Auto blogTue, 23 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST
Earlier this month, our friends across the pond at Auto Express released the first in a two-video series that would see them try and build up a second-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata that could best a standard Porsche Boxster around the track. While that first video detailed the mods to the MX-5 - a supercharger, some suspension upgrades and a new set of super-sticky rubber being chief among them - and set baseline lap times for the stock car, today, we have the results of the 5,000-pound ($8,200) upgrade job.
Of course, we aren't going to spoil those for you. You'll need to watch the full video, which recaps the upgrades before digging into a comparison of both straight-line-speed differences between the 2.7-liter Porsche Boxster and blown Miata, as well as their behavior and lap times on the track.
Take a look and let us know what you think in Comments.
With all of the hype and anticipation surrounding the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Japanese brand was able to sneak another driver-oriented model into its lineup. The company's spec page for the 2015 Mazda3 hatchback and sedan have been updated to list the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder as finally being available with a six-speed manual transmission, in addition to the previous six-speed automatic. The automaker had promised the row-your-own gearbox with the bigger engine back when it first announced the new Mazda3, but it waited a model year to actually put the combo on sale.
According to Mazda's specs, the manual gearbox trims 40 pounds off of a hatchback or 54 pounds off of a sedan in s Touring and s Grand Touring trims. However, shedding that weight doesn't necessarily boost fuel economy. The six-speed hatch is rated at 26 miles per gallon city and 35 mpg highway, compared to 27/37 for the automatic. The manual sedan is rated at 25/37 city/highway mpg, versus 28/39 with the auto. Buyers can save a little money by opting for the manual, though. Regardless of body style, it's about $1,050 cheaper than the automatic.
Autoblog reached out to Mazda and learned that the 2.5L 6MT models started hitting dealers in August. The 2.5 wasn't initially available with the stick because, "We had to prioritize engineering resources and the 2.5L 6MT was not a high priority combination. Globally, smaller engines are preferred in terms of sales," a Mazda spokesperson explained via email. The automaker also notes that Austrailia will probably be the only other market outside of North America to get the six-speed gearbox with the larger engine.
Mazda's 2016 MX-5 Miata reveal didn't include much in the way of specifications, but the car's debut seems to have blown the lid off of the rumormill, with the latest word out of Australia including fresh claims of curb weight and engine output.
Before delving into the findings from Motoring.com, we're going to take a moment to find a few grains of salt. It's not that we don't trust the Oz publication, it's just that we wouldn't be surprised to learn their car's specifications will vary from that of our eventual North American car.
Of course, we don't expect the footprint of the new ND model to itself to differ much - it will still be the most compact Miata ever - overall length is expected to check in at just over 154 inches - that's about 1.4 inches shorter than the original NA Miata and over 4 inches shorter than today's NC generation, yet it'll ride atop a longer wheelbase and be slightly wider while sitting lower to the ground.
Following the reveal of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, more and more details (and rumors - oh, the rumors) are coming out regarding exactly what's in store when the car finally goes on sale. Our own Chris Paukert had plenty to say about the exterior and interior, and we've now seen the first photo of the engine. But a new report from Automobile sheds even more light on the 2016 Miata - specifically, that the power folding hardtop model won't be available, at least initially.
Automobile reports that the 2016 MX-5 will only be offered with a cloth top, and an insider confirmed that the mechanism is light and accessible enough that it can be raised and lowered with one hand from inside the car. Mazda officials would not comment on the availability of a hardtop in the coming years.
That said, a hardtop Miata isn't out of the question. There will likely be some sort of fixed roof available - even as a one-piece, lift-off accessory - if only for club racing. Also, remember that the current NC Miata's hardtop is the only one on the market that doesn't take up any additional trunk space, so it's an attractive proposition for buyers. Currently, the power hardtop is only offered on the Club and Grand Touring MX-5 Miata trims.
The original Mazda Miata broke onto the automotive scene in 1989 and was a huge success. However, the convertible's genesis goes all the way back to the early '80s. Bob Hall and Dean Case were among the inside men of the program on the US side, and they were on hand at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the recent MX-5 event there to tell some of their stories about the project's beginning.
Hall was on the Miata project from very early on, and one of his most fascinating stories is how the convertible got its shape. The droptop wasn't necessarily going to be a rear-wheel drive roadster. There were both front-wheel-drive coupe and mid-engine concepts being considered. In fact, the classic look of the NA generation was the least favorite of the three at the sketch stage.
Hall comes off as a jokester hiding a genius mind. He has a fountain of information in his head about what a Miata should be, but it all comes down to "less is more." However, he admits that it's easy to conceive that idea, but it's much harder to actually execute it well.
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:10:00 EST
When Thomas' illness made it impossible for him to drive, he relied on friends to do it for him.
Attending the reveal of the 2016 MX-5 Miata and the subsequent 25th anniversary celebration at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca confirmed that the little roadster maintains broad appeal, one not limited to the elderly or a certain gender as detractors might have you believe. In fact, the assembled crowd was surprisingly youthful, particularly amongst the club racer set and tuners. But one young Miata owner and superfan unfortunately wasn't in attendance - Thomas Jost, 19, was busy fighting for his life in a Maryland hospital.
Episode #396 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Chris Paukert talk about the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 2016 Jaguar XE, and the 2015 Lexus RC. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #396:
We've dug deep for just about every scrap of 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata info available out of the car's California reveal celebration, but powertrain particulars have been especially hard to come by. While we still don't have engine specifications, the folks over at Autoweek have scored a nice scoop - the first underhood photos of one of the display cars.
In the image above, the ND-generation Miata is clearly shown to be powered by a Skyactiv inline four-cylinder, as expected, but its displacement remains unclear. The engine is most likely either the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine offered in low-end Mazda3 and CX-5 models or the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G found in those same vehicles' upper trims. In those iterations, the 2.0-liter generates 155 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, while the larger-displacement engine nets out at 184 hp and 185 lb-ft. There is no sign of a turbocharger, a feature rumored to be fitted to at least one test mule. There has also been previous rumors of a 1.5-liter Skyactiv engine, possibly for overseas markets.
The 2.0-liter strikes us as the most likely scenario, particularly as Mazda has worked diligently to save every gram in the new car, dropping a pledged 100 kilograms (220 pounds) over the current model, even while adding content. It's entirely possible that the alleged turbo car was, in fact, a mule for the Miata's Alfa Romeo sister car, which is expected to have a wholly different powertrain. Or it could simply be a second engine option for an eventual Mazdaspeed variant, perhaps.
We've had few days to digest the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata since the roadster was first revealed on Wednesday evening when we offered you our first impressions. Since that time, we've gone back and looked at the car a number of times in person here in California, and we've even seen it briefly run under its own power (okay, it was more of a saunter). What we didn't get the chance to do at the reveal, however, was sit inside the car. We've since been able to remedy that, and while we haven't been allowed to drive the new roadster, we do have some initial in-car impressions to share with you.
First, the location and feel of the major controls is quite excellent. The three-spoke steering wheel is an MX-5 specific item - it's not shared with any other Mazda. That's vital, because others would likely be too big in diameter or have the wrong rim thickness. The wheel's redundant controls seem to be well laid out and the airbag boss is very small. The column tilts, but unfortunately and somewhat inexplicably, it still doesn't telescope.
Pedals are well-spaced, and the six-speed manual has the same short throws and positive engagement that we've come to know and love.
By now, you've already poured over the details (however few there may be) and images of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. For us enthusiasts, it's arguably the most important new car debut of the year, and for Mazda, it marks the 25th anniversary of its iconic roadster - something that's being celebrated all weekend long out in Monterey, CA.
Our resident Miata owner, Chris Paukert, is out in sunny California and just passed along this video, showing all four generations of the MX-5 in motion (slowly), on the road at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is the first time the 2016 MX-5 has been shown driving under its own power, and it will join a wealth of other roadsters as Mazda attempts to break the world record for most Miatas in one place at one time.
Have a look at the emailed-from-an-iPhone-quality video above, and then take a moment to read Paukert's own notes from the ND Miata's live showing earlier this week, here.