1 Sep 2005
IT was all-change for the world’s best selling sports car of all time, but not so you couldn’t tell that it was a Mazda MX-5.
Only the side repeater lamps have been carried over from the old car and Mazda’s Hiroshima-based designers have tried to remain true to the essence of the classic rear-wheel drive roadster concept.
Feedback from customers had indicated they wanted more space and an improvement in quality and performance but little else.
Importantly, the newest sportscar, at 1105kg, is just 4kg heavier than the old car but bigger in every respect, including passenger room, as well as being stronger and safer.
The wheelbase is up 65mm to 2330mm, while the car is 20mm longer (3990mm), 40mm wider (1720mm) and 20mm higher (1245mm).
It is also significantly stronger with a 22 per cent improvement in stiffness and 47 per cent increase in torsional rigidity.
Engine size is up from 1.8-litre to 2.0-litre and delivers more power and torque – 118kW at 6700rpm and 188Nm at 5000rpm.
The car’s 50/50 weight balance has also been maintained.
The double wishbone front suspension carries over and for the first time the rear set-up is multi-link while Australian-cars gain 17-inch alloys in place of the 16-inch wheel package offered in other markets.
The handling package is rounded off with larger front and rear disc brakes and a more linear power steering system with 2.7 turns lock-to-lock.
Mazda claims modest fuel consumption improvements too, recording 8.5L/100km for the manual.
Equipment upgrades now include side airbags complementing the dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, a limited slip differential on the manual, 17-inch alloys, cruise control, six-stack CD stereo, steering wheel mounted audio controls and tilt adjustable steering.
From late 2006, stability and traction control were made standard.
For 2007 Mazda has joined the growing legions of hardtop convertibles, by offering an electronically-controlled three-piece retractable hardtop to its MX-5 model range. This is in addition to the conventional vinyl-top version already offered.
The Roadster coupe is equipped at a higher level than the standard soft-top, with leather trim and a Bose sound system fitted as standard.
Weighing just 37kg more than the soft-top, is powered by the same 2.0-litre MZR four-cylinder engine with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and now also introduces extra safety with the addition of traction control and dynamic stability control as standard equipment.