Over the last few years, Nissan's VQ-series engines have proven themselves as some of the strongest and most reliable V-6s on the market; they're the workhorses in the entire Z and G lineup of vehicles. Subsequently, the engines have become a favorable tuning platform. However, because the VQs perform so well out of the box - VQ35DE: 287 hp (early version), 300 hp (later version); VQ35HR: 306 hp - they're inherently hard to extract more power out of. That hasn't stopped the aftermarket companies at all, though, including Stillen, which has been building parts for the VQ engines since they were introduced in 2003.
Manufacturing an intake for a 350Z isn't difficult - extracting power from it is. That's why Stillen tested many different tubing sizes and combinations before it finally had a dual intake system for the '07 Nissan 350Z that the company was happy with. The Generation 3 long tube dual intake kit promises to produce significant horsepower gains without triggering that pesky check engine light, an all-too-common problem after installing intakes on a 350Z. Using varied tubing diameters and optimal air filter placement inside the front bumper, the Gen 3 intake kit feeds the engine with the maximum amount of air possible. It also looks exceptionally good, with its polished piping and black rubber couplings versus the stock rubber piping and plastic airboxes.
Results According to Stillen, its tests have netted gains of up to 20 whp from the intakes alone - a lofty claim. Considering older VQ35DE engines put down significantly less with just an intake, we were anxious to see if the dual throttle body VQ35HR was undertuned from the factory.
Before we could install the Gen 3 intakes, we needed to lay down a baseline number. The result was a bit surprising, as the VQ35HR put down a healthy 272 whp and 241 ft-lbs of torque. This made us even more skeptical about making big power numbers with just intakes.
Installation took about two hours and required removing the front bumper. The intakes themselves don't take long to install - removing all the factory bits and reinstalling them takes up the majority of the time. Expect a solid half-day or more if you aren't familiar with the car. The Z's ECU requires some adjustment time to the greater airflow from the intakes, so we went for a 10-minute drive that included some full pulls to redline. After that, it was back to the rollers to see what kind of gains would be seen.
Without skipping a beat, the 350Z put down a solid 16-whp and 7.5-ft-lbs gain, run after run. A total of eight dyno runs were made to ensure the ECU calibrations were permanent and didn't vary. The final numbers were a healthy 288 whp and 248 ft-lbs of torque. The engine really opens up in the upper rpm range now and also made decent power gains in the midrange. Without any other modifications, this 350Z is 10 ponies shy of 300 whp. It's now making the same power as a stock 370Z.
Considering the $522 price tag and 16-whp gain, the Generation 3 long tube intakes seem to be the best bang for the buck out there for '07-08 Nissan 350Z owners. Best of all, they're Carb pending, making them a legal upgrade for the street. And did we mention the awe-inspiring sound the intakes produce at full throttle is worth the upgrade alone? Consider the horsepower a bonus.
'07 Nissan 350Z
3.5-liter VQ35HR naturally aspirated V-6
With Generation 3 Intakes
+ 16.1 whp
+ 7.5 ft-lbs tq
Before 272.4 whp & 241.4 ft-lbs tq
After 288.5 whp & 248.8 ft-lbs tq