To renew the MX-5, Mazda engineers focused on evolving the lightweight sports car concept as the all-new car must follow in the tracks of a modern motoring icon. In May 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the Mazda MX-5 as the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history, with 531,890 units produced to that date. Since that affirmation, demand has held strong. More than 700,000 Mazda MX-5s have been sold around the globe.
Not surprisingly, when creating the all-new Mazda MX-5, program manager Takao Kijima not only looked ahead to understand how the motoring world's needs had changed since the original Mazda MX-5 was launched, he also looked back to pinpoint and focus on what made this Mazda so special in the eyes and hands of car enthusiasts the world over. What he found was an intensity of spirit possessed by very few sports cars.
The new Mazda MX-5 is clearly the son of its father. Exterior design themes had to include the "fun" factor as well as "modern styling." To achieve this, the all-new Mazda MX-5 had to remain approachable and fun, but had to be updated with modern styling cues to communicate both the simple functionality of a modern lightweight sports car and the athletic solidity of a true sports car, both of which remain obvious Mazda MX-5 design DNA attributes.
The most notable departure from the previous exterior shape is the elimination of the classic "Coke bottle" shape of the contours. The nose and tail are smoothly tapered, as before, but now the surfaces wrap smoothly between the wheels without narrowing. The functional benefit of this change is a wider cockpit with additional hip, shoulder, and elbowroom. In addition, the space needed for side air bags is available.
The interior design themes of the new Mazda MX-5 are simple functionality and comfortable openness with high-quality craftsmanship to delight sports car enthusiasts.
A T-shaped general layout joins the horizontal strength of the instrument panel to the substantial centre backbone tunnel. Four round heating and cooling vents help establish a straight reference line across the front of the cockpit. Piano-black finish provides a modern high-quality surface for several areas of the interior. Switches, gauges and driving controls are precisely designed and carefully positioned for optimum functionality. Five individual round gauges with metal-look trim fill the instrument cluster. Highly legible markings and needles are provided and polarized glass covers maintain legibility even in direct sunlight.
Mazda designers selected eight exterior colours and three distinctive interior-trim packages. Base models are equipped with tasteful black cloth upholstery and a matte-silver metallic finish for the steering wheel, instrument rims, and door handles. High-grade models offer two attractive choices: combinations of saddle-tan and black leather on the seats, instrument panel, and door trim or black leather in a monotone treatment (depending on market).
A spirited engine and a wieldy transmission constitute the heart of any sports car. Two new MZR family engines-a 2.0-litre for all global markets and an additional 1.8-litre for Europe-power the all-new Mazda MX-5. These are light and compact and feature chain-driven double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable intake valve timing, electronically controlled port fuel injection, and coil-on-plug ignition. The block, head, and oil pan are cast aluminium, while cast iron liners provide a durable bore surface.
In tuning the Mazda MX-5's engine sound, a smooth, harmonic note was realized that increases with throttle opening. Above 5,000 rpm, this becomes powerfully resonant, consistent with the spirited charge for the 6,700 rpm redline. A throaty 500 Hz sound through the mid-range reinforces the Mazda MX-5's feeling of nimble responsiveness.
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