Archive for August, 2011

Mazda rumored to use laser-ignition for next-gen rotary

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Mazda Kabura Concept

Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Autocar is reporting that the next-generation rotary engine from Mazda may turn to a laser ignition system instead of traditional spark plugs. The report supposedly comes straight from the mouth of a shadowy senior engineer within the program. Mazda has been hard at work on the 16X Renesis rotary since around 2007 and the engine has seen quite a few evolutions over the intervening years. Autocar says that the design has seen displacement swell from 1.3 liters to 1.6 liters and that at least some parts of the engine have been designed to be made from aluminum to further reduce weight.

The work is in an effort to get the rotary to be more fuel efficient and provide more torque, the latter not usually being a chief attribute of this type of engine. According to Autocar, using a high-temperature laser ignition system would allow engineers to tune the Wankel to run leaner than systems that use a conventional spark plug. It would also reportedly allow the engine control module to more accurately adjust and monitor timing.

Mazda rumored to use laser-ignition for next-gen rotary originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Jun 2011 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata Nancy

Racing is built on a foundation of tired sayings packed with monumental truths. Recently, few have been more poignant for the crew of the supercharged NC Miata we’re set to co-pilot in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland than, “You have to start before you can win.” Last week, Bill Cardell, our valiant pilot and part-time lumberjack, wound up accidentally felling an aspen tree on himself while doing some work at a mountain cabin. He’s currently awaiting a second set of x-rays to determine just how lengthy his recuperation will be, but either way, he’s facing a few long weeks out of the saddle due to a broken humerus. Cardell, while in seemingly good spirits, finds nothing funny about the situation. Needless to say, squeezing into the cockpit of a race car isn’t on his doctor’s prescription pad, which leaves Nancy and I without a driver.

Brandon FitchIn a moment of solidarity, your author managed to high-side my ’82 Kawasaki GPz750 on day one of a two-week motorcycle ride. The next morning, one very haggard ER doctor told me that while my bones were intact, there’s a good chance that I’ve torn my rotator cuff.

“That’s bad,” I said.

“Yes. It’s very bad,” he agreed after a pause that conveyed a mix of disdain and admiration for my appreciation of the obvious.

Even so, I’ve regained much of the movement in my left shoulder, and the pain has subsided to an ever-present dull ache. If I can ride 2,300 miles on the arm, I can sure as hell use it to hold up pace notes. I’ll circle back with the medical establishment after our return from Canada.

Meanwhile, Cardell’s nephew, Brandon Fitch, will take over the forced-induction Miata’s controls. Fitch formerly served as crew chief for both vehicles and has worked with Flyin’ Miata for the past five years. As such, he’s had plenty of seat time with our car as part of his work in product development, and word has it he’s plenty quick to boot.

The race kicks off on September 10, and I’ve been ordered to stay indoors and intact until then. That’s advice I’ll likely heed. Our best get-well wishes go out to Cardell as he stitches himself back together.

The Road to Targa Newfoundland, Part 1: Bill breaks an arm originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Aug 2011 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda First to Recycle End-of-Life Vehicle Bumpers into New Vehicle Bumpers

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011


2011 Mazda CX-7 [w/video]

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Is Zoom-Zoom More Important Than Room-Room?

2011 Mazda CX-7

2011 Mazda CX-7 – Click above for high-res image gallery

When we think of mid-size crossovers, words like “comfort,” “convenience” and “roominess” are the first things to spring to mind. For some CUVs, those are accurate descriptions, but the Mazda CX-7 also has to fulfill a Zoom-Zoom promise. For the past 11 years, Mazda’s mantra has meant that driving excitement must be injected into every vehicle it builds, whether it’s a roadster like the MX-5 Miata or a minivan like the Mazda5.

Athletic handling is a no-brainer for sports cars like the RX-8, but crossover owners typically expect creature comforts, utility and a smooth ride. We’ve been won over by the CX-7’s sporty genes before, but the crossover field is far thicker and more talented than it was back in 2007 when the CX-7 first hit the scene. Does this Mazda softroader still strike the right balance? We spent a week getting reacquainted with 2011 CX-7 Grand Touring to find out.

Continue reading 2011 Mazda CX-7 [w/video]

2011 Mazda CX-7 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Jul 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda top brands among Gen Y buyers

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Scion emblem

Sure, every age demographic is important to marketing and sales teams in the automotive industry. But automakers would love nothing more than to grab hold of a young person and instill brand loyalty at an early age.

Which manufacturers are actually doing that? According to a study conducted by TrueCar.com, car shoppers aged between 18 and 27 years old are flocking to Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda.

Referred to as Generation Y, this group represents a vital segment of the car-shopping public. If a brand can grab you here, it has a strong chance of grabbing you again down the road. In 2009 and 2010, Scion was able to capture 21.2 percent of the Gen Y car buyers. Mitsubishi was close behind with 20.3 percent of that market, and Mazda was third with 10.7 percent. Surprisingly, Bugatti failed to make the list.

TrueCar.com also took a look at the specific models that appeal to this young segment of shoppers. The Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si nabbed the top three spots for sales in the previous two years. Generation Y clearly has a thing for imports, and you can dig deeper into TrueCar’s findings by reading the full press release posted after the jump.

Continue reading Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda top brands among Gen Y buyers

Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda top brands among Gen Y buyers originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Jul 2011 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Flyin Miata 2006 Mazda MX-5

No matter what part of the world you hail from, there’s really nothing quite like the Targa Newfoundland. Held on a beautiful island off the Eastern coast of Canada, the course is over 1,350 miles long and winds through small towns, open spaces and deep forests for some of the most challenging and varied stages of any competition on the continent. As a result, competitors come wielding sheetmetal from every conceivable corner of the globe and era of automotive history. It’s a buffet of horsepower at wide-open throttle, and this year, we’ll be in the hunt ourselves.

The good people at Flyin’ Miata have been so kind as to offer us a much-coveted co-driver seat in their supercharged 2006 MX-5. Nancy, as our valiant stallion is affectionately known due to her NC chassis, started life as an abused orphan of the Mazda press car fleet. After a little massaging by the Flyin’ Miata crew, the car now rocks a 2009 front fascia, the company’s proprietary supercharger kit, springs and sway bars as well as a set of Tokico Shocks. All told, the car produces somewhere around 240 horsepower, which should be enough to help us keep up with the rest of the Grand Touring Class.

Yours Truly will doing his level best to keep from confounding Bill Cardell as he whips Nancy across the Canadian landscape. Those familiar with the Miata scene know Cardell as the founder and owner of Flyin’ Miata, so if anyone knows how to properly cane an MX-5, it’s this guy. I’m honored to have the chance to share the cockpit with him.

This year, Flyin’ Miata is actually campaigning two vehicles. While Cardell, myself and Nancy are set to go the distance in the Grand Touring category, Keith and Janel Tanner are also taking to the Targa. The husband-and-wife team will once again helm the same 1994 MX-5 Miata that they drove in the 2008 Targa Newfoundland, with one big change. This year, the car rocks a General Motors L33 V8 conversion that cranks out 400 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to a set of LS6 heads and a trick cam. All of that power is funneled through a T56 six-speed transmission and a Getrag differential with a clutch-pack limited slip. Needless to say, the Tanners will be taking on the Open Class to do battle with the quickest metal of the event.

Interestingly enough, Flyin’ Miata wouldn’t have been able to head to the 2011 Targa Newfoundland at all without the help of the company’s fans and supporters. The team tried to seduce large sponsors to help fund the trip to Canada before turning to the Miata nation for help. To date, they’ve raised over $14,500 to help put the cars on the first stage. It’s a testament to just how faithful Miata owners can be.

Given that my navigation experience is limited plotting the quickest path to the Dippin Dots stand at the local amusement park, I’ve got some serious work to do before the race gets started on September 10. Stay tuned for updates on my Targa education.

Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Jul 2011 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda Production and Sales Results for May 2011 (Flash Report)

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011


Facelifted Mazda Demio Goes on Sale in Japan

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011


Mazda Adds Special Needs Vehicle to Premacy Lineup

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011


Mazda UK’s Black edition MX-5 and Mazda2 can be had in any color… as long as it’s not black?

Published by admin on August 23rd, 2011

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Black Limited Edition

You’d expect a car labeled Black Edition to actually be, you know…black. Whether it’s a Porsche, a Hummer or a Unimog. But then again Mercedes-AMG’s top line of performance models are called the Black Series, and you can get those in any color you want. So maybe it’s a page out of that playbook that Mazda has taken with its latest special edition.

Mazda’s latest specials are available exclusively in the UK, and celebrate the success of the MX-5 GT race car. It’s available on both the MX-5 Miata hardtop roadster and the Mazda2 five-door hatch, and while either can be ordered in green, red or white, it’s the black trim on everything from the roof to the wheels that sets them apart and gives them their name.

Only 500 examples of the MX-5 Sport Black shown above will be offered, while the Mazda2 Black will give birth to 618 offspring, each packing all the bells and whistles to go along with the darkened trim. Details in the press release after the jump, with images in the high-res gallery.

Continue reading Mazda UK’s Black edition MX-5 and Mazda2 can be had in any color… as long as it’s not black?

Mazda UK’s Black edition MX-5 and Mazda2 can be had in any color… as long as it’s not black? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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