Ford Mustang To Face Fresh Competition From Japan’s Nissan 400Z

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The Ford Mustang pony car could face fresh new competition from Japan in 2020, in the form of a new Nissan Z-car that could sell as the “Nissan 400Z” here in the states. The Z-car, first launched in 1969, has been around nearly as long as Ford’s iconic Mustang. Today, like the Mustang, it has two doors, a sleek and sporty profile, and a muscled, normally-aspirated engine that sits over the front axle, driving the rear wheels.

The forthcoming Nissan 400Z might change some of that, however, with Autocar reporting that the next Z-car could use a forced-induction engine for the first time since the “Z32” 300ZX sold in the US from 1989 through 2002. The engine anticipated under the 400Z’s hood is a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 currently in use in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, where it produces up to 400 horsepower.

That’s not enough to touch the 2018 Ford Mustang GT’s 460 horsepower, but it’s more than enough to outgun the Mustang EcoBoost, which maxes out at 310 horsepower.

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Additionally, Autocar reports that a hotter “Nismo” version of the forthcoming Nissan 400Z is expected by 2021, using a tuned-up version of the same twin-turbo V6 to deliver 475 horsepower – as much as Ford’s new, 2019 Bullitt Mustang. Even more intriguing, the 400Z Nismo is expected to pack all-wheel drive.

Here in the US, the Nissan Z-car isn’t an icon on the same order as the Ford Mustang or its American-made rivals: the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. The current model – the 370Z – peaked in 2010 with 10,215 examples sold, according to CarSalesBase.com. That’s roughly an eighth of the 81,866 Mustangs sold here last year. We don’t foresee the future Nissan 400Z taking a very large bite out of the Mustang’s US sales when it launches in 2020 – nor can we see it threatening Mustang sales in Europe, where the Blue Oval icon has so far been a smashing success.

Where we can see the Nissan 400Z threatening the Ford Mustang, however, is at the racetrack – at least in “Nismo” guise. At roughly 3,700 pounds, the 2018 Ford Mustang GT is no lightweight, and the 400Z Nismo’s anticipated AWD system could help the Japanese sportscar claw its way out of corners with gusto – especially if the new car takes after the legendary GT-R.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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8 Comments

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  1. Here’s to hoping that Fords paired down platforms yield some weight loss. My biggest gripe about the Mustang right now is weight. Reducing weight improves almost every other aspect of the driving experience including accelerations, handling, top speed, etc.

  2. I personally would never consider buying a Z instead of an iconic brand like the Mustang. The Mustang will have a better resale value bar none.

  3. I pray to God that Nissan makes a 475+hp, AWD Nismo version of the Z. Just make sure it has Navigation and a kick-ass sound system as well. I also wouldn’t mind if they even added back seats and T-top, it really would open the market up for the guy who wants a Z but also has a small family.

  4. It is wonderful news. Now along with American competition there is going to be a new Nissan Z and a Toyota Supra. Next foreign nameplates will be banging on Ford for trucks, because they won’t have to worry about autos. Maybe Ford should realize the unintelligent choice of giving up all car markets in USA, but Mustang and some Focus that few will buy is a big mistake. The competition will not retreat but charge forward. Examples of big mistakes Isuzu, no longer making cars, who?.GM closing Pontiac, Hummer, and Oldsmobile and (not to mention the joke brand Saturn) losing so much market share. Then having to rid themselves of Opel. Both American mfrs Ford and GM, FCA is not American, if they keep up trend will not be competition in the future for anyone. Forgot to mention them deciding that they want to only worry about price and not volume, and gave the large volume auto rentals to Toyota, Nissan, Kia and etc.. Geniuses all. Stop making and selling cars in US and see where you are in 10 years.

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