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Mazda MX-5 PDF Print E-mail

The latest, third-generation Mazda MX-5 has begun production at the newly refurbished Ujina plant that was devastated by fire late last year.  Launched at this year’s Geneva show in March, the new MX-5 is much the same as the outgoing model but with greater refinement and more power.

Additional safety features and a bigger engine have only added around 10 kilograms to the overall weight of the two-seater, but performance is enhanced by the newly developed two liter, all aluminum power plant.  A lighter flywheel and a stiffer drive shaft contribute to greater responsiveness and a feeling of a more direct connection with the road.  Maximum power is a healthy 157 bhp (118 kW) while the torque output is 188 Nm at 5,000 rpm, and although this is a high engine speed at which to peak, the torque graph is almost linear and in no way detracts from the car’s ability to storm hills or perform rapid overtaking manouvers.

Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
No performance figures are given, but expect the new car to top 220 km/h, with a 0-100 km/h sprint time in the region of seven seconds.  Not phenomenal figures but adequate for what is essentially a fun machine.

Six-speed manual or automatic transmissions are available, while the brakes are discs all round, unlike the original which, in 1989, had a rather inadequate disc/drum set-up.  The rotors of the new model are larger than before, with stiffer calipers to provide a greater, more precise brake pedal response and a high degree of linearity.

Aluminum is used for some suspension components and chassis parts to minimize unsprung weight, while the rear suspension cross member is attached directly to the unibody with no rubber insulation, greatly enhancing rigidity.  Newly designed, multi-spoke aluminum wheels are fitted with ultra-low profile tires.

The MX-5 (Miata in the USA) was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1989 and immediately caught the imagination of sportscar enthusiasts.  A simple, no-frills two-seater that sold for a reasonable figure and which would be both safe and reliable. When production ceased of the outgoing model – the second generation – in April 2005, a total of 718,954 cars had been delivered, making it the most popular two-seater sports in history.  It has even earned its own place in the Guinness Book of World Records for this remarkable feat.

The latest version features a wider track – an added 75 mm increase at the front, 55 mm at the rear - and consequently more pronounced fender arches, while the interior has received a makeover and now has larger volume head airbags to complement the side airbags. New ventilation outlets and a choice of tan or black leather upholstery on the top models offer a feeling of luxury within the cramped cockpit.  The base model comes as standard with black cloth upholstery.  Five round gauges on the dash are fitted with non-reflective glass to maintain legibility even in direct sunlight.

 

Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5

An automatic climate control system keeps the occupants cool in even Thai temperatures, while there is a premium Bose sound system fitted to the top-of-the-range models.  In all there are eight exterior colors and three distinctive interior-trim packages.

There are many storage compartments, including a lockable one with space for up to 10 CDs in the rear compartment, and a bottle holder in the door panel.

The 2005 MX-5, while a great improvement on its earlier cousins, maintains the simplicity and ‘fun-to-drive’ element of the original.  Mazda has resisted the temptation to move away from a proven and highly popular format and there is no reason why the MX-5 should not go on for another 16 years.  It goes on sale worldwide in the second half of the year.

 -JH

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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