Archive for the ‘News and Events’ Category

Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 10th, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Miata history with Dean Case and Bob Hall

The original Mazda Miata broke onto the automotive scene in 1989 and was a huge success. However, the convertible’s genesis goes all the way back to the early ’80s. Bob Hall and Dean Case were among the inside men of the program on the US side, and they were on hand at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the recent MX-5 event there to tell some of their stories about the project’s beginning.

Hall was on the Miata project from very early on, and one of his most fascinating stories is how the convertible got its shape. The droptop wasn’t necessarily going to be a rear-wheel drive roadster. There were both front-wheel-drive coupe and mid-engine concepts being considered. In fact, the classic look of the NA generation was the least favorite of the three at the sketch stage.

Hall comes off as a jokester hiding a genius mind. He has a fountain of information in his head about what a Miata should be, but it all comes down to “less is more.” However, he admits that it’s easy to conceive that idea, but it’s much harder to actually execute it well.

If you’re interested in the inside stories of automotive history, this is a video to check out.

Continue reading Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history

Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Teen Miata enthusiast and friend of Autoblog passes away

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 9th, 2014

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19-year-old Thomas Jost with his prized Mazda Miata

When Thomas’ illness made it impossible for him to drive, he relied on friends to do it for him.

Attending the reveal of the 2016 MX-5 Miata and the subsequent 25th anniversary celebration at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca confirmed that the little roadster maintains broad appeal, one not limited to the elderly or a certain gender as detractors might have you believe. In fact, the assembled crowd was surprisingly youthful, particularly amongst the club racer set and tuners. But one young Miata owner and superfan unfortunately wasn’t in attendance – Thomas Jost, 19, was busy fighting for his life in a Maryland hospital.

Sadly, it was a years-long battle he lost on Saturday afternoon.

Thomas, a Cleveland, OH-area teen, was at Maryland’s National Institutes of Health for treatment as part of his ongoing battle with a rare auto-immune disease known as Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis – the same genetic affliction that led to his mother’s death when Thomas was four years old. Experimental treatments related to CMC would eventually weaken his immune system, making him susceptible to a virus that led to his passing.

Thomas was a diehard MX-5 fan. I know this because my son, Nate, counted Thomas among his best friends. Thomas’ Mariner-Blue 1991 NA MX-5 was his first car, and my son describes him as “obsessed” with everything about his self-described “Smurfin’ Miata.” With the help of family and friends including my son, he not only customized the suspension, wheels and stereo on his Mazda, he eventually executed an automatic to manual transmission swap in his garage. He was also a member of the Autoblog community, often stealing away bits of time to read this website during his classes in high school. He was also an enthusiastic member of the Ohio Miata Owner’s Association.

Continue reading Teen Miata enthusiast and friend of Autoblog passes away

Teen Miata enthusiast and friend of Autoblog passes away originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first engine shot revealed

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 8th, 2014

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Clandestine engine photo of 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata prototype

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata - front three-quarter viewWe’ve dug deep for just about every scrap of 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata info available out of the car’s California reveal celebration, but powertrain particulars have been especially hard to come by. While we still don’t have engine specifications, the folks over at Autoweek have scored a nice scoop – the first underhood photos of one of the display cars.

In the image above, the ND-generation Miata is clearly shown to be powered by a Skyactiv inline four-cylinder, as expected, but its displacement remains unclear. The engine is most likely either the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine offered in low-end Mazda3 and CX-5 models or the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G found in those same vehicles’ upper trims. In those iterations, the 2.0-liter generates 155 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, while the larger-displacement engine nets out at 184 hp and 185 lb-ft. There is no sign of a turbocharger, a feature rumored to be fitted to at least one test mule. There has also been previous rumors of a 1.5-liter Skyactiv engine, possibly for overseas markets.

The 2.0-liter strikes us as the most likely scenario, particularly as Mazda has worked diligently to save every gram in the new car, dropping a pledged 100 kilograms (220 pounds) over the current model, even while adding content. It’s entirely possible that the alleged turbo car was, in fact, a mule for the Miata’s Alfa Romeo sister car, which is expected to have a wholly different powertrain. Or it could simply be a second engine option for an eventual Mazdaspeed variant, perhaps.

Autoweek also notes that the battery is located in the very front of the engine compartment, as opposed to in the trunk like the NA and NB Miata. The new car’s passenger compartment has been pushed back in the chassis and weight distribution near 50:50 has been pledged, so it likely wasn’t necessary to put the battery in the back where it would eat up precious cargo space and require the added weight of longer leads. According to AW’s report, packaging is extremely tight, with prominent coil-on-plug fixtures up top and a four-point strut tower brace vying for eyeball time.

The publication goes on to speculate that the MX-5 could have output figures lurking somewhere between Mazda’s existing 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines, possibly with new heads and revised airflow. That makes sense to us, as we’d expect the ND to make a similar horsepower figure to the current car, if only to stave off criticism from spec-sheet bench racers.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first engine shot revealed originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first in-car observations

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 7th, 2014

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Driver's area, 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal car

We’ve had few days to digest the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata since the roadster was first revealed on Wednesday evening when we offered you our first impressions. Since that time, we’ve gone back and looked at the car a number of times in person here in California, and we’ve even seen it briefly run under its own power (okay, it was more of a saunter). What we didn’t get the chance to do at the reveal, however, was sit inside the car. We’ve since been able to remedy that, and while we haven’t been allowed to drive the new roadster, we do have some initial in-car impressions to share with you.

  • First, the location and feel of the major controls is quite excellent. The three-spoke steering wheel is an MX-5 specific item – it’s not shared with any other Mazda. That’s vital, because others would likely be too big in diameter or have the wrong rim thickness. The wheel’s redundant controls seem to be well laid out and the airbag boss is very small. The column tilts, but unfortunately and somewhat inexplicably, it still doesn’t telescope.
  • Pedals are well-spaced, and the six-speed manual has the same short throws and positive engagement that we’ve come to know and love.
  • The more supportive seats are positioned closer to the floor of the car, and the slightly wider passenger cell itself seems to be set a bit further back in the wheelbase than the NC.
  • Legroom feels roughly analogous to the NC, mirroring what we’ve been told. Headroom is said to be about the same as the exiting car as well, but without being able to put up the soft top, that’s hard to assess.
  • We haven’t measured it, but it looks like the new car has a longer dash-to-axle ratio, too. Combine all that with a lower hood, lower ride height and a slightly faster windshield rake, and you’ve got the recipe for a racier feel from behind the wheel.
  • Speaking of the view out, the front fenders are more pronounced, giving an evocative view out of the windshield and providing a clearer idea of where the front wheels are placed in corners.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first in-car observations

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first in-car observations originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 6th, 2014

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Chrysler will still be largely run out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy.

Americans and Italians worried that two of their nation’s industrial icons – Chrysler and Fiat – are merging into a British/Dutch corporation with a blurred identity can rest a bit easier, even as an initial public stock offering looms as early as October. Chrysler will still be run mostly out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy.

“Operationally, day-to-day operations will sit where they sit today,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings announcement earlier this summer.

The company will be incorporated in the Netherlands for tax purposes, and the board will meet in London, where unspecified parts of the firm’s “decision-making process” will take place.

“Operationally, London will hold nothing, other than the decision-making process of FCA, meetings of the group executive council and some of the senior leaders will be residing there,” Marchionne said. Specifically, Richard Palmer, FCA’s chief financial officer and a native of Bath, England, will move to London.

Still, Marchionne stressed the company’s move to London is more than symbolic, even if some functions are still unclear.

“It’s a pretty permanent rooting of the organization in London in order to make sure that the machine runs,” he said.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms

Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata in motion for the first time

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 6th, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Miata

By now, you’ve already poured over the details (however few there may be) and images of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. For us enthusiasts, it’s arguably the most important new car debut of the year, and for Mazda, it marks the 25th anniversary of its iconic roadster – something that’s being celebrated all weekend long out in Monterey, CA.

Our resident Miata owner, Chris Paukert, is out in sunny California and just passed along this video, showing all four generations of the MX-5 in motion (slowly), on the road at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is the first time the 2016 MX-5 has been shown driving under its own power, and it will join a wealth of other roadsters as Mazda attempts to break the world record for most Miatas in one place at one time.

Have a look at the emailed-from-an-iPhone-quality video above, and then take a moment to read Paukert’s own notes from the ND Miata’s live showing earlier this week, here.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata in motion for the first time

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata in motion for the first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 9.4.14

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 5th, 2014

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Daily U-Turn

Mazda MX-5 Miata2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Up close and personal

We sent resident Miata-owner Chris Paukert to the unveiling of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 in Monterey, CA. In addition to drooling over the new hotness, Paukert took several notes about the car’s design and execution, and we’ve compiled them here for your perusal. What does our Miata Man have to say about the ND model? Have a look, here.

Dinan BMW M5Driving the 2014 Dinan S1 BMW M5

So often, tuner cars don’t feel quite as wholly complete and well-executed as the vehicles built by the automakers themselves. But that isn’t the case with Dinan, and recently, senior editor Steven Ewing had the chance to sample a 675-horsepower version of the BMW M5 sedan in California. Has Dinan built a better Bimmer? Read our quick spin to find out.

Mazda MX-5 MiataOfficial 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata details

In case you couldn’t tell, yesterday will pretty much go down in as Miata Day 2014. And while Paukert’s dissection of the new car is a plenty good read, we enthusiasts are, of course, pouring over Mazda’s official images and information, even if there isn’t much to go on right now. Have a look at more Miata goodness, here.

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What you missed on 9.4.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata firsthand impressions and notebook scribblings

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 4th, 2014

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata - front three-quarter live reveal image

In a temporarily repurposed airport hanger in Monterey, CA, the world caught its first glimpse of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata tonight, and I was fortunate enough to attend in person along with my fellow auto media colleagues, Mazda execs, a couple hundred Miata devotees and, oddly, a fair number of Duran Duran fans. The klieg lights have dimmed, Simon Le Bon is no longer ringing in my ears, and I’m left to ponder what I’ve seen. I’ve scavenged my notes – and my Twitter feed – to give you some details and brief thoughts.

Fair Warning: I can’t claim to be completely impartial (I own a second-generation NB and consider the Miata franchise to be one of but a few sacrosanct franchises in modern motoring), but I will share my honest first impressions of the new car, both good and bad.

Here are my notes:

  • 2,200 pounds. That’s roughly what this car will weigh if we can take Mazda at its word that it has managed to cut over 100 kilos – 220 pounds – versus today’s NC Miata. Given that this car will almost certainly be safer, stiffer, better equipped and more refined, that’s incredibly impressive engineering. In fact, that’s lighter than an NB generation car.
  • First Impression: The new car looks incredibly compact yet sinuous, with tightly snubbed overhangs what designer Derek Jenkins called an “impossibly low” hoodline – impressive in this day and age of pedestrian crash regulations. Largely free of adornments, I think this is a shape that will age well.
  • While still looking like a proper MX-5, this ND trades some of its predecessors’ occasionally cartoonish and friendly rounded lines in favor of something more aggressive.
  • Piercing stare from those small, lightweight LED headlamps contrasts with its large lower air intake.
  • Profile is clean with almost zero character lines but nice barrel to the doors and fenders, with prominent J-kick to doorline retained and better rear-drive proportions thanks to a more harmonious door line/rear wheel relationship. Fender-resident side lenses are a nice design detail that add visual thrust.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata firsthand impressions and notebook scribblings

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata firsthand impressions and notebook scribblings originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 02:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has arrived

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 4th, 2014

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 MiataLadies and gentlemen, meet the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The highly anticipated fourth-generation (ND) model made its official debut in Monterey, CA this evening, and while details are slim (as in, we have practically none), there’s one big thing to talk about: less weight.

Yes, Mazda has confirmed that the new Miata sheds some 220 pounds over the model it replaces, and is “the most compact of any generation MX-5 so far.” For those keeping track, that means the new MX-5 should weigh in somewhere around 2,200 pounds.

Mazda’s Kodo design language is obvious here, with a seriously wide and low demeanor, and a mix of flowing lines and sharp angles. We don’t have any powertrain details to report as of this writing, but Mazda says the full suite of Skyactiv technologies are onboard, and the motto in creating this car was “Innovate in order to preserve.”

Click the image above to see the new MX-5 Miata in high resolution, click below for the press release, and stay tuned to this space for more details as they break.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has arrived

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has arrived originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 21:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal livestream is here and now

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 4th, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal

Let’s not understate the significance and difficulty of what’s been accomplished here. In this ever-connected, constantly surveilled modern auto industry, Mazda has pulled a coup – it’s kept a new vehicle under wraps. Yes, we’ve seen hacked up and camouflaged mules and maybe a form under a sheet, but Mazda is about to reveal its next-generation MX-5 Miata, and the car – let alone its specifications – hasn’t been leaked anywhere yet. Not via clandestine camera phone snapshot, not by patent drawing, not by leaked ad copy, not even by diecast model. Believe us, we’ve looked.

And this isn’t just some humdrum crossover or workaday compact, it’s the Miata, the world’s most popular roadster, apple of the enthusiast community’s eye and seeming center of gravity for the Japanese automaker. For those who are genuinely excited about cars – about motoring – this is an impressive feat. If anything, Mazda’s radio silence regarding the fourth-generation ND Miata has only served to heighten our anticipation for a model that probably won’t reach showrooms for another year.

So, what’s true and what’s false among all the rumors? Will the already lightweight Miata really shed hundreds of pounds? What exactly will live under hood and drive those rear wheels?

Let’s all tune in to the car’s live global reveal and find out. It’s being staged simultaneously in Monterey, CA, Tokyo and Barcelona. It starts at 6:00 PM Pacific (9:00 PM Eastern), and Autoblog will be on hand in the Golden State with all the pomp, circumstance, and Duran Duran that you can handle, ready to delivery further analysis and images. Check back with us later this evening, and if you can’t wait that long, keep an eye on Twitter – follow @therealautoblog for the very latest out of Monterey.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal livestream is here and now

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal livestream is here and now originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 20:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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