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Mazda MX-5

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The third-generation MX-5 roadster will debut. U.S. sales begin in the spring, and European sales start in August. The rear-drive car is sold here as the MX-5 Miata. The redesigned two-passenger convertible is slightly larger than the current model. The interior is more spacious and features higher quality materials. The rear end is flatter and wider to accommodate a larger trunk.

Sixteen years and 700,000 units ago, Mazda launched its back-to-basics Miata onto a roadster-hungry public. And while the aging two-seater, last redesigned in 1998, still finds favor among legions of driving purists the world over, Mazda felt that it was about time to give the fun little sports car a much-needed makeover.

This third-generation car, which debuts in early March at the Geneva motor show, will draw power from a new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, up from a 1.8-liter engine in the Miata today. The bigger engine will turn out about 20 more horses as well, reaching upward of 160 hp. The torque climbs to about 140 lb-ft.

Shifting duty will fall to one of two six-speed units, either a manual or automatic with a shift-it-yourself-via-paddles option.

Physically the Miata has grown in just about every measurable dimension, with a 2.6-inch longer wheelbase, as well as a 3.0-inch wider front track and 2.1-inch wider rear track. Overall length and height have increased nominally, each by just 0.8 inch, but the Miata is now measurably wider, by 1.6 inches.

That extra width comes courtesy of a departure in styling for the little roadster, which for the first time abandons its characteristic Coke-bottle shape for a more RX-8-like design, complete with flatter flanks and bulbous front fenders. The additional space afforded by this move not only benefits passengers with more hip and shoulder room, but also allows for the addition of side-impact airbags.

Look for a more complete review of the new Miata closer to the car’s on-sale date, which Mazda says will be sometime later this year.

















 

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Mazda MX-5 - evolution of an icon

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Mazda Motor has issued the following press release:

Since the launch of the first Mazda MX-5 in 1989, Mazda’s roadster has defined affordable, fun to drive cars. During the last 16 years, Mazda has continued to develop and evolve the classic concept of that first vehicle and at this year’s Geneva Motor Show the all-new, third-generation MX-5 sees its global premiere.

Mazda MX-5 has always been the epitome of what in Japanese is called Jinba Ittai or “oneness between horse and rider,” which has always been an apt description of the relationship between the driver and his or her Mazda MX-5. Like all versions before it, Jinba Ittai was the guiding principle in developing the third-generation Mazda MX-5. The result is a markedly better vehicle than its predecessor, but with the original concept that made it such a popular car around the world still intact.

The new Mazda MX-5’s exterior design, like its predecessor, is a combination of fun and modern styling. It has been updated with modern styling cues to the nose and tail that communicate the clear functionality of a modern, light- weight roadster and the athletic solidity of a true Mazda sports car. The interior was designed to provide snug, one-with-the-car intimacy, simple functionality and comfort with high levels of craftsmanship. It features a T-shaped layout that fuses the instrument panel to the centre backbone tunnel. Switches, gauges and driving controls are positioned to be easily read and used. The driver cluster has five round metal-trimmed gauges with highly legible markings and needles and are covered with polarized glass so they can be read easily even in direct sunlight.

The new Mazda MX-5 is available (depending on market) in eight exterior colours and three distinctive interior-trim packages. Base models have tasteful black cloth upholstery with matte-silver metallic finishes. High grade models have saddle-tan and black leather seats, instrument panel and door trim, or black leather in a monotone treatment.

Employing Mazda’s new-generation sports car architecture for a significantly stiffer body shell than before, provides the base for the new Mazda MX-5’s superior safety systems. Newly introduced are side airbags positioned inside each seat backrest. Comfort and convenience is also enhanced with 3 storage bins located on the rear wall, a pocket attached to the back of the left seat and on the passenger’s side of the tunnel, a bottle holder in the door trim along with two beverage containers located behind the shift lever. Two new features are intro- duced to enhance comfort with the top down. New waist-level vents direct warm or cool air through the cabin with the top down, while a mesh-type air deflector mounted behind the seats allows some air to enter the cockpit through its surface, which reduces buffeting and top- down turbulence.

Two new engines from Mazda’s MZR family power the new Mazda MX-5, a 1.8-litre petrol with 93 kW/ 126 PS at 6,500 rpm* and maximum torque of 167 Nm at 4,500 rpm*, and an even more powerful 2.0-litre petrol producing 118 kW/160 PS at 6,700 rpm* and 188 Nm of maximum torque at 5,000 rpm*. Both are placed in a front mid-ship rear-wheel drive layout with a powerplant frame that deliver direct response to pedal input and driving fun. Mazda’s newly-developed six-speed manual transmission is available in all markets along with a five-speed manual transmission, both engineered to be operated with low effort and a short sporty stroke. An advanced six-speed automatic is also available in some markets.
* Subject to homologation

To realize a close bond between the driver and the new Mazda MX-5, engineers developed a chassis system that responds in a linear, precise and predictable manner. To facilitate this is Mazda MX-5’s light but stiff body shell, its 50:50 weight distribution, wider wheel- base, larger front and rear track, a double wishbone front suspension and a newly-developed multi-link rear suspension with optimized geometry. Pitch motion of the body during acceleration and braking is efficiently controlled by the dampers and by anti-dive, anti-squat geo- metry. Careful tuning of the rack and pinion power steering system has resulted in smooth steering response and excellent road feed- back. The braking system of the new Mazda MX-5 was designed for short pedal travel with response keyed directly to pedal force, and to deliver a high degree of linearity. To deliver this, the new Mazda MX-5 has larger ventilated front disc brakes with stiffer calipers and strong solid disc brakes in the rear, along with less resilient brake hoses and a larger booster.







 

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