Car reviews - Mazda - MX-5 - convertible
14 Feb 2001
By BRUCE NEWTON
TRANSMISSION comes in the form of a five-speed manual and, if you must, a four-speed auto. The delightful, short-throw manual shift - kept under 45mm - has been improved and now has a slicker action. Select strokes between gates first and second, third/fourth and fifth/reverse are 20mm. The manual gearbox is a two-shaft type with synchronisers on all gears. The synchroniser cone for the first gear has a large 65mm diameter, and a double-cone synchroniser is used on second gear. Both improve on shift smoothness and precision. The automatic is all-new and features a torque converter designed to improve responsiveness. Shift response is claimed to have improved by 20 per cent, and smoothness 50 per cent. The auto is a compact, lightweight design, measuring 230mm in diameter. The torque converter lockup and gear changes are controlled by an automatic transmission control unit which interacts with the engine control computer.
Did you know?The manual shift lever's built-in elasticity has been recalibrated and halved, reducing free play at the top of the knob from 6mm to 3mm before a metal stopper comes into contact
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