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Mazda MX-5

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Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5
Manufacturer Mazda
Also called Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda Miata
Eunos Roadster
Mazda Roadster
Production 1989–present
Assembly Hiroshima, Japan (Hiroshima Plant)
Body and chassis
Class Sports Car
Layout FR layout
Platform Mazda N platform

The MX-5, released as the MX-5 Miata in North America and as the Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Manufactured by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan, the model debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show. The MX-5 was conceived as a small roadster – with light weight and minimal mechanical complexity limited only by legal and safety requirements; technologically modern and reliable. The MX-5 is conceptually an evolution of the small British and Italian sports roadsters of the 1960s such as the Triumph Spitfire, MG MGB, Datsun 2000, Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Alfa Romeo Spider, and particularly the Lotus Elan.

The second generation MX-5 (NB) was launched in 1998 and the current (NC) model has been in production since 2005. It continues to be the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history[1] and by February 2011 over 900,000 MX-5s had been built and sold around the world.[2]

Since the launch of the third generation, Mazda consolidated worldwide marketing using the MX-5 name with the exception of the United States where it is marketed as the MX-5 Miata.[3] The name Miata derives from Old High German for reward.[4]

Generations and overview

The MX5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-4 engine to 1993, a 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine thereafter (with a DE-tuned 1.6 as a budget option in some markets) – recognizable by its pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1999 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights and the glass rear window, although first generation owners may opt for the glass window design when replacing the original top. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2006 with a 2.0 L (120 cu in) engine.

Launched at a time when production of small roadsters had almost come to an end, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the only comparable volume model in production at the time of the MX-5's launch. Just a decade earlier, a host of similar models — notably the MG B, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire, and Fiat Spider — had been available.

The body is a conventional, but light, unibody or monocoque construction, with (detachable) front and rear subframes. The MX-5 also incorporates a longitudinal truss, marketed as the Powerplant Frame (PPF), providing a rigid connection between the engine and differential, minimizing flex and contributing to responsive handling. Some MX-5s feature limited slip differentials and anti-lock braking system. Traction control is an option available on NC models. The earlier cars weighed just over a ton, with engine power output usually 116 bhp (87 kW). The later cars were heavier, with higher power engines.

With an approximate 50:50 front/rear weight balance, the car has nearly neutral handling. Inducing oversteer is easy and very controllable, thus making the MX-5 a popular choice for amateur and stock racing, including, in the US, the Sports Car Club of America's Solo2 autocross and Spec Miata race series, and in the UK, the 5Club Racing championship.

The MX-5 has won awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989 and 2005; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time"; 2005–2006 Car of the Year Japan; and 2005 Australian Car of the Year. The Miata has also made Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 14 times. In their December 2009 issue, Grassroots Motorsports magazine named the Miata as the most important sports car built during the previous 25 years.

In 2009, English automotive critic Jeremy Clarkson wrote:
The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen.[5]

The MX-5 has 100,000 examples registered in the UK as of June 2011.[6]

Design genesis

In 1976, Bob Hall, a journalist at Motor Trend magazine who was an expert in Japanese cars and fluent in the language, met Kenichi Yamamoto and Gai Arai, head of Research and Development at Mazda. Yamamoto and Gai Arai asked Hall what kind of car Mazda should make in the future:[7]

I babbled [...] how the [...] simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically-British sports car doesn't exist any more. I told Mr. Yamamoto that somebody should build one [...] inexpensive roadster.[8]

In 1981, Hall moved to a product planning position with Mazda USA and again met Yamamoto, now chairman of Mazda Motors, who remembered their conversation about a roadster and in 1982 gave Hall the go-ahead to research the idea further.[7] At this time Hall hired designer Mark Jordan to join the newly formed Mazda design studio in Southern California. There, Hall and Jordan collaborated on the parameters of the initial image, proportion and visualization of the "light-weight sports" concept. In 1983, the idea turned concept was approved under the "Offline 55" program, an internal Mazda initiative that sought to change the way new models were developed. Thus, under head of project Masakatsu, the concept development was turned into a competition between the Mazda design teams in Tokyo and California.[7]

The Californian team proposed a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, codenamed Duo 101, in line with the British roadster ancestry, but their Japanese counterparts favored the more common front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout or the rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.

The first round of judging the competing designs was held in April 1984, with designs presented on paper only. The mid-engined car appeared to offer favorable qualities, although it was known at the time that such a layout would struggle to meet the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) requirements of the project. It was only at the second round of the competition in August 1984, when full-scale clay models were presented, that the Duo 101 won the competition and was selected as the basis for what would become the MX-5.

The Duo 101, so named as either a soft top or hardtop could be used, incorporated many key stylistic cues inspired by the Lotus Elan, a 1960s roadster, including the door handles and grill opening. International Automotive Design (IAD) in Worthing, England was commissioned to develop a running prototype, codenamed V705. It was built with a fiberglass body, a 1.4 L (85 cu in) engine from a Mazda Familia and components from a variety of early Mazda models. The V705 was completed in August 1985 and taken to the US where it rolled on the roads around Santa Barbara, California and got positive reactions.

The project received final approval on 18 January 1986.[7] The model's codename was changed to P729 as it moved into the production phase, under head of program Toshihiko Hirai. The task of constructing five engineering mules (more developed prototypes) was again allocated to IAD, which also conducted the first front and rear crash tests on the P729. While Tom Matano,[9] After Mark Jordan, Wu Huang Chin, Norman Garrett, and Koichi Hayashi worked on the final design, the project was moved to Japan for engineering and production details.

By 1989, with a definitive model name now chosen, the MX-5 (as in "Mazda Experiment", project number 5) was ready to be introduced to the world as a true lightweight sports car, weighing just 940 kg (2,070 lb).

Although Mazda's concept was for the MX-5 to be an inexpensive sports car, at introduction the design met strong demand, with many dealers placing customers on pre-order lists and several dealers across North America increasing the vehicle markup.

Jinba ittai

Mazda used a design credo across the three generations of the MX5's development: the phrase Jinba ittai (人馬一体, ),[10] which translates loosely into English as "rider (jin) horse (ba) as one body (ittai)".[10]

With the first generation of the MX-5, the phrase was developed into five specific core design requirements:[10]

  • That the car would be as compact and as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements.
  • That the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full-stature occupants with no wasted space.
  • That the basic layout would continue with the original's front-midship rear-drive configuration with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for 50:50 weight distribution.
  • That all four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tire performance, road grip, and dynamic stability.
  • And that a power-plant frame would again provide a solid connection between the engine and rear-mounted differential to sharpen throttle response.

First generation (NA)

First Generation (NA)
Production 1989-1997
Designer Shunji Tanaka (1986)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Platform Mazda NA
Engine 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6ZE(RS) I4
1.8 L (110 cu in) BP I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,265 mm (89.2 in)
Length 3,950 mm (155.5 in)
Width 1,675 mm (65.9 in)
Height 1,230 mm (48.4 in)
Curb weight 940 kg (2,070 lb)

The MX-5 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989, with a price tag of US$14,000 (US$25,400 in 2011 adjusted for inflation[11]). The MX-5, with production code NA, was made available for delivery to buyers worldwide in the following dates: May 1989 (as a 1990 model) in the US and Canada; September 1, 1989 in Japan; and 1990 in Europe. An optional hardtop was made available at the same time, in sheet moulding compound (SMC). Demand initially outstripped production, fueled by enthusiastic press reviews.

In Japan, the car was not badged as a Mazda, as the company was experimenting with the creation of different marques for deluxe models, similar to Nissan's Infiniti and Toyota's Lexus (both brands of which launched at the same time as the Miata). Instead, the Mazda MX-5 was sold as the Eunos Roadster in Japan, and was joined by the MX-3/AZ-3/Eunos Presso (based on Japanese Mazda dealerships).

The body shell of the NA was all-steel with a light-weight aluminium hood. Overall dimensions were 3,970 mm (156 in) in length, 1,675 mm (65.9 in) in width, and 1,235 mm (48.6 in) in height. Without options, the NA weighed only 2,150 lb (980 kg). Drag coefficient was indicated as 0.38. Suspension was an independent double wishbone on all four wheels, with an anti-roll bar at the front and rear. Four wheel-disc brakes, ventilated at the front, were behind alloy wheels with 185/60HR14 radial tires. The base model came with stamped steel wheels from the then-current 323/Protege.

1990 Mazda MX5 1,600cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine. This example has been modified with the addition of a GReddy TD04(Mitsubishi) turbocharger kit

The original MX-5 came with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine, producing 86 kW (115 bhp) at 6,800 rpm, and 136 N·m (100 lbf·ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine employs an electronic fuel injection system using a vane-type air flow meter and an electronic ignition system with a crankshaft angle sensor instead of a distributor.[12] This engine, codename B6ZE(RS), was specifically designed for the MX-5 and featured a lightened crankshaft, flywheel, and aluminum sump with cooling fins.

Standard transmission was 5-speed manual. In Japan and the US, an optional automatic transmission was also offered but proved to be unpopular. The Japanese and American markets also received an optional viscous limited slip rear differential, although it was only available for cars with a manual transmission. To achieve the low introductory price, the base model was stripped. It had steel wheels, manual steering, roll-up windows, and no stereo or air-conditioning. Power steering, air-conditioning, and stereo were added as standard equipment in later years.

The NA could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.1 seconds and had a top speed of 126 mph (203 km/h) although Japanese market Eunos models were limited to 112 mph (180 km/h). This first generation of Miata (often referred to as the NA) included a special Limited Edition of 250 examples in 1991, produced in British Racing Green with the first use of tan interior, to celebrate the highly successful launch of the MX-5 in the UK. These have a numbered brass plaque on the dash above the glovebox and on the front of the Owners Book,[13] and are fitted with alloy wheels from MSW (Mazda Sports Workshop) which are often mistaken for BBS's, but are entirely unique to this model.

1990 Mazda MX-5 right hand drive interior.

1500 LE (Limited Edition) cars were produced in 1993. This model featured red leather interior, upgraded stereo, Nardi shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise, limited slip differential, power windows, power mirrors, power steering, air conditioning, BBS wheels, Bilstein shocks, front and rear spoilers, ABS brakes, stainless sill plates, and Harley style peanut tank door speaker trim. All 1993 LE cars came in black.

For the 1994 model year, the first-generation MX-5 was freshened with the introduction of the more powerful 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-ZE engine, dual airbags and a limited slip differential in some markets. The chassis was substantially braced to meet new side-impact standards, most visibly by adding a "track bar" between the seatbelt towers inside the car, but also to the front and rear subframes. Also, 1994 and 1995 were the only years in which Mazda offered a light metallic blue paint (Laguna Blue Mica), making these cars rare collectors cars to some. 1994 also saw the introduction of the "R" package, a sport-themed package with Bilstein shocks and subtle underbody spoilers, in addition to the removal of unnecessary items such as power steering. No body style changes were made, however.

The new 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine produced 98 kW (131 bhp), which was then increased to 99 kW (133 bhp) for the 1996 model year. The base weight increased to 990 kg (2,180 lb). Performance was improved slightly, the additional power being partly offset by the extra weight. In some markets such as Europe, the 1.6 L (98 cu in) engine continued to be available as a lower-cost option, but was detuned to 66 kW (89 bhp). This lower-powered model did not receive all the additional chassis bracing of the new 1.8 L (110 cu in). Japanese and US cars were fitted with an optional Torsen LSD, which was far more durable than the previous viscous differential.

The retractable headlamps of the NA (front car) were replaced by fixed headlamps on the NB (rear car).

There were a number of trim levels and special editions available, determined by local Mazda marketing departments. In the US, the base model was offered for US$13,995 at launch and was very basic, with manual windows, steel wheels, and without A/C or power steering. The "A Package" offered power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum alloy wheels and cassette stereo. The "B Package" added power windows, along with cruise control and headrest speakers, while the "C Package" included a tan interior and top and leather seats. The "R Package" was for racing, and the annual special editions were formalized as "M Editions". These included all of the luxury options from the "C Package" as well as special paint and, sometimes, special wheels. In the UK, to celebrate Mazda's 24 hours of Le Mans win, Mazda brought out a special edition of the MX-5, with the winner's color scheme (see Mazda 787B) and came equipped with BBR (Brodie Brittain Racing) turbo conversion; the car is one of the most sought after special edition cars of the MX-5s.

The first generation MX-5 was phased out with the 1997 model year (with the exception of 400 limited edition Berkeley models sold only in the UK in 1999 to mark the end of the NA), with the final 1500 NAs produced for the US market being the "STO" ("Special Touring Option") versions.

M2 special editions

Facelift Mazda MX-5 (Australia)
Facelift Mazda MX-5 (Australia)

A small range of Miata units were assembled by the M2 Incorporated. Founded in November 1991, M2, also known as "Mazda Too", was Mazda's new off-line planning / niche-house / Research & Development company back in the early '90s. The M2 Corp. employees had noble intentions — creating niche-mobiles derived from Mazda's volume products. Although M2's basic mission involved focusing on the "soft" aspects of vehicle design in an attempt to create more specifically targeted niche variants, the changes to the off-line cars would go well beyond mere cosmetics.

Heading the M2 operation was Mr. Masakatsu Kato, original father of the Miata (Eunos Roadster) in Japan, as well as creator of several Mazda concept vehicles. Kato-san was assisted by Hirotaka Tachibana, development engineer responsible for the superb dynamics of the FC (second-generation RX-7) and the NA Roadster (Miata MX-5). M2 Corp. was based out of Tokyo, Japan. M2-Corp was a 100% owned subsidiary of Mazda, and it was closed by Mazda in 1995. Mazda kept a similar program going with the Mazdaspeed vehicles, and then in the late '90s Mazdaspeed was absorbed into Mazda as a subsidiary company in Mazda Auto Tokyo. There were many types of M2 branded vehicles between 1991 and 1995, beginning with the 1001 up to the 1031 Cafe Racer (Dec-91).

M2-1001 Cafe Roadster (Dec-91) Limited 1/300 M2 Corp. released the M2-1001 Roadster in December 1991. It was a special "Limited Production" Roadster variant that was a short production run of only 300 units, in a special Blue/Black Mica Paint, with a sticker price of $26,000. Prospective buyers were required to show up in person at M2's Tokyo headquarters to register for a lottery to place an order for this extremely limited Roadster.

This upscale Eunos Roadster was M2's first turn-key, race-ready offering. Here is a list of some of the goodies that made it so popular: functional front airdam with integrated fog lamps, vintage aero mirrors, 4-point roll bar, vintage gauge cluster, fixed back bucket seats, polished 3-spoke steering wheel, stiffer suspension package with M2 specific rates, polished aluminum strut brace, upgraded exhaust by HKS, intake system, 1.6L motor with new aggressive pistons, upgraded camshaft, lightweight flywheel, LSD cooling intake, manual steering, manual windows (A/C was optional), racing pedals, centerless console with matching shortened radio bezel, aluminum gas filler cap, a more aggressive wheel & tire package (15" x 6" Panasport rims), and a rear spoiler (which became standard for the R package). The performance changes made to the Roadster would bump the power to 132 bhp (98 kW) @ 7,000 rpm, and 109 lbf·ft (148 N·m) of torque @ 5,500 rpm. Once released, it proved so popular that people were paying up to $35,000 for one.

M2-1002 Vintage Roadster (Nov-92) Limited 1/300 M2-CORP released its second Roadster in late 1992, with a sightly different front bumper but all the same items as the previous 1001 Roadster. This one did not do as well as the 1001.

M2-1028 Street Competition Roadster (Feb-94) Limited 1/300 M2-CORP released its third Roadster in early 1994, based on the original "Jinba Ittai" concept made by Toshihiko Hirai. This was billed as a track-ready Roadster. (The US saw a cheaper version known as the R-Package.) Offered in Chaste White or Brilliant Black only, this Roadster used the new 1.8L powerplant with upgraded pistons, camshafts, and other similar goodies as the previous 1001 and 1002. This Roadster had an output of close to 150 bhp (110 kW), and included 14" Eunos Factory Rims with a unique gunmetal paint with polished lip. The only real changes were a new set of lightweight side mirrors, MOMO Steering Wheel, Centerless console, racing seats, racing tow hook, a set of lower lip spoilers (R-Package), and a newly designed "Duck-Tail" trunk lid with integrated spoiler. The M2-1028 trunk lid was made from aluminum and weighed only 7.7 lb (3.5 kg), a very light weight from the original lid of 15.5 lb (7.0 kg). It also came with a 6-point roll cage, but no soft-top, instead featuring a tarp that stretched over the cage. With optional FRP Hardtop with plexiglass rear window for more weight savings coming in at only 19 lb (8.6 kg).

BBR MX-5 Turbo

Brodie Britain Racing (BBR) of Brackley, United Kingdom, have had a long history of involvement with the first generation (NA) cars in the UK, having supplied parts and equipment for a dealer supplied BBR Turbo version of the car between 1990 and 1991. This raised power output to 150 bhp (110 kW), and produced 154 ft·lb (209 N·m) of torque. The kit comprised 68 parts and was covered by a full dealer warranty. They were supplied and fitted to around 750 UK spec cars, including for the 1991 'Le Mans' special edition, with a further 150 kits being supplied overseas.[7]

Two decades later in 2011, BBR now offer a turn-key refurbishment package for old NA MX-5's, again including a turbo charger kit. This now increases power output to 220 bhp (160 kW), and produces 175 ft·lb (237 N·m) of torque. The estimated top speed is now 140 mph (230 km/h), with 0-60 approached in 5.5 seconds. The turbo charger used is the Garrett GT25 ball race unit, and the package also includes an air-to-air intercooler, and a digital piggy-back ECU to control timing, fueling, and boost pressures. Subject to a satisfactory donor car, the refurbishment and turbo upgrade package includes rust treatment, a paint respray, new seats, wheels, and other trim. As of January 2011 the cost for a 'refreshed' BBR MX-5 Turbo is £7,500.[14]

Technical specifications (UK)

Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)[7]
Model year(s) Model no(s). Chassis code(s) Engine type Engine code Transmission(s) Power@rpm Torque@rpm
1989–1993 1.6i NA 1.6 L inline-4 B6ZE(RS) 5-speed MT 114 bhp (85 kW) @6,500 100 ft·lbf (136 N·m) @5,500
1994–1998 1.6i NA 1.6 L inline-4 BP-4W 5-speed MT 88 bhp (66 kW) -
1994–1995 1.8i NA 1.8 L inline-4 BP-4W 5-speed MT 128 bhp (95 kW) @6,500 110 ft·lbf (149 N·m) @5,000
1996–1997 1.8i NA 1.8 L inline-4 BP-4W 5-speed MT 133 bhp (99 kW) @6500 -

Second generation (NB)

Second Generation (NB)
Production January 1998–2005
Designer Tom Matano (1995)[15][16]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Platform Mazda NB
Engine 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6-ZE I4 (Europe/Japan)
1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-5A I4 (Japan)
1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-4W I4
1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-Z3 I4
1.8 L (110 cu in) turbocharged BPT I4 (Mazdaspeed)
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,270 mm (89.4 in)
Length 3,940–3,950 mm (155.1–155.5 in)
Width 1,680 mm (66.1 in)
Height 1,220–1,230 mm (48.0–48.4 in)
Curb weight 1,065 kg (2,348 lb)

The redesigned MX-5 was previewed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997. In February 1998, Mazda released the second-generation MX-5, production code NB, for the 1999 model year. The NB featured a more powerful engine and external styling cues borrowed from the third generation Mazda RX-7 model, designed in 1995 by Tom Matano. Prices in the United States, the main market for the MX-5, started at US$19,770 (US$26,700 in 2011 adjusted for inflation[11]).

Although many parts of the interior and body were different, the most notable changes were the headlamps: the first generation's retractable headlamps no longer passed pedestrian safety tests and were replaced by fixed ones. The new car grew slightly in width compared to the earlier model; its dimensions were: length 3,945 mm (155.3 in), width 1,678 mm (66.1 in), height 1,228 mm (48.3 in) and wheelbase 2,265 mm (89.2 in). Without options, the NB weighed 1000 kg (2300 lb). The new generation was slightly more aerodynamic than the original, with a Cd figure of 0.36.

The NB continued to employ four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars at the front and rear, but the wheels, tires and brakes were significantly upgraded: anti-lock braking system was offered as an option; alloy wheels were now 14 in (360 mm) or 15 in (380 mm) in diameter and 6 in (150 mm) in width, depending on the trim package; sports models were equipped with the larger wheels and 195/50VR15 tires.

The BP-4W engine remained at 1.8 L (110 cu in) but received several minor updates. The engine compression ratio was raised from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 by adding slightly domed pistons; the intake cam was changed to a solid lifter design with a stronger cam; the intake runners in the head were straightened and the intake manifold was mounted higher up. Mazda's Variable Intake Control System was introduced, which effectively gave a long narrow intake manifold at low rpm for better swirl, changing to a short, free-flowing manifold at high rpm for maximum breathing. Power output of the new engine was quoted at 104.4 kW (140.0 bhp) with 116 lbf·ft (157 N·m) of torque.

The 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6 engine remained available in Europe and Japan. The base-model 1.8 L (110 cu in) NB could reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.8 s and had a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).

MX-5 10th Anniversary Model (1999)

In 1999, Mazda celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MX-5 with the 10th Anniversary Model, a limited edition featuring some until-then exclusive features, namely a six-speed transmission and Bilstein shock absorbers; performance figures were slightly different, with slower acceleration but higher top speed than the standard 5-speed model. The model's nickname among owners and enthusiasts was 10AM or 10AE (as in "10th Anniversary Edition"). The car had a unique sapphire blue mica (called innocent blue in Japan) paint colour with two-toned black leather and blue alcantara seats. The addition of the sixth gear resulted in different performance results, with 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the standard 5-speed model, according to Car and Driver, and 0.4 seconds faster according to Motor Trend.[17][18] However, in spite of the 10AM's greater weight, its top rated speed increased from 210 to 214 km/h (130 to 133 mph). Combined fuel consumption improved from 8.5 to 8.0 l/100 km (33 to 35 mpg-imp; 28 to 29 mpg-US).

Each car was sequentially numbered on a badge on the driver-side front quarter panel. A "Certificate of Authenticity" with the same number came with each car, signed by Mazda President James E. Miller and dated 10 February 1999. On certain markets, a gift set was also included, consisting of a 1/24 scale diecast model, two Seiko-branded wristwatches (his and hers) with matching blue faceplate and Miata logo, and metal keychain in the form of the Miata logo, all encased in a luxury blue velvet box.[7] Despite the publicity that Mazda gave to this model, it took more than a year to sell all units, drawing criticism that too many units had been produced (another factor was the high price with an MSRP of $26,875, about $6500 more than a base model). For comparison, there were 3,500 units of the NC's 3rd Generation Limited launch model in 2005, and regular limited editions produced each year do not usually exceed 1,500 units per region. The polished wheels are notorious for corroding once the thin lacquer coating is damaged. Mazda replaced thousands of sets under warranty. There were minor differences in specification according to the market, such as no sports appearance package (front/side/back skirts, rear wing) or air conditioning for Europe.

7,500 units of the 10th Anniversary were produced,[7] with 3,700 distributed to Europe (of which: 600 - UK, 20 - Portugal), 3,150 to North America (of which 3,000 to US and 150 to Canada), 500 to Japan and 150 to Australia. Car number 7,500 was sold in the UK.

Facelift (2001)

2002 Mazda MX5 1.8 Sport Interior. There are many improvements over the Mk1 Interior, but it still retains the original functional layout and feel

For the 2001 model year, a facelift to the second-generation MX-5 was released. There were some minor exterior changes, with a press-release of July 18, 2000, announcing the changes as "resulting in an even sportier and more forceful look". Fog lamps, previously an option, were made standard. Some cockpit elements were changed, with the instrument panel gauges receiving a white face and red numbers. The seats were also upgraded, incorporating more support in the side bolsters and taller headrests. Added for top models (designated 'Sport' in the U.K) were 16-inch (410 mm) wheels with 205/45VR16 low-profile tires, larger brakes at the front and rear, additional chassis stiffening braces, a limited slip differential, a 6-speed manual gearbox, Bilstein suspension and leather seats. The upgraded tires and suspension allowed the new model to pull 0.91 g in lateral grip in tests by Car and Driver magazine. The body was strengthened, gaining 16% in bending rigidity and 22% in torsional rigidity. With the minimum of options, the 2001 model weighed 1,065 kg (2,348 lb).

2002 Mazda MX5 1,840cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine, with variable valve timing on the intake camshaft

The 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-Z3 engine was slightly modified and now featured variable valve timing on the intake camshaft. The intake and exhaust system also received a minor upgrade. These modifications resulted in a power output of 113 kW (152 bhp) (Japan, UK and Australia) or 107 kW (143 bhp) (US only). In the United States, Mazda erroneously quoted the power figure for the Japanese and Australian model in early catalogues. Car and Driver magazine and numerous owners confirmed the missing power, and Mazda offered to buy back the 2001 cars due to those misleading power claims. Owners who did not take up the buy back offer were offered an apology and free servicing for the warranty period.

2002 saw the launch of the MX5 SP. The MX-5 SP was developed and sold in Australia and its turbocharged engine produced 157 kW (211 bhp) at 6800 rpm. Only 100 of these cars were built. The SP was very expensive in comparison to a standard MX5 at the time but offered blistering performance. It has fast become a cult classic and sought after model in Australia.

In 2003 Mazda launched a campaign to target a younger group of drivers with the introduction of the Shinsen Version (SV) Miata. The Shinsen (Japanese for "Fresh and New") provided an intermediate step between the base model and the pricier LS. Equipped with most standard features on the LS, such as cruise control and aluminum brush trim. This limited production model also shared an inverted color scheme of the same year Special Edition with a titanium silver exterior and dark blue top and interior.

Also in 2003, a division of Mazda in Japan released the Roadster Coupé, with a fixed hardtop roof. The body structure was reworked to incorporate the roof and gave a substantial increase in chassis rigidity with a weight increase of 10 kg (22 lb). Production was limited to 179 units for Japan only. This was to become one of the rarest forms of the MX-5.[19]

Mazdaspeed MX-5 (2004–2005)

2005 Lava Orange Mazdaspeed Miata next to a 2004 Velocity Red Mazdaspeed Miata

The 2004 model year saw the introduction of the official turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5, Roadster Turbo in Japan. It featured an IHI RHF5 VJ35 turbocharger equipped variant of the BP-4W engine that produced 180 bhp (134 kW) at 6000 rpm with a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler. The Mazdaspeed could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.2 seconds but had a top speed of only 203 km/h (126 mph) due to its low 6,500 rev limiter. With its upgraded suspension and wider tires, the Mazdaspeed model could pull over 0.98 g in lateral grip. Other features included upgraded 6-speed transmission and clutch assemblies, upgraded drivetrain components, Racing Hart 17 in (430 mm) alloy wheels, special interior trim. The 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 was only available in Velocity Red Mica and Titanium Gray Metallic for the US-market and Velocity Red Mica for the Canadian-market while the 2005 model was available additionally in Lava Orange Mica and Black Mica in the US-market, with Canada receiving only Titanium Grey Mica. Of the 5,428 Mazdaspeed MX-5s produced during model years 2004 and 2005, 4,000 were produced in 2004; the 2005 production run was shortened to only 1428, due to a fire at the production facility. This model was also marketed in Australia as an MX-5 SE without any Mazdaspeed branding (exhaust tip excluded), featured 3.63 diff gears and was available in Sunlight Silver as well as Velocity Red Mica, Titanium Gray Metallic and Black Mica for 2005. It was also slightly detuned with only 121 kW (162 bhp). Boost pressure was 7.25 psi (0.5 bar) for Australian model vs 8.5 psi (0.6 bar) of the North American and Japanese models which is the main contributor to the power difference. The MX-5 SE has been used for both gravel and tarmac rallying in Australia, showing the versatility of these cars in racing.

Technical specifications (UK)

Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)[7]
Model year(s) Model no(s). Chassis code(s) Engine type Engine code Transmission(s) Power@rpm Torque@rpm
1998–2001 1.6i NB 1.6 L inline-4 BP-4W 5-speed MT 108 bhp (81 kW) @6,500 99 ft·lbf (134 N·m) @5,000
1998–2001 1.8i NB 1.8 L inline-4 BP-4W 5 or 6-speed MT 140 bhp (100 kW) @6,500 119 ft·lbf (161 N·m) @5,000
2001–2005 1.6i NB 1.6 L inline-4 BP-Z3 5-speed MT 110 bhp (82 kW) @6,500 99 ft·lbf (134 N·m) @5,000
2001–2005 1.8i NB 1.8 L inline-4 BP-Z3 6-speed MT 146 bhp (109 kW) @6,500 124 ft·lbf (168 N·m) @5,000


The EuroNCAP Safety Ratings for MX-5s manufactured in 2002 were given 4 out of 5 stars for adult protection but only 1 out of 4 stars for pedestrian protection. EuroNCAP stated "This is a poor performance despite the MX-5 benefiting from not having to have the leading edge of its bonnet tested because of its low profile."

Euro NCAP test results
Mazda MX-5 (2002)[20]
Test Score Rating
Adult occupant: 25 4 /5 stars
Pedestrian: 7 1 /4 stars

Third generation (NC)

Third Generation (NC)
Also called Mazda MX-5 Miata (United States)
Production May 2005–2015
Designer Yasushi Nakamuta (2003)[21]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door folding hardtop roadster
Platform Mazda NC
Related Mazda RX-8
Engine 1.8 L (110 cu in) MZR I4 (Europe)
2.0 L (120 cu in) MZR I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,329.18 mm (91.7 in)
Length 4,000–4,020 mm (157.5–158.3 in)
Width 1,720 mm (67.7 in)
Height 1,240–1,255 mm (48.8–49.4 in)
Curb weight 1,110–1,153 kg (2,447–2,542 lb)[22]

Production of the third-generation MX-5, code NC, began May 17, 2005, for delivery in August, for the 2006 model year. This was partially due to the declining sales of the MX-5 during its second generation run. At its introduction in 2005, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award.

The third-generation MX-5 has fender bulges over the wheel wells.

The exterior styling (done by Yasushi Nakamuta until 2003) resembles the original design, but unlike the update from NA to NB, which was mostly a nose/tail/interior change, the NC shares no components with the NB, except for the side-panel turning-lights on non-US models. The lead stylist of this model generation was Moray Callum.

With the third generation, the suspension changed from a 4-wheel double wishbone setup to a front wishbone/rear multilink setup. Technologies like traction control and stability control were added to increase driveability. According to Car and Driver, the NC has a skidpad number of 0.90g.

For the US, the engine is the new 16-valve, 2.0 L (120 cu in) MZR I4, producing 170 bhp (130 kW) and 140 lbf·ft (190 N·m) coupled to either a 5-speed or a 6-speed manual transmission or 158 bhp (118 kW) with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission. A limited slip differential is available with the 6-speed option. In Australia the 2.0 L (120 cu in) MZR is offered, rated at 118 kW (158 bhp) and 188 N·m (139 lbf·ft) and the 6-speed transmission and LSD are standard. In Europe, two engines are offered: the 2.0 L (120 cu in) MZR rated at 158 bhp (118 kW) and 188 N·m (139 lbf·ft), coupled to the 6-speed manual transmission; and a new 1.8 L (110 cu in) MZR, rated at 126 bhp (94 kW) and 167 N·m (123 lbf·ft), coupled to the 5-speed manual transmission.

NC model mechanicals separated from the body

A six-speed automatic transmission, with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, is optional. A test by Car and Driver magazine revealed a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 6.5 s for the 2.0 L (120 cu in) U.S.-spec NC.[23] Manufacturer figures for the European-spec model are: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.4 s (1.8 L (110 cu in)) and 7.9 s (2.0 L (120 cu in)). In Japan, this generation no longer complies with Japanese government regulations concerning vehicle exterior width dimensions, and buyers in Japan are now liable for additional costs for ownership.

The NC was launched with a special edition called "3rd Generation Limited" which featured added chrome accents and special wheels. 3500 were built worldwide (300 in the UK, 750 in the US, 150 in Canada), delivered in advance of standard models.

2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT Special Edition (US)

In July 2006, Mazda debuted a coupé convertible version of the NC with a three-piece folding hardtop, named "MX-5 Roadster Coupe" in Europe, "Roadster Power Retractable Hard Top" in Japan, and "MX-5 Miata Power Retractable Hard Top" in Canada and the US. The hardtop adds 36 kg (79 lb) to the weight of a comparably equipped soft top, without diminishing trunk space when retracted. Constructed of polycarbonate,[24] the top requires 12 seconds to raise or lower, and the first models were delivered to customers in late August 2006. Performance times are slightly affected with the weight increase, to 9.6 s (1.8 L (110 cu in)) and 8.2 s (2.0 L (120 cu in)) from 0-100 km/h (62 mph), but top speed is increased from 196 km/h (121.8 mph) to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) (1.8 L (110 cu in)) and from 210 km/h (130 mph) to 215 km/h (134 mph) (2.0 L (120 cu in)), for the European-spec model.

For 2008, Mazda released a Special Edition MX-5 in Icy Blue exterior, with exclusive Dark Saddle Brown folding top, with matching leather with blue stitching steering wheel, seats, and hand brake. The Special Edition also featured a silver-accented shift knob, dark-silver finished instrument panel with chrome accents, special 17 in (430 mm) alloy wheels, stainless steel MX-5 scuff plate, and chrome front headlight bezel, as well as grille and fog lamp surrounds. The 2008 Special Edition was limited to 105 PRHT-equipped units in Canada and 750 soft-top units in the US.

2008 Facelift

2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata hardtop (US)

The MX-5 facelift was unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and Science Museum in London,[25][26] and later in 2009 Chicago Auto Show.[27][28]

The Japanese model went on sale in December 9, 2008 at Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers.[29][30]

Major changes concern the restyled front which now incorporates elements from Mazda’s newer models like the larger grille and new head and fog lights. Further restyled elements are the side skirts, rear bumper and the tail lights. The soft-top Touring and Grand Touring models feature a mesh grille bordered by a chrome frame. The hardtop Roadster Coupe now features a mesh grille bordered by a chrome frame and chrome elements inside the headlamps and outer door handles.

The instrument panel gained darker features and redesigned graphics for the gauges. To create more leg space in the cabin, a protrusion from the door pockets was eliminated.

The 2.0-litre engine was rated 167 bhp (125 kW; 169 PS) at 7,200 rpm and 140 lb·ft (190 N·m) at 5,000 rpm for 5-speed manual, 158 bhp (118 kW; 160 PS) at 6,700 rpm and 140 lb·ft (190 N·m) at 5,000 rpm for automatic. Engine redline was raised by 500 rpm to 7,200 rpm in manual model. The suspension and gearbox have been fine-tuned; latter offers smoother shifts and automatic transmission will be introduced in Europe for the first time.

MX-5 Superlight version (2009)

The MX-5 Superlight at 2009 IAA.

MX-5 Superlight is a concept car commemorating the 20th anniversary of MX-5, designed at Mazda's studio in Frankfurt, Germany. It is made of lightweight materials to improve performance, handling, fuel economy, and CO2 emissions and does not include a windshield. It was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.[31][32]

The vehicle included a MZR 1.8-litre petrol engine rated 126 PS (93 kW; 124 hp) at 6,500 rpm and 167 N·m (123 lb·ft) at 4,500 rpm, 5-speed manual transmission, double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, Bilstein monotube damper, 205/45R17 tires, 300 mm (11.8 in) ventilated front brake discs and 280 mm (11.0 in) solid rear brake discs. The "Superlight" weighs in at 2,200 lb (1,000 kg), making it 100 lb (45 kg) lighter than the original NA 1.8 series MX-5 .[33]

Mazda Roadster 20th Anniversary (2009)

The Roadster 20th Anniversary models are based on the Roadster RS soft-top model with a six-speed manual transmission, and the VS Power Retractable Hard Top (RHT) hard-top model with a six-speed automatic transmission, for the Japanese market, commemorating 20 years of Mazda Roadster. Special equipment included RECARO bucket sport seats (Black Alcantara and red leather), exclusive '20th Anniversary' badges on each side fender, clear front fog lights and bezels (black and silver on soft-top and RHT models respectively), 205/45R17 84W tires with 17-inch aluminum wheels (standard equipment on the soft-top base model), cowl connecting type front strut tower bar (standard equipment on the soft-top base model), fabric soft top with glass rear window (soft-top model only), heated seats with five temperature settings (standard equipment on the RHT base model), soft padding with synthetic leather door armrests and center console lid (standard equipment on the RHT base model).[34][35][36]


MX-5 20th Anniversary Edition (2010)

The 20th Anniversary Model is a limited (2000 units) version of MX-5 soft top with MZR 1.8L engine for European market, commemorating 20 years of MX-5. It includes a special exterior styling package with chrome grille, door handles and headlight fascia; silver-look fog lamp frames, specific 17-inch alloy wheels and 20th Anniversary logos, a strut tower bar. Available body colors include True Red, Crystal White Pearl and, specific for this edition, a new Aurora Blue (with matching painted decorative elements in the interior).

The vehicle was unveiled in 2010 Geneva Motor Show.[37]

UK model covered 32 percent of the Anniversary model production (around 600 units), which was based on soft-top 1.8 SE. It included 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels with a unique silver finish, front fog lights, chrome trims (around the grille, headlamps and fog lights), body-coloured roll bars and a supporting strut brace. Inside, the stainless steel scuff plate features a unique '20th Anniversary' logo and limited edition number, premium '20th Anniversary' branded floor mats, a body-colored front dashboard, aluminium pedal set, and manual air-conditioning, leather steering wheel, gear knob and hand-brake; MP3-compatible Radio/CD audio system with six speakers, steering wheel controls and an auxiliary (AUX) input jack for MP3 and iPod connection. Available body colours include red, white and blue. True Red, Crystal White Pearlescent, Aurora Blue Mica body colors were £395 options.[38]

MX-5 Miyako (2010)

MX-5 1.8i Miyako and 2.0i Miyako are limited (500 units each) versions of the MX-5 soft-top convertible with MZR 1.8L engine, and the powered retractable hardtop with MZR 2.0L engine respectively for UK market, commemorating 20 years of MX-5. The Miyako package included Medici premium perforated black leather trim with a red underlay and stitching, special badging, floor mats and climate control air-conditioning. The exterior includes front fog lamps, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, a front suspension strut brace, and free metallic paint with Aluminium Silver Metallic option (and Velocity Red Mica on 1.8i Miyako). Both Miyako models also included remote central locking, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, an MP3 compatible audio system with six speakers and auxiliary (AUX) jack input, heated electric mirrors and electric front windows, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobiliser. 2.0i Miyako also included Limited Slip Differential, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System.[39]

MX-5 Matte and Black Special Edition (2010)

It is a version of MX-5 with MZR 2.0L engine, commemorating 20 years of MX-5 in France. The vehicle was unveiled in 21st annual Salon du Cabriolet, Coupé & SUV in Paris.[40]

2010 SEMA concept (2010)

MX-5 Super20 included DPTune-reflashed ECU with a supercharged Cosworth motor, ACT clutch, MAZDASPEED coilover shocks and shock tower brace, and Racing Beat hollow anti-roll bars. StopTech brakes, SpeedSource brake disks, 16-inch Enkei wheels.

The vehicles was unveiled in 2010 SEMA show.[41][42]

MX-5 Sport Black (2011)

It is a limited (500 units) model of MX-5 powered retractable hardtop with 160PS MZR-2.0L engine and Sport Tech equipment package, inspired by the Mazda MX-5 GT race car, for UK market. It included Brilliant Black powered retractable hardtop, black leather interior with contrasting 'sand' colour stitching, Piano Black steering wheel and deco panel, and unique 'Black Limited Edition' exterior badging, uniquely numbered interior plaque and Limited Edition floor mats, dark 'gun metal' 17-inch alloy wheels and limited slip differential. Available body colour included Spirited Green metallic, Crystal White Pearlescent and Velocity Red mica.

The vehicle went on sale in mid-July 2011.[43]

Mazda Roadster BLACK TUNED (2011-)

The Mazda Roadster BLACK TUNED models are based on Mazda Roadster RS Power Retractable Hard Top with 2.0-liter DOHC engine and six-speed manual transmission, and Mazda Roadster VS Power Retractable Hard Top with 2.0-liter DOHC engine and six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission, for Japanese market. They included following:

  • Power Retractable Hard Top (Brilliant Black)
  • 17-inch alloy wheels (Gun Metallic)
  • Front grille garnish (Brilliant Black)
  • Door mirrors (Brilliant Black)
  • Seat back bar garnish (Brilliant Black)
  • Black leather seats (with sand-colored stitching)
  • Black door trim (with sand-colored stitching)
  • Decoration panel (piano black)
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel (with sand-colored stitching and piano black switch bezels)
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake lever (with sand-colored stitching)
  • Front fog lights (clear) and fog light bezels (black)
  • Outer door handles (body-colored)
  • Bose AUDIOPILOT2 sound system and seven speakers (no head unit)
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob (with chrome ring) RS RHT model only
  • Soft pads on the side door trim arm rests (synthetic leather) (standard equipment on the base VS RHT model)
  • Soft pad on the center console lid (synthetic leather) (standard equipment on the base VS RHT model)
  • Seat heaters (with five temperature settings) (standard equipment on the base VS RHT model)
  • Front suspension tower bar (built into the cowl) (standard equipment on the base RS RHT model)

Factory-installed option included 6-disc CD changer with AM/FM radio/MP3/WMA player and AUX jack. Available exterior body colors included Spirited Green Metallic (exclusive), Velocity Red Mica (exclusive) and Crystal Pearl White Mica (special body color).

The vehicles went on sale in 2011/10/03 at Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers.[44][45]

2011 SEMA concepts (2011)

MX-5 Spyder is a MX-5 soft top designed by Mazda North American Operations and Magna Car Top Systems. It included a single-panel grenadine-red soft-top made by Haartz Corporation, lower car body, Stratosphere White body colour, Yokohama AO48 225/45R17 performance with 17-inch 10-spoke ADVAN RS wheels in Gun Metal Metallic, turbocharged MZR 2.0-liter engine fueled by BP's isobutanol, lithium-ion racing battery made by Braille Battery, Racing Beat header, intake and exhaust muffler, MAZDASPEED coil over kit, Brembo brakes, tanned Saddle black-leather seats with Aqua leather accents and Coal Ash suede inserts, Spider Silk Gray Metallic-colored trim pieces on the doors and dash, black interior, customized floor mats by Star West, MAZDASPEED short-throw shifter.

MX-5 Super20 included Hyper Orange Mica-coloured body, stationary glossy black hardtop with matching orange stripes, color-matched roll bar, black leather seats with suede seat inserts and orange contrast channel stitching, DPTune reflashed ECU, Racing Beat 304-stainless steel header and exhaust, Racing Beat hollow front and rear anti-roll bars, ACT organic street clutch, MAZDASPEED coil overs and a shock tower brace, Power Slot slotted brake rotors, StopTech stainless steel brake lines and street performance brake pads, SpeedSource front brake ducts, black 16-inch Enkei RPF1 twin-spoke racing wheels, Toyo Proxes RA-1 245/45ZR16 high-performance tires and 20mm H&R Track+ bolt-on wheel spacers in the rear with 15mm Sparco wheel spacers in the front.

The vehicles were unveiled in 2011 SEMA show.[46]

Tokyo Auto Salon 2012 concepts (2012)

Mazda Roadster BLACK TUNED-2012 is based on Mazda Roadster BLACK TUNED, but with BBS lightweight alloy wheels, Bilstein height adjustable dampers, brembo brake system (painted in gold for the front) and RECARO seats.

Mazda Roadster NR-A 'Jimba-Ittai' (マツダ ロードスター NR-A “人馬一体号”) is a race car with ENKEI 16-inch alloy wheels, Blidgestone 16-inch tires, Bilstein dampers for the 20-millimeter lower vehicle height, Endless brake pads, TAKATA four-point seatbelts.

The vehicles were unveiled in Tokyo Auto Salon 2012.[47][48]

MX-5 Miata Special Edition (2012)

It is a limited (450 units) version of 2012 MX-5 Miata with black-only Power Retractable Hard Top, two new body (non-roof) colours, new 17-inch black gunmetal alloy wheels, black exterior accents, black heated leather seats and piano black interior finishes, six-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter or six-speed Sport automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, Premium and Suspension packages.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2012 Chicago Auto Show.[49]

MX-5 Venture Edition (2012)

MX-5 Venture Edition are limited (250 Soft-top, 550 Roadster Coupe) versions of Mazda MX-5 1.8 MZR Soft-top (SE) and 2.0 MZR Roadster Coupe (Sport Tech) for the UK market. It included Havana Brown heated leather seats, leather steering wheel and hand brake with contrasting grey stitching, matching door trim, climate control air-conditioning, piano black dashboard accents, alloy pedals, cruise control, satellite navigation system by Sanyo TomTom, choice of 3 body colours (Metropolitan Grey Mica, Ebony Mica, Crystal White Pearlescent), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a Traction Control System (TCS), Limited Slip Differential (Roadster Coupe only).[50]

MX-5 "Yusho" (2012)

It is a version of MX-5 with supercharged 2.0-liter MZR petrol engine with supercharger kit by Flyin 'Miata and Cosworth pistons and connecting rods rated 241 PS (177 kW; 238 hp) and 274 N·m (202 lb·ft) at 5450rpm, top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph), individually designed muffler with large cross sections and centrally positioned double tailpipes, six-speed manual transmission with special sports clutch and shorter final drive ratio of 4.1, suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, sport, larger stabilizer bars and lowering springs from Eibach Federn; 8Jx17 anthracite gray alloy wheels with Toyo semi-slick tires, matt-white film wrapping and white foiled rear spoiler, rear diffuser in carbon fiber-optics and the dark wheels, suede-trimmed steering wheel, Recaro sport seats with leather and Alcantara.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2012 Leipzig Motor Show.[51]

Senshu MX-5 Roadster Coupe (2012)

It is a limited (200 unit) version of MX-5 with Retractable Hard Top with 2.0-liter MZR petrol engine, six-speed manual transmission, sport-line equipment, for German market. It included dark alloy wheels with 205/45R17 tires, a "racing stripe" Seitenfolierung, a black rear diffuser, sport exhaust tailpipes and a black bezel of the front grille, light gray leather interior with embossed five-stage seat heating for driver and front passenger, accessory option include an iPod and USB adapter and lowering vehicle by 30 millimeters. Available body colors included Brilliant Black Metallic Arachneweiß Tornadoraot and metallic.

The model name was chosen by 9,600 Facebook users who had voted at the TV station DMAX. Other candidate names included "Arashi" and "Migoto".[51]

MX-5 GT Concept (2012)

It is a concept car inspired by the MX-5 GT race programme, built by Jota Sport. It included a normally aspirated 2.0-litre Mazda petrol engine rated 205 bhp, manual transmission, adjustable suspension, carbon front splitter, a rear diffuser and boot spoiler, sports exhaust system with a central tailpipe, Recaro seats, road slicks tires, body-coloured roll hoops behind the seats.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.[52]

MX-5 Kuro Edition (2012)

MX-5 Kuro are limited (200 soft-top, 400 Roadster Coupe) versions of MX-5 126PS 1.8i SE Soft-top and 160PS 2.0i Sport Tech Roadster Coupe, for the UK market. The Soft-top and Roadster Coupe included 5 and 6-speed manual transmissions respectively. Common features included a diffuser-style rear sports bumper, larger diameter sports exhaust, unique race car inspired exterior graphics, Black detailing around the front grille and front fog lights, plus unique 'Kuro Edition' badging, Stone and Black heated leather seats, Stone leather door inserts with contrasting red stitching, a silver interior deco panel with red accents, alloy pedals, premium floor mats with race inspired logo and climate control air-conditioning.

The vehicles went on sale in July 2012.[53][54]


As part of Mazda's 20th anniversary of Mazda Roadster in Japan, Motor Corporation held a special commemorative event on September 20, 2009, at its Miyoshi Proving Ground in western Japan.[55][56]

As part of Mazda's 20th anniversary of Mazda MX-5, 200 MX-5's from Europe were gathered at 24 Hours of Le Mans. A "Best of Show" competition was held during the event with a special award going to the most beautiful MX-5.[57]

2013 model year update

New features included using coordinated black and silver features to the respective soft top and power retractable hardtop cars, more aggressive looking front face, a new luxury tan color interior option, improved control of the accelerator in the manual transmission models and brakes in all models, implementing Active Bonnet for pedestrian protection, weight reduction via re-designed front bumper, new 17-inch aluminum wheels and the internal wiring. U.S. market Touring trim was replaced by Club trim with addition of black headlamps, black side mirror covers, 17"x7" gun metal black alloy wheels, Bilstein dampers, Limited-slip Differential, body color dash trim, red stitched black cloth seats, MX-5 decals, and more pronounced front and rear aerodynamic splitters. Colors for the new Club trim were limited to True Red, Brilliant Black, Crystal White Pearl, and Liquid Silver Metallic. There are only two choices for tops, black cloth top or black PRHT.

2013 Mazda Miata Club

Japanese model went on sale in Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers.[58][59][60]

MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition (2014)

The 25th Anniversary Model is a limited (1099 units) version of MX-5 with 2.0L engine, designed to celebrate 25 years of the MX-5. The base vehicle for this special edition was the top of the range Roadster Coupe 2.0 Sport Tech Nav model in the UK with 750 of the global 1099 model allocated to the UK market. All cars are painted in an exclusive colour, Soul Red Metallic and feature Brilliant Black A-Pillars, Roof Panels and Mirror Covers. Other additions include 17-inch Dark Gunmetal alloy wheels, a rear diffuser and chrome exhaust trim; each car also features a unique, Limited Edition numbered external badging. Interior changes include Light Stone heated leather seats featuring embossed 25th anniversary logos in the headrests with contrasting red stitching. This contrasting stitching continues on the steering wheel, gear stick boot and handbrake lever. Each car also has special 25th anniversary logo scuff plates on the door sills, a Dark Red hand painted decoration panel on the dash, Brilliant Black roll-over bar covers and drilled aluminium pedals. This model went on sale on the 1st of August 2014 in the UK.[61][62][63][64]

Technical specifications (UK)

Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)[7]
Model year(s) Model no(s). Chassis code(s) Engine type Engine code Transmission(s) Power@rpm Torque@rpm
2005- 2.0i NC 2.0 L inline-4 MZR 14 5 or 6-speed MT 167 bhp (125 kW) 140 ft·lbf (190 N·m)
2006- 1.8i NC 1.8 L inline-4 MZR 14 5-speed MT 126 bhp (94 kW) 123 ft·lbf (167 N·m)
2008- 2.0i NC 2.0 L inline-4 MZR 14 5 or 6-speed MT 167 bhp (125 kW) 140 ft·lbf (190 N·m)
2009- Superlight 1.8i NC 1.8 L inline-4 MZR 14 5-speed MT 124 bhp (92 kW) 123 ft·lbf (167 N·m)



Model SV Sport Club Grand Touring
Base 5-speed manual 5-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Optional - 6-speed automatic Sport with Adaptive Shift Logic and paddle shifters


Model GX GS GT
Base 5-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Optional 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic with lock-up torque converter and paddle shifters

Fourth generation (ND)

Fourth Generation (ND)
Production 2015–
Model years 2016–
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Platform Mazda ND
Wheelbase 2,315 mm (91.1 in)[65]
Length 3,915 mm (154.1 in)[65]
Width 1,730 mm (68.1 in)[65]
Height 1,235 mm (48.6 in)[65]
Curb weight 998 kg (2,200 lb)[66]

On May 23, 2012 Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. and Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled their co-operation program for a next generation roadster. A new roadster will be made for Mazda and Alfa Romeo marques based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture. Both variants will be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand. Both cars will be manufactured in Mazda’s Hiroshima plant.[67][68]

Mazda officially unveiled the fourth generation MX-5 on September 4, 2014 in Monterey, California in the US. The fourth generation MX-5 will be some 100 kg (220 lb) lighter than its third generation predecessor, thus putting the vehicle's estimated curb weight somewhere around just 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).[66]

Production numbers and details

In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records declared the MX-5 the best-selling two-seat sports car in history, with total production of 531,890 units.[1] The 250,000th MX-5 rolled out of the factory on November 9, 1992; the 500,000th, on February 8, 1999; the 750,000th, in March 2004; the 800,000th in January 2007, and 900,000th in February 2011.[2]

As of February 4, 2011, total production of MX-5 reached 900,000 units. Mazda also reapplied to Guinness World Records to have the record updated to 900,000 units.[69][70]

See also

  • Spec Miata, a class of racing cars in the U.S.
  • MaX5 Racing, a class of racing cars in the United Kingdom


  1. ^ a b Mazda MX-5 on Mazda Gabriel
  2. ^ a b "Auto Express 4 February 2011". Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  3. ^ "Mazda USA". 
  4. ^ "Reward". Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
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  • Mazda MX-5 SE. Retrieved 2006-11-05.
  • (Portuguese) Club MX-5 Portugal - History page Retrieved 2007-02-09.

External links

  • Official websites for Australia, UK, ..SU
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata at DMOZ
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