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Auto blogTue, 09 Sep 2014 13:10:00 EST
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:
Ring one up for Mazda. The Japanese brand's midsize offering, the Mazda6, has been named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year. The 6 received a comprehensive reworking for the 2014 model year that saw it adopt sleek, sexy sheet metal; a clean, logical interior; and powertrain technologies that allow it to net some of the best fuel economy available in a gas-powered, non-hybrid sedan.
Popular Mechanics praised the 6's Skyactiv 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower engine, as well as its agility and responsiveness during testing. It also remarked on the functional, but well designed cabin, and the degree of available technology.
"The Mazda6 really impressed us with how well it delivers so many things modern car owners want: great mileage, fun road-handling, upscale features and looks - and remarkable value," said Jim Meigs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics.
We're not trying to make a joke here. The creation you see above really is called the Bauer Catfish, and while the name is about as attractive as your average bottom feeder, the car itself is built on a sexy notion. Take the mechanical bits of one 1990-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata, add in a tube chassis for as little weight as possible, complete with some custom body work and go forth. Bauer says the finished product weighs in at just 1,550 pounds, and the company will be happy to pull the stock four-cylinder to drop in a healthy General Motors LS V8.
The pre-production prototype shown above competed in last year's 25 Hours of Thunderhill, finished the race and earned a spot on the podium in the "anything goes for sports racers" ESR class. Very cool.
If you're looking for a dedicated track car, it may not get any better than this for the money. Expect to pay around $13,900 depending on options, plus the cost of your donor Miata. That's a good sight cheaper than a used Chevy Corvette Z06 and likely to be quite a bit more fun. After you're done watching it in action in the brief videos below, check it out over at Bauer Ltd.