2023 Nissan Z Performance vs. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

by HomeDecorBeauty

If this were an ’80s movie, the new 2023 Nissan Z would be beaten by our bully, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, in the first half of the movie. Then there’ll be a montage of Z lifting weights, running, doing high kicks — maybe wearing a cropped sweatshirt and some wristbands — and finally, it’ll be back for Ford and all of us with a lesson about persevering in the face of adversity lesson. The lesson will have to wait, because despite the Z’s valiant efforts, there aren’t enough terry-clothed sweatbands in the world to help it beat the muscular Mach 1’s deft moves and muffled soundtrack.

The Mustang plays the rich villain in this story, and a look at the pricing shows the money gulf between the two. You can get the entry-level Z for $41,015, but Mach 1 will cost you at least $54,595. (There’s probably more equality between the base Z and the $43,960 Mustang GT Premium.) Our test Nissan was the Performance model, which gets a number of valuable add-ons, including better brakes, a limited-slip rear differential , shiny aluminum pedals and wider performance tires. That adds about $10,000 to the cost of the Z, and our car pushes it up to $53,610 with illuminated rocker panels, luminous black and candy red paint and floor mats. Our Mustang came with the Mach 1 Handling Package, which bumped it up by $3750, but won with sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, a rear spoiler with cute Gurney kicks, and adjustable strut mounts out of its favor. It also wears funky red brake calipers for another $495, for a total of $60,740.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

Mach 1 and Z really should be friends because they actually have a lot in common. Each dates back to the same era (1969-70), and offers enough retro design cues that even non-automobiles will recognize it. There’s a cliché among the classic car folks that everyone has a Mustang story, and so does the Z. Often, people have both, recalling the good old days of Datsuns and Fords over the decades. In our modern version, both cars come with a six-speed manual transmission and promise at least 400 horses under the long hood for fond memories of the future. The Mustang’s 5.0-liter V-8 pumps out 480 ponies and 410 pound-feet of torque, just over halfway through the tachometer. Z claims exactly 400 horsepower from the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, with 350 pound-feet of power spread over a wide rev range from 1600 rpm to 5200 rpm.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

The Stang dwarfs the Nissan in every way—including weight, where the Z is nearly 300 pounds lighter (3507 to the Mustang’s 3793). It’s also 16 inches shorter than the Mach 1 and has a wheelbase nearly 7 inches shorter. Put the two cars together and you can’t even see the Z behind the Ford. This gives the Nissan the edge in the small challenges of everyday parking and maneuvering, but the Mach 1 offers more room in the trunk, and it feels more solid and stable when the speedometer needle goes up and the road starts to twist.

Second place:
Nissan Z Performance

High Point: Quick off the line, nice parking, compliant road car.
Unsupportable tires, plastic interior, tiny cargo room.

1st place:
ford mustang mach 1

High Point: Track-ready chassis, free-breathing V-8 soundtrack, comfortable seats.
Stiff ride, bland interior, great price.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

Mark Urbanocar and driver

Wheelbase and width (the Stang is almost 3 inches wider) are only a fraction of the Mustang’s advantage in high-speed maneuvering. Its adaptive dampers make a noticeable difference in how it responds on hill dives and ascents. The Z feels less submissive – it’s stiffer and more easily startled. But where Nissan is really interested is in the choice of tires. Not only is the Bridgestone Potenza S007 smaller, at 255/40R-19 and 275/35R-19, compared to the Mustang’s low profile and wider 305/30ZR-19 and 315/30ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, They just aren’t that good. Michelin is as sticky as a broken beehive, and while they tend to want to explore the imperfections of the pavement when you just want to go straight, it’s worth it because the Mach 1 hangs in the corners like a spider monkey swinging in a forest. It’s all It’s confidence, it’s all joy, it’s all rudeness to the laggards. The Z, pleasant at moderate speeds, howls and floats once pushed. Hit the brakes hard and the Mustang will stop and turn. Z slides and complains.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

Our skid pad and brake tests backed up initial impressions. The Mach 1 pulled a stomach-ache 1.06 g, while the Z couldn’t get past the 0.93 g circle. The Ford stopped at 70 mph in 138 feet, while the Nissan stopped at 166 feet. If your goal is to ruin a tourist’s day in the local canyon, the Mustang is the more intimidating machine, not only because it will show up in their rearview mirror like a summer storm, but because it will come with all the accompanying Thunder. Turbochargers may be an efficient way to generate horsepower, but it doesn’t sound like a free-breathing V-8. It’s the sound of opening a window and looking for a tunnel. Z isn’t even close. It was almost silent, and disappointingly, we feel sorry for the kids who asked to hear it overlooking. Their faces were distinct: “That’s it?” Watching the child, it would be a better car to sneak home late. You won’t be sneaking anywhere at Mach 1.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

There’s no clear winner for the exterior design, as there’s no denying that both are handsome machines that you’ll be proud to park in your driveway. Visually, we’d give Nissan more points for its interior, which is neat and attractive at first glance, in a gorgeous two-tone finish. The Mach 1 looks like a Mustang interior: dated and functional at this point. Settling down and getting to grips with things, though, Ford scored an unexpected win in material quality. The Z feels cheap, from the flimsy door handles to the S Mode Sport button, which for inexplicable reasons needs to be held down to activate Sport mode and rev-matching, even though it allows a quick press to do nothing. The inside of the Mustang may not look great, but at least everything feels solid, and if you want it to flash for you, it’s a menu option that can stay on or off until you change it again. The Mustang also makes up for the harsh ride quality with plush seats that cushion bumps while still providing support when cornering. The Nissan’s ride is more compliant, but its saddle is firmer, making the Mach 1 more comfortable overall.

Mark Urbanocar and driver

Mark Urbanocar and driver

While Ford appeared to have a runaway victory, Nissan did have a solid finish in the final race. Set these two up for drag racing, and the Mustang’s massive power and extra torque won’t help. Both cars offer launch control and lift-less shifting, each capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. But then the Z forwards through the quarter mile at a flat 13.0 and a Mach 1 run in 13.1 seconds. It’s not enough to make the Nissan the hero of the story, but it does give it some dignity, so the Mustang probably won’t push it for the rest of the school year. The lesson of this movie may be that you don’t always win popular kids, but if you have a rear-drive, stick-shift, retro-cool coupe, you’re going to have a lot of fun.



2023 Nissan Z Performance
Vehicle Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-seat, 2-door hatchback

Basic/Tested: $51,015/$53,610
Options: Passion Red Tricoat Paint, $1695; Lighting Threshold, $500; Floor Mats, $400

Twin-turbo and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 inches32997 cm3
Power: 400 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

6-speed manual

Suspension, front/rear: control arm/multi-link
Brakes, F/R: 14.0-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S007 B-Silent
F: 255/40R-19 96W
R: 275/35R-19 96W

Wheelbase: 100.4 inches
Length: 172.4 inches
Width: 72.6 inches
Height: 51.8 inches
Passenger capacity: 52 feet3
Cargo Volume: 7ft3
Curb weight: 3507 lbs

CD test results
60 mph: 4.5 seconds
100 mph: 10.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.0 seconds @ 111 mph
130 mph: 19.0 seconds
The results above omit the 0.3 second 1-foot rollout.
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 8.0 seconds
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 6.0 seconds
Top Speed ​​(Government Limited): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 166 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 331 ft
300ft Anti-Slip Pad: 0.93g

CD fuel economy
Observed: 17 mpg

EPA fuel economy
Combined/city/highway: 20/18/24 mpg

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Model: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, *2 seats, 2-door hatchback

Basic/Tested: $54,595/$60,740
Options: Mach 1 Handling Package – Pilot Sport Cup 2 Ultra Performance Tires, 19 x 10.5″ fr/19 x 11″ rr wheels, improved chassis tuning, adjustable front strut mounts, high performance front splitter, belt Gurney Flap Performance Rear Spoiler, $3750; Recaro Cloth Sports Bucket Seats, $1650; Red Brake Calipers, $495; Rear Seat Removed, $250

DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and head, porting and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 307 inches35038 cm3
Power: 480 hp @ 7250 rpm
Torque: 410 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

6-speed manual

Suspension, front/rear: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.0-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
F: 305/30ZR-19 (98Y)
R: 315/30ZR-19 (100Y)

Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length: 188.5 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Height: 54.3 inches
Passenger capacity: 55 feet3
Cargo Volume: 14 feet3
Curb weight: 3793 lbs

CD test results
60 mph: 4.5 seconds
100 mph: 11.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.1 seconds @ 108 mph
130 mph: 21.3 seconds
The results above omit the 0.3 second 1-foot rollout.
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 11.0 seconds
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 11.1 seconds
Top speed (claimed by manufacturer): 168 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 138 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 284 ft
300ft Anti-Slip Pad: 1.06g

CD fuel economy
Observed: 14 mpg

EPA fuel economy
Combined/city/highway: 17/14/22 mpg

CD Test instruction

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