The New Mazda MX-5's 'Unique Profile' - The Side Silhouette

The New Mazda MX-5

The side silhouette is what is unique about the Mazda MX-5 and the aspect that had to be kept, according to Chief Designer Yasushi Nakamuta.

"We identified the areas that we had to keep and then thought of variations," said Nakamuta, speaking at this month’s Geneva motor show where the third generation of the sports car made its world debut.

"The most difficult part was that it had to look light and agile - our first concept was much bigger than the final production version," he said.

MX-5 is built off a unique platform and it was only the close co-operation of the engineering team that allowed the designers to develop the car the way they wanted.

Engineer Takao Kijima, programme manager for the new car, also worked on the first MX-5 and was responsible for the suspension. He is delighted that the latest version still keeps that "fun to handle" aspect and the car weighs just 10kg more than the current model despite being bigger in every key area.

Sixteen years and 700,000 sales from its first appearance the latest version stays true to the iconic original’s simplicity and style.

But it has moved on with a toned bodywork displaying eyebrows over the wheelarches and stronger front and nose treatments as well as a modernised interior.

The changes are apparent to the eye but it is under the tauter bodywork that the biggest progress has taken place.

The familiar 1.6 litre engine has been dropped because it was taking only 20 per cent of UK registrations compared to the 80 per cent of the 1.8, which continues with 126PS and is joined by a new 160PS 2.0.

A new six-speed gearbox has been brought in alongside a five-speed version with double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, reworked steering and brakes.

The new Mazda MX-5 sits on a wider track and longer wheelbase to improve ride comfort and handling, and the engineers have stiffened the chassis to enhance feel.

Aluminium has been used for the engine, with cast iron liners, and the lightweight metal is also used in chassis components.

The result is a bigger car with 47 per cent greater rigidity, but it gains just 10KGS in weight.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 16/03/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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