Ford Authority

Ford Mustang Mach 1 Beats 2023 Nissan Z In New Comparison Test

It’s become a common theme as of late: Ford products going head-to-head with a rival, and easily coming out on top. As Ford Authority recently reported, the 2021 Ford F-150 recently beat out the 2022 Toyota Tundra when evenly matched up against each other, and the Ford Maverick recently beat its chief rival, the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Now, Car and Driver pitted the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 against the 2023 Nissan Z, and while the Japanese-made performance car put up a fight, the Mach 1 outperformed it.

The Mustang Mach 1 features the Ford 5.0L V8 Coyote engine, making 480 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque under the hood of the pony car. Meanwhile, the Nissan Z makes use of a twin-turbocharged V6 powerhouse, producing 400 horsepower on the nose and 350 pound-feet of torque. This is the first area where the Mustang excels. C&D says that while the twin-turbo setup may be more fuel efficient, its sound doesn’t hold a candle to that of the Mustang. “It’s a roll-the-windows-down-and-seek-out-tunnels sound,” according to the publication.

As far as exterior dimensions go, the Mach 1 is much larger than the Nissan Z, featuring a wheelbase that’s 16 inches longer. Car and Driver says that the size of the Mach 1 isn’t a hindrance; it’s an advantage. The Mustang Mach 1 handles better at speed than the Nissan Z, and “hangs onto a corner like a spider monkey swinging through a forest,” in contrast to the Z, which “howls and floats once pushed.” Braking and cornering is easier in the Mach 1, while the Z “slides and complains” when the driver stands on the brake pedal. Furthermore, the Mach 1 pulls 1.06 g’s, where the Z only pulls .93 g.

Both vehicles, however, score high marks when it comes to exterior design, and the publication praised both of them for their sculpted exteriors. Inside is a little bit of a different story, however, as the Mustang Mach 1 interior is “old-fashioned” and “utilitarian.” The Nissan Z, meanwhile, is “uncluttered,” featuring a flashy two-tone colorway.

Overall, though, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 was praised for its track-worthy chassis, is screaming eight-cylinder powerhouse, and its comfortable seating, which were all plusses over its Japanese rival. This is a notable feat, considering the 2023 Nissan Z arrives about two years after Ford introduced the Mustang Mach 1.

We’ll have more on the new Mach 1 very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news, and non-stop Ford news coverage.

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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  1. what

    I strongly disagree

  2. Mark B

    As mentioned above, the Mustang has been in development since it’s introduction in 2015, and so has had many years of subtle improvements while the “Z” is just in it’s first year. Not that this is an excuse per se’, but it is true that gradual refinement has brought the Mustang to current, well balanced and track ready state.

  3. commbubba19

    Couple take aways for me. Nissan chose a super quiet muffler to give the Z more aggressive manual ratios to meet sound restrictions. Why Nissan didn’t go with an electronically adjustable valved exhaust system seems odd. Possibly cost savings and maybe related to chip availability. Both cars would sound even better with an aftermarket catback.
    The interior of the Mustang is not only old, but impractical. Camaro is worse in some regards but the Mustang is bad. The excuse that they are muscle/pony cars is no excuse for simply bad and impractical design for the sake of style.
    The Z unlike what Honda did to the Integra and Toyota did with the Supra actually looks like a good modern evolution of its pedigree. Props to Nissan there. I’m not too keen on the headlights and very rectangular grill. Also the silver stylized beauty mark from the top of the A-pillar to C-pillar is garrish. The car would look better if that just didn’t exist. I love the back end of both cars as they are both unique (not corporate face/butt) and pay homage to their history.
    I think we’ll see some awesome aftermarket and direction from Nissan with the Z.
    I hope Ford cleans up many of their mistakes with the S550 platform with the S650 one of which is permanently deleting the Getrag transmission and stick with the Tremec unit in the Mach 1.

  4. Marty Grubner

    The Mustang price is like 20K+ more compare to the new Z. On price the Z is a winner for the 400hp power.

  5. Jon

    Lol it’s a Ford website…..

  6. Woody

    You somehow forgot to mention that the Z outperformed it in all the speed and acceleration measurements.


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