While the G35 and the 350z may share some similarities, the devil lies in the details. Once you get behind the wheel of both of these vehicles, you’ll see exactly what sets the two apart.
Both cars are based on Nissan’s FM platform, however, one was meant to appeal to the luxury car market and the other was meant for motoring enthusiasts.
If you’re choosing between the two cars, it’s important to know how they function and what purpose they are geared toward.
In this guide, we’ll highlight the similarities and stark differences between the Nissan 350z and the Infiniti G35 as well as their part compatibility.
A Brief History of Both Cars
There’s a story behind every car, and both the G35 and 350z live up to theirs.
The Infiniti G35 succeeded the G20, and the Nissan 240z was a 1999 concept car with an underpowered engine, so Nissan redesigned it and fit a more powerful engine — naming it the 350z. But of course, there’s a lot more to it.
The Infiniti G-series was based on the Nissan Primera and featured a line of compact executive cars. In fact, the Infiniti G35 was a rebadged version of the Nissan Skyline V35 and sold in Europe, America, and several other regions under the Infiniti brand.
The 2003 model was available as a coupe and sedan, and also received the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award.
The following year, the G35 received a 6-speed manual transmission for the sedan version, and the 2006 model got new headlights and taillights.
Infiniti decided to pack a more powerful engine in the 2007 model, and the 2008 coupe version got a redesign as well. Then, in 2008, Infiniti started to shift its focus toward the G37.
Launched in 2002, the Nissan 350z entered the market with high expectations due to the raging popularity of the 300ZX and the iconic history of Z cars from the Nissan and Datsun brands.
When the 350z sold in the United States, Nissan offered it in five different options:
At the time of its release, the Track model was the only option available in Europe.
The car boasted a 3.5-liter engine with 287 whp and took about 5.3 seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph. Nissan introduced the roadster in 2004 and a 35th anniversary model in 2005. The car’s first major update was in 2006.
The Japanese manufacturer offered the 287 hp VQ35DE engine in every trim level that had a manual transmission. Some of the other changes were LED near lights, bi-xenon projectors, a revised front fascia, and speed-sensitive steering.
For the 2007 model, Nissan updated the engine so that it could produce 306 hp, and they also redesigned the hood with a bulge to accommodate the raised deck of the new engine. The final 2008 Fairlady Z Type F model was for the Japanese market, made available as a roadster and a coupe.
G35 vs 350z: Specs and Similarities
It’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to choose the G35 for the simple fact that you get many of the 350z’s specs wrapped into a more budget-friendly alternative. In fact, apart from the rear seats, the Infiniti G35 and Nissan 350z are virtually identical.
So what are these similarities that both cars share and how do they stack up when it comes to performance? Let’s find out.
Infiniti’s earlier models had an engine producing 260 to 280 hp, while the later models produced 306 hp. The increase in power was a result of minor changes throughout the years, and many G35 fanatics suspected that the car could only produce 300 hp.
When the 350z came out, its engine produced 287 whp and during a later update, 306 whp. So, throughout the years, the 350z provided more power than the G35. It was only toward the end of production that the Nissan 350z was no longer faster than the G35.
Both cars had exactly the same manual and automatic transmissions, though the automatics had variable timing on the intake side. The manual transmissions, however, had variable valve timing (VVT) on the exhaust and intake side.
If we compare the 2008 models, both featured a 3.5-liter V6 engine, delivering 306 horsepower and 268 ft-lb torque. Unsurprisingly, both cars were rear-wheel-drive.
However, Infiniti lovers who wanted an all-wheel drive had the option to get the G35x sedan.
When it comes to handling, neither car disappoints. But if you really dig into the tiny details, you’ll find that the Nissan handles slightly better than the Infiniti. It’s no surprise why — the 350z was designed to serve the track where great handling is crucial.
Because of the 350z’s stiffer suspension, you can feel bumps more than you would in a G35. Installing coilovers is one way to fine-tune the ride quality. But if you enjoy your fair share of spirited driving, then Nissan’s handling will appeal to you more.
When it comes to cruising, however, it’s the G35’s handling that takes the cake. Its soft suspension leaves you feeling stable at high speeds and it’s less noisy inside than the 350z.
Some G35 owners feel that its weight affects the handling, so they opt for lightweight aftermarket parts like racing seats, carbon fiber body panels, and wheels.
Both cars have a 20-gallon tank. The difference, however, lies in their consumption.
The standard fuel economy for the Nissan is better than Infiniti’s because you can get 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. With Infiniti, you’ll get 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
Just remember that with a rev-happy speedster that is the 350z, you aren’t going to want to go easy on the throttle. That’s going to inevitably leave you with higher fuel consumption unless you have incredible willpower.
So, how do both these cars fare when you put your foot on the gas? If you’re used to driving fast, neither of these will blow your socks off.
Don’t get us wrong — these cars are quite fast, but the acceleration is nothing to write home about.
So while there’s no doubt that the VQ35DE and VQ35HR perform just as well as you’d expect, if you want more power, find yourself a 2008 Nissan 350z.
The same goes for Infiniti. While the G35s are no strangers to performance, you’ll notice a significant power difference between the earlier and newer models.
Both the G35 and 350z are reliable cars that will serve you well as long as they get the maintenance they deserve. Of course, regular servicing is important, especially if you’re going to use the 350z on the track.
To make sure that you don’t get tricked into buying a clunker, try to test out these cars in cooler temperatures while their engine is cold. That’s more likely to expose issues than when they’re warm.
If you want to inspect the bodywork, make sure you inspect the car when there is no rain, since this can hide some paint issues that would be visible when conditions are dry.
Surprisingly when it comes to reliability, the G35 outshines the 350z but only marginally so. It’s common for them to give fewer hassles and survive longer due to the nature that most owners drive their cars less aggressively as compared to the racing style of the 350z.
Some of the differences between the G35 and 350z are evident, but once you closely analyze them, you’ll find significant disparities.
It’s these differences that make it evident to track junkies and sports car lovers as to which one they should choose.
One of the key differences between the two cars is the exterior. Their styling characteristics are the same, but the Z-series is known for its short rear and long nose. You’ll notice that the G35 has some of Z’s styling, but its rear is visibly larger.
Obviously, the 4-door sedan version of Infiniti’s G35 is a much different look, which some people love for building a car that is “long and low”.
Determining which car has a better exterior comes down to your personal preferences and more importantly, what you plan to do with the car. If you want a track car, then the 350z’s embodies the look of a sports car and has a great side profile and front end.
The Infiniti is longer, higher, and its ground clearance is 5.3 inches, whereas Nissan only has a 4.8-inch ground clearance.
Apart from the exterior, the major difference between the two cars is their interior. Because Nissan built the 350z to look like a sports car, they only really fitted two tight seats, plenty of gauges, and very few luxury items. Those are typical features of a car meant for the track or cruising fast on weekends.
You’ll also find that Nissan’s interior is smaller than Infiniti’s, and taller drivers will sometimes struggle to fit inside.
The G35 is also sporty, but in a mature way. It looks less suitable for the track than the 350z because it has fewer gauges, more luxury features, and more comfortable seating.
Besides the seating differences, the Infiniti provides more front-seat leg and head-room. You’ll also enjoy more shoulder and hip room in the G35.
The trunk size is just another testament to the fact that the Nissan was meant for the race track. Infiniti’s truck size is pretty much double the size of Nissan’s — 13.5 ft, whereas Nissan’s is 6.8 ft.
Street vs Track
Your terrain preference will play a big role when it comes down to choosing between the two cars. If long drives away from city roads are what you want, then the G35 is going to be your first choice. Track enthusiasts, on the other hand, will love the 350z.
Just look at the interior, handling, and suspension of the Nissan 350z, and you’ll see what we mean. In almost every area, the 350z was specifically designed for the track.
Since the G35 is a more mature version, you’ll still get good performance from the car, but it’s more suitable for the street. If you’re really passionate about pushing it to its limits, however, you’ll find a long list of mods that will improve the G35’s performance.
While the two cars may share many similarities, their price is not one of them.
The Nissan 350z is more expensive than the G35 and this has a lot to do with its market perception. Most racing enthusiasts will opt for the 350z over the G35 because they feel it’s a classic, like the last real sports car that came out.
In a nutshell, the appeal of the 350z is what helped it maintain such a strong demand even after all these years.
Because Infiniti isn’t as popular and the demand for it is lower, it’s priced accordingly. In line with this, when comparing 350z vs G35 insurance, you’ll almost always find an Infiniti G35 is cheaper to insure.
If you feel that the Nissan 350z is better overall, then you might not mind paying more to get a car that race junkies deem to be a future classic.
G35 and 350z: Part Compatibility
Given that both cars come from the same manufacturer, many parts are similar if not identical and hence interchangeable. These include:
- Brake parts
- Engine (from the block to intake kits, forced-induction kits to spark plugs)
- Shock absorbers and springs
- Suspension components such as sway bars, camber adjustment arms and so on. Coilovers will bolt on and springs will fit, but do keep in mind that ideal spring weights vary between these cars.
A good trick is to get the Infiniti part number and call up your Nissan dealer to see if it is in their system. If it’s an interchangeable part, the Infiniti and Nissan part numbers will be the same.
Nissan 350z buyers were thrilled to have an option between an automatic and manual transmission since the car debuted. With the G35, manual transmission was an option that was not always available.
If you opt for an earlier Nissan model up until about 2006, then you’ll want to do a thorough inspection of the manual gearbox as they are known to have some issues. When you’re on the road, keep an ear out for any grinding or whirring sounds at low and high rpm. Make sure that the shifting is smooth too.
Later 350z models featured the superior CD009 gearbox, which is a popular upgrade with early model owners, so they’re a bit pricey nowadays.
One great thing, however, is that the G35’s transmission can last anywhere between 130,000 to 180,000 miles. The G35 had a RE5R05A when the car first came out, and that was considered advanced for its time.
With proper care, you can expect the clutch to last around 40,000 miles, which applies to both cars. It’s possible that you may burn out 350z’s clutch sooner due to all the quick and frequent stomping on the clutch from racing.
The good thing about the clutch on both of the cars is that they’re decently priced. It’s possible that you might need to replace the flywheel as well if the clutch has been slipping for some time.
You’ll find the road to be a bit bumpier in the 350z because the suspension is lower and stiffer than the G35’s. That’s one of the reasons why the bushings on your 350z tend to wear out.
If you’re going to use your 350z for racing or drifting, it’s a good idea to use polyurethane bushes. You can also use solid bushes on the track, but they can make your car a nightmare to use as a daily driver.
To get the best performance on the track, you should seriously consider installing coilovers on your 350z. Coilovers are available for the G35 as well, but many owners opt for lowering springs as they just want their car to look nicer, without needing to fine-tune their suspension geometry.
The Right One For You
The G35 and 350z share several similarities and have a few key differences. Choosing between the two cars comes down to your driving preference.
If you want a sports car that feels at home on the track, then the 350z is your ride. Enthusiasts who want a sporty car that can also road trip with the best with will find the G35 to be a delight.
Sure, you can say that both are sports cars, but their differences have a lot to do with their character. Look closely and you’ll see that the G35 is basically a 350z wearing a tuxedo.
It’s because of Nissan’s superior popularity that you can expect the 350z to be pricier. And if you’re buying a VQ35HR car, remember that it might be worth comparing a 370z with the 350z as they are becoming cheaper too.
We’d love to know which of the two cars is your favorite and why, so don’t forget to leave a comment below!
Photo credit: Big thanks to Casey Morgan’s Bagged 350z and G35 Terrorize L.A. video for the photos in this post.