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inside line mustang GT vs 370z 03.11.09

2010 Ford Mustang vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z Comparison Test on Inside Line no surprise here.. When we last left the 2009 Nissan 370Z, it had just laid a drubbing on

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default inside line mustang GT vs 370z 03.11.09

2010 Ford Mustang vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z Comparison Test on Inside Line


no surprise here..


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When we last left the 2009 Nissan 370Z, it had just laid a drubbing on BMW's little 135i. We then proclaimed, "The 2009 Nissan 370Z raises the standard for the sport coupe segment to a new level of affordable excellence."

Time to get more serious. It's V8 time. Who's in? Let's see, no Camaro, and a Challenger is not available (don't ask), so that leaves the freshly updated 2010 Ford Mustang GT, a car whose very existence is predicated upon wallet-friendly performance.


Perhaps a reinvigorated veteran can take down the newly crowned king. The particulars might differ four seats versus two, V8 versus V6 but the mission is the same. And the 2009 Nissan 370Z and 2010 Ford Mustang GT are priced closer than you might think.

Line 'Em Up
We tested a 2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe outfitted with the Track Pack, which includes revised dampers, a shorter 3.73:1 axle ratio, a limited-slip differential, better brakes, 19-inch wheels, wider summer performance tires and a few suspension underpinnings pilfered from the Shelby GT500. Add in comfort items and other non-performance options and our tester rings up to $34,775.


As before, our 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring stands in the opposite corner, fresh from our long-term test fleet. It wears the Sport package, which adds bigger brakes, a manual transmission with rev-matching shifting capability, a limited-slip diff, and 19-inch wheels and wider rubber. Our 370Z is also equipped with a $1,850 navigation system that Ford offers but our test car lacks, and its MSRP just crests $40 large at $40,320.

Bottom line, we've essentially gathered the most expensive versions of both cars. Not by choice, it just worked out that way. But they can both be bought for less, much less, and with all their good go-fast parts. In other words, there are cheaper versions of these cars that will perform the same as these loaded examples, only without a few comfort extras. The base price on a Mustang GT Premium is $30,995, while a 370Z starts at $29,930. Add the Track Package to the Mustang and your MSRP is $32,494. Add the Sport Package to the Z and you're looking at $33,625.


But is the new 370Z really worth more than the new Mustang in an economy as brutal as this one? We aimed to find out.


The Light Goes Green
Go ahead; pick a car, any car. Both of them will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds (4.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). Similarly, the Z runs the quarter in 13.5 seconds at 103.7 mph and the Mustang a nearly identical 13.5 at 102.9 mph. If their straight-line performance was any closer we'd have to start splitting atoms to measure the difference. And before you ask, we filled the Mustang with premium (91 octane) fuel, which Ford says fattens up the torque curve without affecting the peak.

The difference between the two lies in the power delivery. With better gearing and less weight, the 3,374-pound 370Z's speed sneaks up on you. The 7,500-rpm reach of its 3.7-liter V6 is far around the tachometer dial, and there are no flat spots in the power delivery all the way up to the 332-horsepower peak at 7,000 rpm.


However, the coarse sounds and vibration of this V6 mean you have to grit your teeth and force yourself to keep the throttle floored past 6,000 rpm. Like other Nissans equipped with this powertrain, the din is accompanied by a gearlever that sizzles frantically with high-frequency vibration. We're fans of earlier iterations of Nissan's VQ-Series V6, but the 370Z's VQ37HR could use some finishing school.

If you're cynical, the 2010 Ford Mustang's three-valve 4.6-liter V8 can be thought of as a weaponized version of an engine that dates back nearly a decade and a half (though not that much further than the VQ-Series V6, really). Yet this mill doesn't betray its age willingly. The benefits of continuous improvement are evident in its tractability and willingness to run happily on regular-grade 87 octane fuel.


The 315-hp Mustang's V8 doesn't two-by-four you in the chest when you mat the throttle off idle and then fall on its face, wheezing like some pony car of old. Instead, the torque is soft down low, stacking up progressively as the revs pile on. It needs to be above 3,000 rpm before the V8 starts cashing the checks written by its intake note.


And it is some intake note Ford has done a stupendous job of replicating the gloriously guttural bark of 1960s-era Mustangs, and it renders the Z's grating high-rpm warble that much more intolerable. The urge to scale and descend the Mustang's rev range just to savor it is irresistible.

A Bend in the Road

Despite the Track Pack's shorter 3.73:1 rear end, the 3,572-pound Mustang is still geared too tall. This dulls the V8's snappiness, an impression exacerbated by the Mustang's overly soft engine mounts. As a result, driveline lash is a companion at low speeds. Pay close attention and you can also feel the powertrain lurching about during quick transient handling maneuvers, such as rapid lane changes.


With that said, the Mustang's initial turn into a corner is immediate, almost disconcertingly so since the steering is lifeless and doesn't build effort commensurate with the movements of the chassis. The new car is an improvement over previous Mustangs, but it doesn't hold a candle to the way the 2009 Nissan 370Z responds to steering inputs.

No review involving the 2010 Ford Mustang would be complete without addressing the live axle. It has its benefits for launching and on billiard-table-smooth road-racing tracks, yet makes its compromises known to you in the real world far too often. Years of development still haven't reversed physics, and you're reminded of this every time the Mustang's rear end encounters a bump and pitches you vertically like a toddler on a parent's knee.


Find a blemish-free stretch of tarmac and the Mustang is an engaging companion, though we expected the Track Pack to be a bit sharper in controlling roll and pitch. The balance is there, though, as long as you let the chassis take a set. Then you can easily transition between steady-state understeer and easily controllable throttle steer. It's fun in the hooligan way that Mustangs have always been, just with a bit more control than before.

Hard braking with the Mustang results in a lot of nose dive and some seriously rapid deceleration it comes to a halt from 60 mph in just 107 feet, which betters the performance turned in by the Z by just a foot. It's the Z's binders we lust after, though unlike the Mustang, the 370's pedal feel is consistently solid whether you're strafing the canyons or crawling in gridlock.


Stretching the Gap
If the 2010 Mustang proves a surprisingly capable handler, then the Z is nevertheless in another galaxy. You can see this in the way the 370Z grips harder on the skid pad at 0.94g to the Mustang's 0.91g, but the differences in capability are more prominently evidenced in the slalom. Here, the Z changes direction with more immediacy, returning a 72-mph slalom speed to the Mustang's 68.4 mph.

Putting aside the numbers, you get the first clue of the Z's sporting intent before you're even moving. The steering wheel's sculpted grips hint at what's to come when you bend the car through a chicane. The 370Z's helm is a revelation, quicker and far more precise than the Mustang, with a sporting heft and a chatty nature. Cornering loads build in direct proportion to the steering wheel input angle in a way that's intuitive and confidence-inspiring. You'd be hard-pressed to find better steering anywhere. Jump into the 370Z after wheeling the Mustang and you'll wonder why the Mustang is so sloppy.


The Z's responses are devoid of slack, yet this focus doesn't have the usual tradeoff of a jolting ride. This is a chassis that never needs to take a set the Z is always poised.

Then there's SynchroRev Match, a feature that every automaker ought to be scrambling to try to replicate. Not only does it let you focus on your braking points when you're driving with full commitment, it also aids in providing engine braking in the crush of traffic. Simply put, it's the most brilliant enhancement to doing it manually since the blow-up doll.


That's not to say that the 370Z's transmission does everything perfectly. Upshifts suffer from a slightly sticky gearchange and the clutch takeup could be more progressive. These aren't showstoppers, but nailing details like these would propel the Z to the sports car elite.

Living in Style
Noticeable improvements in materials quality and NVH were part of the 2010 Ford Mustang's design brief, and you can see it in the soft-touch dashboard materials and hear it in the lack of road and wind noise.

Yet certain aspects of the Mustang's cabin frustrate us its retro-style gauges belong back in the 1960s, as they're not only illegible but also are prone to being obscured by stray reflections. The cruise control interface was crummy a decade ago. Plus, the steering wheel is too large and its clunky spokes discourage optimum nine-and-three hand placement. But, hey, you can choose from hundreds of different interior lighting color schemes. Really, when it comes to design nuances in a performance car, this isn't what we had in mind.


On the plus side, there's a sense of spaciousness in the Mustang that the Z-car can't match, and the Ford's seats are more comfortable than the Z's, if not quite as supportive. And practicality is a no-brainer the Mustang has rear seats, and small as they are, this fact alone goes a long way toward daily-driver viability.

If you shied away from the plasticky 350Z, fear not the 370Z. The 2009 Nissan 370Z's cabin is finished to a much higher standard, with synthetic suede and high-quality trimmings. There are lots of gauges and they're all legible, the centerpiece being a huge tachometer that dominates the instrument cluster like the eye of Cyclops.

At the same time, the Z-car is a much more intimate place than the Mustang's cabin, so make sure you shower before picking up your date (don't ask how we know this). You'll also want to be careful when backing out of your beau's driveway, too that monolithic C-pillar could blot out a Brinks truck.


Wrap Up
Large, gregarious and sporting a fan base of Americans millions strong despite its flaws, the 2010 Ford Mustang is the Rush Limbaugh of cars. It might be outclassed by the 2009 Nissan 370Z, but for many the charms of the Mustang cannot be replaced. At $35 grand, though, the Mustang GT is a tough sell. If you're willing to forgo some amenities, you could have a Mustang GT that performs similarly to our tester for a bit less money. That's the Mustang we'd prefer.

When it comes to delivering the best things about performance cars, the Z-car is a decathlete that leaps higher, throws farther and swims harder than the rest. If you can make the financial stretch for it, the 2009 Nissan 370Z will provide all the stimulus you need.


Quote:
Lead Senior Editor Ed Hellwig says:

This is a "marry versus date" decision to some degree. The Nissan 370Z? Fun in short bursts, less so day-to-day. The Ford Mustang? A bore on roads that should be fun, yet shockingly comfortable everywhere else.

So which way would I go if it were my name on the check? Sorry, Ford. The 370Z would get my money.

I mean let's face it. If you're going to buy a car like this, practicality and comfort are already out the window. And as close as these cars are in a straight line, the Nissan will walk away from the Mustang at the first sign of a turn.

And can somebody explain to me why the 370Z feels so tractable around town with usable low-end power, while the Mustang is soft anywhere below 3,500 rpm? Uh, isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

And the Mustang's brakes? Steering? Shifter? It's not even a contest.

So yeah, as much as I root for the home team and savor the sound of a V8, it's the Nissan 370Z that would make me feel like I was getting my money's worth
.

YouTube - Mustang v 370Z SMACKDOWN: Ford Mustang GT vs. Nissan 370Z
[YOUTUBEHQ]AfmkwY-Q_oM[/YOUTUBEHQ]
Edited by AK
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice find, I have always like Mustangs and if I were buying a Z right now I'd go test drive one. I'm surprised that they were so similar in many of the performance benchmarks. Kudos to Ford, now get rid of that damn live axle!!
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Simply put, it's the most brilliant enhancement to doing it manually since the blow-up doll



best quote ever
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think both cars are cool but the Z is master piece.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I love both cars.

Ford's new Mustang powertrains are going to be really hard to pass up. Although I am not really bothered by the live axle, I still think Ford absolutely needs to get rid of it.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Both are creditable pieces of design in their own way, but why does Ford (and the American car buying public + GM + Chrylser) think that bringing back 'retro' anything is so "cool"? It forces design wrong, it handcuffs engineering improvement. It boggles my mind, always has. I thought western culture was a forward looking society?...guess you can throw that concept out the window ... gauges you can't read, axles that hop....but oh yea...I forgot...they're all going out of business anyway...too bad NOT.

Long live the quest for the perfect affordable (modern) sports car! We're getting close
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think the MOST interesting part is that the Ford performs so well. The Camaro is going to be much closer with it's independent rear suspension and additional power.

The second most interesting thing, Curb Weight As Tested (lb): 3,374 on a Touring Z Sport Pack with Nav.

Makes me want to run and put my car on a scale.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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1 Down!

Camaro & Challenger to go so there are no more American Muscle versus Z questions.

Not an expert but I would guess that the Mustang had the best shot. Camaro and Challenger are to heavy. May beat the Z in the straights when there is a battle but not the twisties. As has been stated over and over again.

Conclusion: 0-60 and 1/4 mile arent everything especially when you only equal your opponent makes you a 1 trick pony
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have seen this same review time and time again just different mags and different wording. I understand the fact that these are both roughly 30k cars, however that is where the similarities stop and I feel that we we are comparing apples to oranges. I am slightly biased towards the stang because I have been raised with stangs and had one of my own. I dated a girl that drove a 350z for about a year and fell in love with it as well so maybe I am not so biased...lets see!

I will start with the Z, the Z is truly an all out sports car 2 seats, small and light, and great track manners. If I was getting a SPORTS car I would definitely get a Z hands down because it is designed for that one purpose of being a sports car and hasn't been diluted to meet more markets other than the sports car market.


The mustang, one thing that people don't get about the mustang is that it isn't really a sports car, it isn't really a muscle car, it isnt really a cruising car. It is all of these combined which means it comes short in all areas but is able to reach a broad appeal in several markets. While I dream of the days where mustangs where more honed for muscle/sports car duties I have to realize this would be the fall of the mustang case in point the camaro. This is the reason for the mustangs success and why they will continue to produce it as such because it appeals to so many people whether you want a fun top down cruiser or an all out track car you can have it! Granted stock it isnt the best but take a gander at the aftermarket world and you will soon see how versatile these can be.

I guess the point I am trying to make is the mustang is not a really sports car it is a base platform that you can turn into anything where as the Z is a sports car so yea I would be pretty disappointed if the z lost to the mustang in the twisties

sorry for any run on sentences or grammar mistakes I am writing this as quick as possible before work!
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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and as far as the solid axle comments give me a break!!!

Granted a IRS set up will always out perform given the engineering behind it, but look at some track cars in say the American Iron league and other racing areas and tell me the solid rear axle is still terrible, I guarantee you will be surprised just how well a solid axle can perform given the right mods
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rednek01 View Post
I have seen this same review time and time again just different mags and different wording. I understand the fact that these are both roughly 30k cars, however that is where the similarities stop and I feel that we we are comparing apples to oranges. I am slightly biased towards the stang because I have been raised with stangs and had one of my own. I dated a girl that drove a 350z for about a year and fell in love with it as well so maybe I am not so biased...lets see!

I will start with the Z, the Z is truly an all out sports car 2 seats, small and light, and great track manners. If I was getting a SPORTS car I would definitely get a Z hands down because it is designed for that one purpose of being a sports car and hasn't been diluted to meet more markets other than the sports car market.


The mustang, one thing that people don't get about the mustang is that it isn't really a sports car, it isn't really a muscle car, it isnt really a cruising car. It is all of these combined which means it comes short in all areas but is able to reach a broad appeal in several markets. While I dream of the days where mustangs where more honed for muscle/sports car duties I have to realize this would be the fall of the mustang case in point the camaro. This is the reason for the mustangs success and why they will continue to produce it as such because it appeals to so many people whether you want a fun top down cruiser or an all out track car you can have it! Granted stock it isnt the best but take a gander at the aftermarket world and you will soon see how versatile these can be.

I guess the point I am trying to make is the mustang is not a really sports car it is a base platform that you can turn into anything where as the Z is a sports car so yea I would be pretty disappointed if the z lost to the mustang in the twisties

sorry for any run on sentences or grammar mistakes I am writing this as quick as possible before work!
It gets compared because people like to look at these numbers HP 0-60 1/4 mile all comparable so people will make the comparison and wonder. So a battle ends the argument and you can't throw in there aftermarket parts as a caveat. The Z responds great to aftermarket parts so far. The stang is massed produced so it has a good following causing aftermarket parts to be cheaper because of more competition (my opinion) but at the end of the day your adding power to the Z and the stang still has to do something about its suspension just to match the stock suspension of the Z. This is all my opinion and based not great amounts of experience just some research.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheth View Post
It gets compared because people like to look at these numbers HP 0-60 1/4 mile all comparable so people will make the comparison and wonder. So a battle ends the argument and you can't throw in there aftermarket parts as a caveat. The Z responds great to aftermarket parts so far. The stang is massed produced so it has a good following causing aftermarket parts to be cheaper because of more competition (my opinion) but at the end of the day your adding power to the Z and the stang still has to do something about its suspension just to match the stock suspension of the Z. This is all my opinion and based not great amounts of experience just some research.
I understand why they are being compared, I realize it is because of the numbers but what I am focusing on is the design and goals of each car are completely different. Yes the numbers are similar but no they are not both full fledged sports cars. This is where my aftermarket argument comes in, if you take a car that is having to appeal to so many different people and wants then the parts that come stock on the car are going to be fairly watered down to be able to handle more than just being a drag car or a sports car. So basically the mustang is a platform car meaning after you buy it you make it what you want whether it be a drag car, track car, or just a good looking cruiser. The Z from the factory is a sports car with the track in mind
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:41 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I dont know what yr model it was, but it looked like an essentially new Mustang GT that I - might have - wiped the floor with, a few days ago (if i was into things like racing)
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Last edited by k.alexander; 03-11-2009 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Clarified that the Mustange was a GT
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If you are ever in Cincinnati take a trip to Paul's Automotive. He has some incredibly nice Mustangs built for drag, road course and show. I might add that I have seen some amazing numbers on the dyno at Paul's shop.

So, rednek01 makes a worthwhile point. You can do a lot of things to the Mustang. And if you need the extra space it is a bargain for the money.

At this point I should point out that I do not own a Mustang. However, I did consider one. The styling and remake of the new Z was too hard to ignore.

One final note, a guy passes through my neighborhood occasionally driving a full Roush package Mustang. I ALWAYS stop and listen to it going by. It puts a huge smile on my face.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:16 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I dont know what yr model it was, but it looked like an essentially new Mustang that I - might have - wiped the floor with, a few days ago (if i was into things like racing)
what does that have to do with the discussion? And even further any car on any given day can beat any other car there are way too many factors involved including but not limited to the driver and his abilities, how the car is maintained, mods on either car, weather conditions, etc....
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