All-New Third Generation Mazda MX-5 - Improved Performance, Lower Emissions | Part Three

Engine: improved performance, lower emissions

Mazda has given the latest MX-5 two new engines from the MZR petrol family, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 1.8-litre unit. Both engines meet Euro Stage IV emission standards and are mounted longitudinally under the bonnet.

Both are lightweight and compact, with chain-driven, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, sequential inlet-valve timing (2.0-litre engine) and variable intake-air systems (VIS). The cylinder block and head, as well as the oil pan sump, are made of aluminium.

The MZR 2.0-litre engine produces a maximum of 160 ps of power at 6,700 rpm and generates maximum torque of 188 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Even more important, between 2,500 and 6,700 rpm, a minimum of 90 per cent of engine torque is always available. The Mazda MX-5 with a 2.0-litre engine has a top speed of 130 mph. The 2.0i achieves 36.7 mpg on the combined cycle (up from 32.5 mpg for the outgoing 1.8i) and records a CO2 figure of 183 g/km (down from 210 g/km).

The MZR 1.8-litre engine produces a maximum of 126 ps of power at 6,500 rpm and 167 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. This entry-level model has a top speed of 122 mph. The new 1.8-litre engine is 16ps up on the previous 1.6-litre engine and with fuel efficiency gains of 2.5 mpg - the vehicle returns 38.7 mpg on the combined cycle - and only emits 174 g/km compared with the 210 g/km of the outgoing 1.8i engine.

Manual five-speed and six-speed transmissions

The manual transmission mated to the MZR 1.8-litre engine is an enhanced version of the five-speed transmission of the previous Mazda MX-5 model. For the MZR 2.0-litre engine there is a newly developed six-speed manual transmission that features even shorter shift travel with especially low-effort shifting.

Extensive standard equipment package

The new Mazda MX-5’s standard equipment package includes two front airbags, passenger seat airbag deactivation, 16-inch steel wheels with 205/50 tyres, height-adjustable steering wheel, an aero board wind-blocker, vinyl soft top with heated glass rear window, retractable key, remote central locking and an audio system.

Standard equipment for 2.0 Sports models includes 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/45 tyres, premium cloth soft top, a storage net in the passenger foot well, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, gear shift knob and handbrake lever, leather faced heated seats, six audio speakers, and stainless steel scuff plates.

Among the most important options are metallic paint exterior colours, a black leather interior with seat heating, a “LogIn” keyless entry and start system, Bose audio system and an anti-theft alarm system.

Side airbags and pedestrian protection

The new Mazda MX-5’s passive safety system includes an important innovation - side airbags for head and torso as standard on 2.0 models. They are integrated into the seatback sides and consist of two chambers, which are activated at the same time. The upper chamber protects the occupant’s head and remains firmer and inflated longer than the lower chamber, achieving an effect similar to curtain airbags in a closed-body vehicle. The lower and somewhat smaller airbag chamber provides optimal protection for the torso.

The MX-5’s aluminium bonnet, like that of the Mazda RX-8, is designed to provide optimal pedestrian protection. A shock cone structure on the inner bonnet panel absorbs the majority of contact energy. Side airbags, dynamic stability control and traction control systems are standard on all 2.0 models.

Competitive ownership costs

Thanks to the excellent levels of security, including Thatcham 1 alarm and immobiliser (standard on all derivatives), together with the modest overall costs of service, maintenance and repair - which remains at a similar level to the outgoing models - the insurance groups for the all-new MX-5 remain equally competitive in the non-premium S segment, ranging from 11E to 13E.

Meanwhile, residual value experts say used car values at three years/60,000 miles on the new MX-5 will be in line with those more frequently associated with premium badge marques because demand in the used car market for the two-seater continues to be enormous. Figures from CAP Motor Research range from the Mazda MX-5 retaining 43 per cent of its P11d value for the flagship model to 47 per cent for the entry-level 1.8i derivative at three years/60,000 miles. Published 13 November 2005 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Mazda MX-5 news article may have changed since publication on the 13 November 2005. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Mazda dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018