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Mazda Fills in a Few Blanks About New MX-5 Miata

But some questions remain about new roadster.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Mazda confirms the US-spec 2016 MX-5 Miata will use an "ultra-high-compression" 2.0-liter I-4.

When Mazda staged its global preview of the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata last summer it left plenty of questions unanswered. As the roadster gets readied for its first public showing at this week’s Los Angeles Motor Show, the Japanese maker is finally filling in some – but not all – of the missing details.

Among other things, it says the new 2016 Miata’s SkyActiv design makes it not just lighter, but also shorter and narrower than the model it replaces. And U.S. buyers will be getting a 2.0-liter inline-four. But we’re still going to have to wait until closer to the MX-5’s launch date, it seems, to find out such necessary details as horsepower and torque.

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Buyers in other markets will also have the option of a smaller 1.5-liter I-4 engine. The U.S.-spec car will be offered with a 6-speed SkyActiv manual gearbox, Mazda also revealed.


2016 Mazda Miata Revealed

Wider, lower, lighter, but plenty of questions go unanswered.

by on Sep.04, 2014

The new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata makes its debut.

When it first rolled out a quarter century ago, the original Mazda Miata delivered the sort of shock the auto industry needed, a sleek, small roadster that reminded us that cars didn’t have to be bland, boring and utilitarian.

Though sales have slowly dwindled in recent years, the MX-5 Miata has remained an icon for the Japanese brand, so Mazda clearly knew it was taking some serious risks when it set out to redesign the 2-seater, all the more so when it agreed to enter into a joint venture with Italy’s Fiat.

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“There was a lot of pressure to do a great car,” recalled Mazda Design Director Derek Jenkins, admitting there were times when he worried “I hope we don’t screw this up.”

Miata fans can now finally judge for themselves, Mazda pulling the wraps off the 2016 MX-5 Miata during a global preview that featured simultaneous unveilings in Monterey, California, Barcelona, Spain and back home in Japan.


Lamborghini Reveals One-Off Aventador J

A hint of what’s to come?

by on Mar.06, 2012

CEO Stephan Winkelmann reveals the one-off Lamborghini Aventador J.

It’s definitely not the sort of car you’d want to take you back into downtown Geneva after the auto show winds up for the day but for a run through the Swiss countryside there’d likely be few things that could beat the Lamborghini Aventador J making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show today.

The 700-horsepower, one-off “comes from a different time,” suggested Stephan Winkelmann, the CEO of the Italian automaker, “a time when cars were lighter, and naked.”

We’re not sure about the naked part but you’re definitely exposed to the elements behind the wheel of the 700-pound roadster, which draws power from  a 6.5-liter V-12 that pumps out power through a permanent four-by-four system.

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Priced at $2.1 million – before  the unnamed buyer coughs up the additional VAT tax – the Aventador J was meant to underscore “one of the missions of Lamborghini,” suggested Winkelmann, which “is to fulfill dreams.  And as long as we do cars like this, our brand as a bright future.”


Mazda Sends Miata to Weight Watchers

Next-gen 2-seater expected to drop 720 pounds.

by on Jun.09, 2011

Back to basics? The next-gen Miata could lose as much as a quarter of its current weight.

Too bad they don’t let machines compete on the top-rated TV reality show, the “Biggest Loser,” because Mazda’s next-generation Miata is being put on a serious diet.

The Japanese roadster is expected to drop 720 pounds, nearly 30% of its current 2,480 mass.  In fact, Inside Line quotes Mazda sources telling it the new model will be substantially lighter than the original, 1989 Miata, which weighed in at a svelte 2,178 pounds.

Most automakers have begun targeting weight as they stare down some tough new mileages standards, which climb to 35.5 mpg in 2016 and could be nudged as high as 62 mpg by 2025.

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“Mass is the enemy of efficiency,” Eric Cahill, director of last year’s Automotive X-Prize told

But it’s also an obstacle to performance and handling, one reason the mantra of Lotus Cars founder, the late Colin Chapman, was to “simplicate and add lightness.”


First Drive: 2009 BMW Z4

What's wrong with doing too much, too well?

by on Apr.28, 2009

BMW hopes to win over snobbish roadster purists with the launch of its all-new update of the Z4.

BMW hopes to win over snobbish roadster purists with the launch of its all-new update of the Z4.

Climbing into the southern extremes of the Swiss Alps, I muscle the ancient roadster into a corner, well aware of the way its skinny tires have begun to slide on the wet pavement.  The guardrails are few, even though the drop-offs are becoming increasingly steep.  As I steadily climb higher, the rain morphs into snow, the wind whipping it in through the open cockpit.

Spend a few hours behind the wheel of an antique BMW 315 and you understand the classic definition of roadster.  Fun, absolutely, but it’s also primitive, cramped even dangerous when road conditions are less than perfect.  So it’s not hard to understand why I jumped at the opportunity to swap out for the car my traveling companion had chosen for the day, a 2009 BMW Z4.

The name may be familiar, but the ’09 roadster is a very different beast from the one you might already know.  It is, for one thing, the first complete makeover of the Z4 since 2002.  Among other things, the Bavarian maker has opted, this time, for a foldaway hardtop, rather than the canvas roof that the old Z4 shared with BMW roadsters dating back to my pre-War 315.


First Look: 2010 Mazda Miata

by on Feb.13, 2009

2010 Mazda Miata: 20 years later

2010 Mazda Miata: 20 years later

“It was 20 years ago, today…” or so the Beatles might have been saying if they were in hand at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show to celebrate two decades of the Mazda Miata.

It’s hard to recall how much has changed since the first of those little roadsters rolled into the Windy City, for the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. The Berlin Wall had yet to fall. The first George Bush was in the White House. And as far as Conventional Wisdom was concerned, the 2-seat sports car was effectively dead

So, when Mazda pulled the wraps off the first Miata,” It was considered a fad,” and one not likely to gain much traction, says Mazda North America’s CEO, Jim O’Sullivan, who served as master of ceremonies for the launch of the 2010 Mazda Miata. And with 900,000 of the roadsters sold, over the last 20 years, O’Sullivan seemed confident the Miata will be around for a little longer.