2008 Nissan 350Z Roadster

It's good to spend some time in this model before its pending replacement, but it's definitely showing its age, particularly in some of the old-Nissan plastics. That said, the interior is helped by some of the improved plastics (on the door armrests, for instance) that were added a couple years back.

I love the way the 350Z drives: very good handling and balance, raw engine note, nice steering. Despite its age, the Z remains a very fun car. My top-down drive home late last night was hugely invigorating and a great way to stay awake after a long day at the office. Still, I'd probably pick the Z coupe over the roadster - I prefer the hardtop's smoother styling, the open Z exhibits a disappointing amount of cowl-shake (most two-seat roadsters have almost no cowl-shake), and the top operation is slow and requires that your foot remain on the brake pedal for its entire cycle.

I wouldn't turn down another chance to drive the 350Z convertible, but if I were buying, I'd be looking at a Porsche Boxster or a Chevy Corvette on the high end or a Mazda MX-5 or a Pontiac Solstice on the low end.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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