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Facelifted Mazda MX-5 coming

Family smile: The Mazda roadster’s revised front fascia adopts the look of the new CX-5 SUV.

Mazda reveals midlife MX-5 facelift and promises local release by end of this year

6 Jul 2012

MAZDA will introduce a facelifted MX-5 roadster in Australia later this year with a new nose treatment, an active bonnet to improve pedestrian safety and a few mechanical tweaks to improve driveability.

The midlife makeover of the world’s most popular sportscar – which has just gone on sale in Japan – is scheduled to appear at the Sydney motor show in October hitting local showrooms soon after as a 2013 model.

Mazda in Japan has also announced that domestic leasing of the all-electric version of the Demio (Mazda2) will begin in October.

Released in Japan this week in two guises – a convertible soft-top and a retractable hardtop – the new MX-5 sports more prominent side skirts.

The front fascia has been designed to look more aggressive, with a dark grey bar across the top of a larger grille opening (similar to the new CX-5), lower lip spoilers and more prominent fog light housings with black ‘eyebrows’.

New-design 17-inch wheels feature on the Japanese hardtop model.

Minor colour differences distinguish the two variants both inside and out, including headlight housings, wheels, instrument surrounds and interior doorhandles.

22 center imageFrom top: 2013 Mazda MX-5 Mazda Demio.

The active bonnet feature lifts the trailing edge of the hood a small amount when sensors detect a frontal impact exceeding a defined level, which is designed to lessen the impact to a pedestrian.

Mechanically, Mazda’s engineers have revised the throttle management software on manual transmission models to make the response more linear when accelerating out of corners.

All models get modified brake boosters to help drivers better modulate the car’s stopping power by improving feel.

They also reduced weight slightly – no figure has been released – in areas such as the wheels, bonnet, wiring and the new front fascia.

Meanwhile, Mazda said it would lease about 100 Demio EVs in Japan from October, mainly to local governments and corporate customers in the area around Mazda headquarters in Hiroshima.

Mazda claims the “independently developed” EV with its lithium-ion battery has a range of 200km under the Japanese JC08 test cycle.

Weighing 1180kg – about 150kg more than an Australia-market Mazda2 – the Demio EV has a single electric motor developing 75kW of power from 5200rpm all the way up to 12,000rpm, and 150Nm of torque from zero to 2800rpm.

A full battery recharge takes eight hours on a normal charge or 40 minutes on an 80 per cent fast charge.

The company claims “an exhilarating driving experience, including powerful acceleration, precise handling and a comfortable ride”, with no impact on interior space, the five-seat accommodation or cargo-carrying capacity.

Mazda says it has “a long history of research and development into electric-powered vehicles” and is using the lease program “to gain further knowledge of electric-drive technology and the usefulness of such products to the customer”.

It is priced in Japan at 3,577,000 yen ($A43,600).

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