Turbonetics' Tyler Tanaka was unimpressed as I throttled the company's 350Z development car around a makeshift tri-oval in the City of Industry, Calif. "Come on, drive it like you stole it," he quipped. In my experience, tearing away from a stoplight is more a test of driveline durability than the merit of a turbo kit and the tuning it takes to make it work in the real world. My M.O. is to roll onto the throttle quickly, say in third gear. This allows me to get a good feel for the spool-up of the turbo, the pull of the engine all the way through a complete powerband cycle, and I can better detect any tuning hiccups. To my credit though I did hit triple digits on more than one occasion.
The Turbonetics 350Z single-turbo kit rocks; giving the sultry 350Z a new lease on life by way of 8 pounds of boost. The spool-up characteristics of the ceramic ball-bearing center section are excellent, and the 60-1 compressor wheel deals out the boost in an authoritative manner. At cruising speeds it feels like the turbo is lurking just under the gas pedal, and with little coaxing the spooling begins. The more aggressive the right foot, the more aggressive the thrust. Be careful winding this mad dog up; the boosted VQ35DE is truly addictive.
The centerpiece of the kit is the T3/T4 60-1 hybrid turbo. But we must point to the innovative placement of the turbo and the use of the stock exhaust manifolds. Twin-turbo kits in the market for the 350Z place the turbos way down low, virtually out of sight. The Turbonetics setup positions the turbo up high, just rearward of the driver's side headlamp so you can see what you're paying for. The system utilizes the factory exhaust manifolds, which saves installation time and cuts down on the cost of the kit.
Boost is routed from the passenger side header via a crossover pipe that joins with the driver's side header outlet and feeds the turbine housing. Turbonetics reports that the factory exhaust system made more power than an aftermarket setup, but the company plans to try one or two more exhaust systems.
In our Dyno Cell testing the 350Z pumped out a generous 365.6 whp at 8 psi, the most we have seen from an "as-delivered" boost package for the Z. On the torque side we witnessed 355.3 lb-ft at peak. But looking beyond the peak we were impressed by the torque curve as it eclipsed 300 lb-ft at 3600 rpm and stayed there until the pull ceased at around 6300 rpm. Checking the power curve the VQ35DE belted out 250 hp to the wheels at a low 4000 rpm and tracked predictably to its peak. The kit is tuned well with the enhanced ECU providing a rock solid 11:1 air/fuel ratio throughout the run.
At $5,595 the Turbonetics kit is a boosted bargain that delivers big power, a reliable-looking air/fuel curve and an easy installation regime. It's a win-win scenario.