Mishimoto Performance Air Intake for the 2023+ Nissan Z

Dual Drive – Performance Intake for the 2023+ Nissan Z

When Nissan planted the powerful VR30DDTT 3L V6 engine with twin turbochargers in the Nissan Z, there wasn’t much room left in the engine bay. The cramped area didn’t allow enough space to accommodate the traditional top-and-bottom-split airbox design, so they created a unique single-piece airbox with vertically inserted panel filters that maximized flow while minimizing size.

As enthusiasts and engineers, we tipped our hats to appreciate the work Nissan did with this design. But we couldn’t help but ask ourselves—how can we make it even better?

Design Process

Our engineer, Ye, set out to design a direct-fit airbox for the 2023+ Nissan Z with these goals:

• Achieve better airflow than stock
• Ensure a direct-fit, bolt-on installation
• Create a design that lets the user alternate between a sealed or open airbox setup
• Deliver a high-quality intake tone
• Maintain a safe air-to-fuel ratio and ability to run on a stock tune

She began by inspecting and removing the stock airboxes to determine exactly how much space we had for our design. Once we had the measurements, she created a pair of custom-made, oiled high-flow conical filters that increased the effective filtration area by 20%.

Next, Ye had to create a design that allowed for both sealed and open airbox setups. She decided on a unique quick-release setup for the upper half, which uses molded clips and O-ring fasteners with pull tabs to secure the airbox together.

A close-up of the molded clips and pull-tab O-rings.
Figure 1. A close-up of the molded clips and pull-tab O-rings.

The ability to easily alternate between the two intake styles lets you choose your driving experience. For the cold-air intake setup, leave the upper half of the airbox installed and enjoy the performance benefits. If you’d rather hear your turbo spool and take in more of the Z’s noises, remove that upper half of the airbox and store it somewhere safe.

The MAF (Mass Air Flow) housing is another unique design feature of the stock airbox. Normally, this would be a one-piece design with the housing and airbox molded together. Instead, Nissan designed the housing to be separate and fastened to the airbox with two screws.

This design presented a challenge because the mass air flow curves are specifically calibrated to their original intake systems. Since our air intake increased the airflow, the overall airspeed was faster than stock. If we were to use the stock housing design, the increase in airspeed would throw the MAF calibration off and result in potential check engine lights and pending ECU codes.

An image of our intake during installation with the top half removed with our MAF housing visible.
Figure 2. Our MAF housing visible during installation.

To achieve our goal of maintaining a safe air-to-fuel ratio and the ability to run on a stock tune, our airbox comes with two custom CNC-machined MAF housings. Ye verified the success of our housings after many rounds of dyno testing.

Testing and Results

With our 3D-printed prototype in hand, we headed off to run some tests.

Airflow

A graph displaying the results of our flow bench test comparing stock and Mishimoto intakes for the driver's side.
A graph displaying the results of our flow bench test comparing stock and Mishimoto intakes for the passenger's side.

Using our SuperFlow Dynamics SF-1020, we tested the flow rate of the stock air intake against ours. Since our design is configurable, we separately tested our intake both open and closed.

Both sets of testing indicated that our air intake outperformed stock. The closed configuration was up to 26.5% less restrictive while the open configuration was up to 42.9% less restrictive.

Power

A graph showing the horsepower, torque, and air-to-fuel ratio results after our dyno test comparing stock vs. Mishimoto.

With significantly improved airflow over stock, testing on our Dynapack dynamometer revealed peak gains of 6.39 horsepower and 4.48 foot-pounds of torque.

Tone

Comparing the stock intake to our open-air configuration, we found a terrific improvement in tone. Our engineers were pleased with how the engine sounded and the distinct noise from the turbochargers.

Conclusion

The Mishimoto Performance Intake for the 2023+ Nissan Z is a unique, versatile option for Z owners looking to enhance their driving experience. Featuring an easily configurable design that offers two dynamic intake setups, our direct-fit air intake offers improved performance that’s safe to run on a stock tune.

While the engineering behind Nissan’s stock airbox got a nod of approval from our engineers, we’re pleased to present the next step in performance for the Nissan Z.

A close-up image showing the Mishimoto intake installed with the top half secured.