel drive, and well-balanced handling made it a popular choice for sports car enthusiasts. Although production of the Nissan 350Z has ended, it remains a beloved and sought-after vehicle, a testament to its timeless design and driving experience.

For those looking for a thrilling sports car, the Nissan 350Z is a classic that will continue to be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

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Joe is an avid writer and car enthusiast. When he's not cruising the streets alongside his friends in his Nissan Silvia S15, he's drifting on his VR racing simulator.

Joe's passion for cars is always on display. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the automotive industry, he hopes his writing conveys his excitement and knowledge of cars and games.

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When he's not behind the wheel or at his keyboard, he's likely daydreaming of his ultimate ride - the legendary Lexus LFA.

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