Car enthusiasts in North America receive a special gift for the holidays as the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata makes its official debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show today. Shown briefly at the industry-only 2003 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in November, the vehicle will be seen for the first time by the general public in Los Angeles.
'MAZDASPEED is the name given to the best of the best Mazda vehicles and we're pleased to start off the New Year with the introduction of the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata,' said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. 'With MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata, we took a renowned sports car and further enhanced its performance with carefully selected modifications, all the while remaining true to Miata's famed spirit.'
Bound to reinvigorate the roadster marketplace with a new level of performance and style at an unbeatable price point, MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata comes fully equipped priced at $25,500 with cloth interior and $26,200 with leather, thousands less than a BMW Z4 and with nearly the same horsepower.
Fitted with a single-scroll turbocharger with 7.25 psi maximum boost and an air-to-air intercooler, the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine now makes 178 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm, 25 and 33 percent more respectively than the normally aspirated Miata. To handle the extra power from the turbocharging system, the engine block is modified to accommodate the oil line for the turbo, the cooling system receives an increased radiator core volume with increased coolant capacity, the six-speed manual transmission, clutch and pressure plate, driveshaft and differential all have been optimized, and a Denso tube-fin air-to-air intercooler added. The piston shapes have also been modified to increase displacement volume in the cylinders and handle the extra fuel-air mixture provided by the turbocharger.
Keeping the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata cool as its turbocharged engine blazes are two additional oil cooler plate pieces, allowing the oil more time to cool before it recycles through the engine. Harder rubber is also used for the engine and differential mountings to account for increased torque and avoid flexing and wearing due to more extreme temperature changes under the hood.
These precise engine modifications, combined with a short-throw, six-speed gearbox with improved gear durability and MAZDASPEED sport-tuned and lowered suspension, makes for an amazingly quick and agile car. The already-able Miata chassis gets dropped 7mm in ride height through the use of red-painted, shorter springs with increased spring rates. Silver-painted, MAZDASPEED-tuned Bilstein dampers soak up vibration while larger front and rear stabilizer bars and a silver-painted front strut tower brace increase chassis rigidity and improve road-holding capability.
Mazda engineers meticulously tuned the suspension to get the most out of the turbocharged powerplant, deftly handling the brute power sent through the Bosch torque-sensing limited slip differential to the 17-inch Racing Hart aluminum alloy wheels shod with Toyo Proxes R28 205/40R17 80W high-performance tires (the first time a Miata has been offered with a 17-inch wheel and tire package). MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata also receives a quicker steering ratio since the rack stroke was reduced more than 7mm from Miata's. All four corners receive silver-painted brake calipers and ABS.
The exterior, colored in either Velocity Red Mica or Titanium Gray Metallic and subtly tattooed with MAZDASPEED and MX-5 badging, sports smoked headlamps and a unique front under-spoiler with recessed fog lamps. From the back, a rear under-spoiler, rear deck spoiler and large exhaust tip with MAZDASPEED logo is the last image most other cars on the road will see.
When raised, a black vinyl soft top covers black cloth seats with red centers, red door inserts, and a black leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake with red stitching. Silver instrument panel gauges showcase the MAZDASPEED logo as do the foot pedals, stainless steel scuff plates, floor mats and body-colored rear view mirror cap. A unique curl-fit finish adorns the center stack panel and shift panel. Standard audio is a 225-watt six-speaker Bose® sound system with six-disc CD changer and speed-sensing automatic volume control. A black cloth soft top with black leather bucket seats and red stitching are optional with the Grand Touring Package—the only factory option available.
As with all MAZDASPEED vehicles, special attention to detail permeates throughout, including a red wrinkle finish with turbo logo on the valve cover and an anodized aluminum oil cap with MAZDASPEED logo.
Even with the addition of a turbocharger and much more, MAZDASPEED vehicles carry the same factory-backed warranty as all Mazda vehicles. The 2004 MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata is covered by a comprehensive four-year/50,000-mile warranty that covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. In addition, the 2004 MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata is covered by a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata is set to go on sale in select North American markets in spring 2004.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the Únited States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.Source - Mazda Media
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