Image credits: © Mazda.

2012 Mazda MX-5 Kuro

Focusing on sports styling and acknowledging Mazda's growing involvement in motorsport - from its MX-5 GT4 contesting the 2012 British GT Championship, to the recently announced SKYACTIV diesel racing engine programme for Le Mans and the new MX-5 GT Concept road-legal trackday car being revealed at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed - a new Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Kuro goes on sale on 1 July 2012.

The name Kuro, meaning Black in Japanese, is echoed in the sporty, dark accents of this latest pair of Special Edition models. A Brilliant Black roof, Brilliant Black door mirrors and dark gunmetal 17-inch alloy wheels, contrast dramatically wîth the three exterior colours - Velocity Red Mica, Crystal White Pearlescent and Brilliant Black.

Based on the MX-5 SE and Sport Tech models, the Kuro will be available as a 1.8i Soft-top and a 2.0i Roadster Coupe wîth additional specification highlights over the donor car that also include: a diffuser-style rear sports bumper, larger diameter sports exhaust, unique race car inspired exterior graphics, Black detailing around the front grille and front fog lights, plus unique 'Kuro Edition' badging.

Inside, Mazda MX-5 Kuro has unique Stone and Black heated leather seats, Stone leather door inserts, wîth contrasting red stitching, a silver interior deco panel wîth red accents, alloy pedals, premium floor mats wîth race inspired logo and climate control air-conditioning.

Available until 31 July 2012 wîth 0% APR finance over 36 months (50% deposit) or 5.9% APR, the MX-5 1.8i Kuro Soft-top is priced at £18,495 and the MX-5 2.0i Kuro Roadster Coupe costs £21,995 (OTR).

A genuine special edition, only 200 examples of the Kuro (Soft-top) and 400 of the Kuro (Roadster Coupe) will be available in the ÚK.

'Special Edition models of the MX-5 are incredibly popular in the ÚK and now the 'Kuro' offers a unique combination of sports focused exterior styling and sophisticated leather interior fittings - in a sportscar that remains unrivalled as an exhilarating drive that can also be used everyday,' comments Peter Allibon, Sales Director, Mazda ÚK. 'With their low running costs, enviable reliability and our current low-rate finance offers, the Mazda MX-5 Kuro duo makes a compelling ownership proposition - a thoroughly modern sportscar that people can buy wîth their head and their heart.'

The new Kuro models have all the dynamic attributes of the world's best-selling sportscar. Featuring a front-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis to deliver perfect balance, wîth razor-sharp handling and pure driving exhilaration, the MX-5 has been voted 'Best Roadster' by Auto Express magazine for six years in a row.

Mazda MX-5 Kuro customers have a choice of two powertrains - the 126ps 1.8i wîth a five-speed gearbox (Soft-top) and the 160ps 2.0i wîth a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission (Roadster Coupe). Like other MX-5 models, the Kuro duo combines beautifully balanced handling wîth lively performance - sprinting to 60mph in 9.9sec (Soft-top) and 7.9sec (Roadster Coupe), and capable of going on to reach top speeds of 121mph and 136mph respectively.

For optimum handling stability, all MX-5 models feature Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and a Traction Control System (TCS). Two-litre models are also equipped wîth a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) for enhanced handling precision and side airbags for added protection.

Source - Mazda
Rumor to be designed after the Lotus Elan, the Mazda Miata is the world's best selling sports car. With over 720,000 produced between 1989 and 2005, production proves Mazda held its title consistently.

The history of the Miata is one of interest and success. Unveiled in 1989 as the 'Eunos Roadser', prior to the name change to the Miata, it was a designed collaboration between the USA and England. Created to be a basic roadster without unnecessary weight, it was an instant success with over 23,000 sold by the end of its first year. With a starting price of $13,800, the Miata, despite its small design, made a sizeable impact in the success of Mazda's future.

The shell of the Miata is all steel with an aluminum bonnet. Weighing in at over 2,380 pounds, the Miata confirmed its small roadster appeal. The trusswork is uniquely called the 'Powerplant Frame', which connects the engine to the differential, creating a more firm and responsive feel. It's quick and responsive handling is helped due to independent double wishbone suspension on all four wheels with an anti-roll bar at the front. Optional paddle shifting was available with the six speed automatic versions of the Touring, Sport, and Grand Touring models. With power to the rear wheels, drivers thirst for corners even if they're beginners.

The Miata's appearance ranks among attractive qualities. Its cozy, subtle, curved design helped to propel sales to customers of all ages to a higher level. The bright color palette offered during production accented the appearance and still turns heads today, making onlookers yearn to get behind the wheel of this convertible on owners pine for the summer months.

A 'Special Touring Option Edition' was also offered, which included stainless steel scuff plates, Twilight Blue paint, and 15 inch Enkei wheels. The 'Club Spec' version was available with 16 inch alloy wheels and four wheel disc brakes with ABS, but also offered a limited amount of color options: Winning Blue Metallic, Marble White, and True Red.

The interior, though tight, beckoned stereo enthusiasts and those who revel in the appeal and stigma of leather. Optional passenger-side airbags and standard drivers–side airbags provided safety without drastically impacting the beauty of the interior.

With the introduction of the 'M Edition' came a wood shift knob and chrome wheels with Montego Blue paint. The option of a wooden parking brake handle was available on this edition for complete look. Other editions such as the 'Touring Package' included power steering, a leather wrapped steering wheel, power mirrors, aluminum alloy wheels, and power windows. Also, the available 'Club Spec' model included CD player with speed sensitive sound, four speakers, black cloth trimmed upholstery, power windows, locks, and mirrors and black vinyl top.

Engines for the Miata were available with a 1.6L, 1.8L or 2.0L. The 1.6 L dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine produced 120 horsepower with 0-60 times consisting of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 119 miles per hour.

The 1.8L produced 140 horsepower with help of the raised engine compression ratio and the additions of domed pistons. The additions also helped the 0-60 time, which was marked at 7.9 seconds with a top speed of 123 miles per hour. In 2005, the 2.0L was the latest engine thrusting the Miata. The 16 valve engine produced 170 horsepower with a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, bringing the Miata to a fast finish when production ceased in the same year.

Even though all 3rd generation 2006 models all over the world now go with the name 'MX-5', the Miata will always be the true coupe that helped to accelerate the sports car appeal with today's roadsters.

Kyle McMullen

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