The All New Mazda MX-5 | Part Four

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

Powertrain

Engines: Light, compact, highly responsive, powerful MZR engines with appropriately sporty intake and exhaust notes were developed to assure that the MX-5 is brisk, nimble, linear in response, and very fun to drive. Based on the acclaimed MZR engine series installed in other Mazda models, these engines are front-midship mounted on the MX-5 and adopt the latest technologies developed to boost power appropriately for a lightweight sports car while supporting environmental compatibility with greater fuel-economy and reduced emissions. In Europe a 1.8 litre engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox is available along with a 2.0 litre engine with a choice of 5 or 6-speed gearbox.

Technology

The Mazda R&D team has developed new architecture designed for the future of the sports car. The team capitalized on experience gained in developing the technology and architecture of the RX-8 in the development of new MX-5 - model that has the same Mazda sports car DNA. Though these two sports cars do not share essential components, each is designed with the optimal parts and layout for the particular model.

Craftsmanship

To maximize the immediacy of the driver-vehicle interface, in addition to static attributes, the MX-5 development team placed special emphasis on dynamic aspects of craftsmanship.

The fit of the driver to the car and its controls is a critical aspect of any enjoyable lightweight sports car. State of the art analysis tools were employed to assure that all drivers ranging from 150 cm (4 ft, 11 in) to 186 cm (6 ft, 1 in) in stature could realize a comfortable seating position.

Legroom and headroom are increased by 10 mm (0.4 in) and 17 mm (0.7 in) respectively to accommodate 95-percentile US males. Fore-and-aft adjustment is increased by 50 mm (2.0 in) over the previous MX-5. Another improvement is the addition of a steering wheel adjuster offering 32 mm (1.3 in) of vertical movement.

Safety, Security, Environmental Awareness

The design of the third-generation MX-5 embodies a high level of active and passive safety. Drivers are helped to avoid a collision by simply exploiting the MX-5’s outstanding ability to steer or brake out of harm’s way. Dynamic stability (yaw) control is now available as an option or standard in most markets. Four-wheel anti-lock braking system is also available as standard or as an option.

Windshield pillars that are more widely separated and moved slightly rearward afford an enhanced view of the road ahead. Sun visors are positioned high enough in the stowed position not to block the driver’s view.

continues... | Part Five
Published 28 June 2005 Melanie Carter
 

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