February 9, 1989, marks a highly significant moment in sports car history: this is the day that Mazda presented the original MX-5 at the Chicago Auto Show. By updating the classic formula that had defined fun yet affordable two seat sports cars for decades, Mazda reinvented the concept of a lightweight roadster.
Sixteen years later, Mazda’s focus on driving fun has only intensified. The classic roadster continues to evolve in the Hiroshima-based company’s care and the MX-5 is still the only two-seater dedicated to the idea of rider and horse as one. Proving that the MX-5 is a fundamental expression of Mazda’s soul, an all-new third-generation edition was unveiled at the 2005 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva, Switzerland. Rethinking and re-engineering the MX-5 has provided Mazda the ideal opportunity to create the purest-ever expression of Zoom-Zoom motoring.
Key changes for the third-generation MX-5 and the chapters where they are discussed in detail are:
- A body structure that uses new materials and technologies to trim weight, improve crashworthiness, and increase rigidity
- Fresh, contemporary interior and exterior designs that celebrate the iconic status accorded the original MX-5
- Slightly larger exterior dimensions aimed at providing adequate room for tall occupants, improved comfort, and enhanced safety
- Linear and lively engines
- Improved steering, suspension, and braking systems
- Fine craftsmanship that yields a high quality appearance and many delightful features available for the first time in an MX-5
Mazda has long produced unique and exciting sports cars. The first Mazda automobile to win world-wide notoriety was the rotary-powered Cosmo Sport launched in 1967. The RX-7, which followed in 1978, won the hearts of sports car enthusiasts and more than its share of racing laurels. Two years ago, Mazda’s introduction of the RX-8 revolutionized classic sports car definitions by offering exciting design, spectacular performance, and comfortable accommodation for four adults in one innovative package.
The classic lightweight sports car is near and dear to Mazda partly for cultural reasons. The Japanese derive great pleasure from simplicity, elegance, and compactness. Traditional Noh performing arts are expressed in simple gestures. Ceremonial tea masters demonstrate fine aesthetics in very limited spaces. So the concept of a functionally elegant sports car with compact dimensions is well understood and fondly admired at Mazda.
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. In April 2005, the Guinness Book of World Records updated the number of units produced to 700,000.