Auto blogThu, 04 Sep 2014 02:30:00 EST
In a temporarily repurposed airport hanger in Monterey, CA, the world caught its first glimpse of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata tonight, and I was fortunate enough to attend in person along with my fellow auto media colleagues, Mazda execs, a couple hundred Miata devotees and, oddly, a fair number of Duran Duran fans. The klieg lights have dimmed, Simon Le Bon is no longer ringing in my ears, and I'm left to ponder what I've seen. I've scavenged my notes - and my Twitter feed - to give you some details and brief thoughts.
Fair Warning: I can't claim to be completely impartial (I own a second-generation NB and consider the Miata franchise to be one of but a few sacrosanct franchises in modern motoring), but I will share my honest first impressions of the new car, both good and bad.
Here are my notes:
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The highly anticipated fourth-generation (ND) model made its official debut in Monterey, CA this evening, and while details are slim (as in, we have practically none), there's one big thing to talk about: less weight.
Yes, Mazda has confirmed that the new Miata sheds some 220 pounds over the model it replaces, and is "the most compact of any generation MX-5 so far." For those keeping track, that means the new MX-5 should weigh in somewhere around 2,200 pounds.
Mazda's Kodo design language is obvious here, with a seriously wide and low demeanor, and a mix of flowing lines and sharp angles. We don't have any powertrain details to report as of this writing, but Mazda says the full suite of Skyactiv technologies are onboard, and the motto in creating this car was "Innovate in order to preserve."
Let's not understate the significance and difficulty of what's been accomplished here. In this ever-connected, constantly surveilled modern auto industry, Mazda has pulled a coup - it's kept a new vehicle under wraps. Yes, we've seen hacked up and camouflaged mules and maybe a form under a sheet, but Mazda is about to reveal its next-generation MX-5 Miata, and the car - let alone its specifications - hasn't been leaked anywhere yet. Not via clandestine camera phone snapshot, not by patent drawing, not by leaked ad copy, not even by diecast model. Believe us, we've looked.
And this isn't just some humdrum crossover or workaday compact, it's the Miata, the world's most popular roadster, apple of the enthusiast community's eye and seeming center of gravity for the Japanese automaker. For those who are genuinely excited about cars - about motoring - this is an impressive feat. If anything, Mazda's radio silence regarding the fourth-generation ND Miata has only served to heighten our anticipation for a model that probably won't reach showrooms for another year.
So, what's true and what's false among all the rumors? Will the already lightweight Miata really shed hundreds of pounds? What exactly will live under hood and drive those rear wheels?
At this point, the countdown until the launch of the all-new, fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata can be measured in hours until its September 3 unveiling as easily as it can in days. With the debut of such a highly anticipated model so close, the rumors about the new sports car are starting to boil over.
We recently heard that the new Miata would likely get a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder with a six-speed manual, plus a decent drop in weight compared to the current gen. There's even the rumored possibility of a fastback coupe version sometime in the future.
Now, Australia's GoAuto is adding another dollop of speculation into the mix with the claim that there could be "potentially more engine options," according to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders to the website. The more potent option would still be the 2.0-liter Skyactiv with a power bump from its current 167 hp to closer to 200 ponies. The other possible powerplant option would be a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder taken from the upcoming Mazda2 replacement. This version would also ditch some of the MX-5's more premium features to cut the weight and the price slightly.
We're all hungry like the wolf to see the unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, but Mazda is seriously excited about taking the sheet of its latest droptop because it has 1980s New Wave act Duran Duran headlining the event. In case you can't make it to Monterey, CA, Tokyo or Barcelona to watch the reveal happen, the brand is also livestreaming it on YouTube starting at 6:00 PM PT (9:00 PM ET). The Miata is then showing its all-new face again during the broadcast of Fashion Rocks on CBS on September 9 at 9:00 PM ET.
Facts about the new MX-5 have remained elusive, but we saw its bare chassis at the 2014 New York show. The roadster was rumored to return to the classic oval grille from the earlier models and also shed a decent amount of weight over the current version, possibly around 300 pounds.
Don't worry about noting the big reveal in your calendars, though. Not only will Autoblog be in attendance in Monterey to hear Simon Le Bon belt out Rio, we will also publish another post linking to the livestream before the unveiling. In the meantime, scroll down to read Mazda's announcement and check out the link to the stream, which just shows a countdown at the moment.
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:58:00 EST
Despite the PRHT's availability, some are still yearning for a proper fixed-head coupe.
We are just days away from the official unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, and it's fair to say that the mouths of enthusiasts are watering in anticipation for the latest version of this iconic roadster. Hard facts about the new droptop aren't easy to find, and in the absence of further disclosure from Mazda officials, the rumormill is in full swing, including word that a long-awaited hardtop coupe model will figure into the new generation's plans.
Racing is all about finding the little advantages over competitors that allow you to get ahead. Sometimes those are legitimate means - like being able to take advantage of a better line through a corner - and other times drivers get a little more creative for a leg up over opponents. Sometimes things might even go a little too far. Case in point: just watch the opening of this Mazda MX-5 Cup race from Silverstone in the UK.
According to the YouTube description, we're riding with James Rogers in this video, and he appears to be pretty talented behind the wheel. Rogers has a great start from fifth that has him in third within just a few corners. He starts stalking the top two drivers, who are already having a fantastic race themselves, but then we see that the person in second is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to win. Just watch the video, and you'll see what we mean. Bravo (?) to that racer for some very quick, albeit fiendish, thinking.
Though the Ford Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth (and arguably the Mini Cooper S) may stand pretty much alone in the North American market, in overseas markets, supermini hot hatches are a big deal. Unfortunately, challengers like the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Seat Ibiza Cupra and Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo never make it to our showrooms, but word has it that there's soon to be a new entry on the market.
That would be the Mazdaspeed2, which would be badged in certain markets as the Mazda2 MPS. Speaking with Australian site CarAdvice.com.au at the launch of the Mazda2 on which it would be based, the Japanese automaker's global sales chief and the hatchback's deputy product manager hinted that such a product is definitely being discussed, even if it hasn't yet been approved.
This wouldn't be the first time such a notion were entertained, as Mazda has shown numerous performance concepts based on the previous Mazda2/Demio over the years, but none have come to fruition.
Mazda has found both critical and commercial success with its CX-5 small crossover, and seems to be endeavoring to keep the momentum up with an upcoming refresh. As you can extrapolate from the obvious lack of the usual camouflage, the company isn't reinventing anything in the very near future of the CX-5, but it does seem as thought some tweaks are in the works.
Lighting elements fore and aft appear to have gone under the knife, with the front grille and rear fascia also seemingly to be slightly revised. The side mirrors now look slicker and slightly more upscale with their integrated turn signals, as well.
In all, expect a look that's a touch fresher, without being a radical departure from the existing visage.
Over the past 25 years and 3 model generations, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has shown that you don't have to be the best to be a massive success. The little, Japanese roadster has never been the absolute peak of automotive performance, but it's precise handling, good reliability and frugal running costs have helped make it a star. Autoblog recently tried to give you the experience of driving one on video, and now Xcar Films has made its own in an attempt to show what makes this droptop an icon.
As Xcar puts it, the Miata isn't the world's best sports car, but it is the world's favorite. When they were originally designing the roadster, Mazda's engineers took everything that made British droptops from the '60s great, and junked all of the stuff that made them a terror to own. The result was a car that would start up everyday with no fuss and get drivers wherever they needed to go with a huge grin on their face.
The fourth-generation Miata is imminently on the way for its September 3 unveiling, and the very early rumors indicate that Mazda doesn't plan to rock the boat too much with the latest one. It supposedly rides on a longer wheelbase and wider track but with the weight trimmed by over 200 pounds. Check out Xcar's video for a primer on MX-5 history and why the automotive world loves this little roadster.