Posts Tagged ‘convertibles’

Car and Driver reveals its 2012 10Best cars [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 7th, 2011

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Each year, the scribes at Car and Driver go through every new vehicle on sale and pick the ten best cars available here in the United States. And while some major automotive awards are only shelled out to vehicles that are all-new or significantly updated for a certain model year, C/D‘s approach is to look at the full scope of cars currently on sale. After all, there are some cars that are simply perennial favorites, even if they haven’t changed year over year.

For 2012, the Chevrolet Volt and Hyundai Sonata have fallen off the list to make room for the Audi A6/A7 and Ford Focus. The other eight vehicles that round out the 10Best list have carried over from the 2011 winners, but we can’t say we’re surprised. These ten cars indeed represent some of the best vehicles on sale today.

The 2012 Car and Driver 10Best winners are:

Head over to Car and Driver to read the full 10Best roundup, and follow the jump to see a video of this year’s winning fleet, then check in to Comments to share your thoughts on C/D’s list.

Continue reading Car and Driver reveals its 2012 10Best cars [w/video]

Car and Driver reveals its 2012 10Best cars [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Dec 2011 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda previews hot MX-5 Miata Spyder and Turbo2 concepts for SEMA

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 29th, 2011

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Truth be told, we find most SEMA concepts to simply be gaudy aftermarket overkill. These two Mazda models, however – now these are something we’d like to sink our teeth into.

Let’s start with the MX-5 Miata Spyder concept. The most obvious alteration here is the removal of the stock MX-5′s folding soft top (or hard top) for the sake of a stretched canvas roof, similar to the rakish and flying buttressed Porsche Boxster Spyder. That, combined with larger wheels, a lowered stance, aero kit and a revised front fascia make this a Miata we’d definitely want to spend a lot of quality time with. We’re already madly in love with the standard car, so making it lighter and improving the dynamics promises to be nothing short of motoring bliss.

Mazda Turbo2 conceptThe second concept is something we’ve been begging Mazda to create for quite some time, too. The Turbo2 is, according to Mazda, “one of our most powerful turbocharged engines in our lightest platform.” That’s a recipe for success if we’ve ever heard one. We can do without the ground effects kit and graphics package, but the thought of a turbocharged engine under the hood of a better-tuned Mazda2 (read: Mazdaspeed2) is a project we’re more than willing to get behind.

We’ll see both concepts live from Las Vegas next week. For now, feast your eyes on the hotness in our high-res image gallery.

Mazda previews hot MX-5 Miata Spyder and Turbo2 concepts for SEMA originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 25th, 2011

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Point. Shoot. Grin.

Flyin' Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Wedging myself into the cockpit of Keith Tanner’s 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned Targa Newfoundland podium finisher, I’m struck with the realization that most race cars are the automotive equivalent of a pet electric eel. They look fantastic lounging around, and you may even be struck with the impulse to get close, but the reality is that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches out and lights you up like a cheap string of Christmas lights. This notion is only underscored when Tanner hands me a set of noise-cancelling headphones with an integrated com system.

“Here. You’ll probably want these,” he says. “It can get kind of loud in here.”

With a 400-horsepower General Motors L33 wedged between the fenders of the poised Miata, it’s only a matter of time before the stripped interior resonates with the sound of eight furious cylinders. I ask if there’s anything I should know before I hit the ignition. Tanner says no. I’m beginning to suspect he’s lying to me.

Continue reading Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata

Flyin’ Miata V8 Targa MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata gets Black Tuned for Japan

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 6th, 2011

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Mazda MX-5 Black Tuned Roadster

Even the plucky Mazda MX-5 isn’t safe from the temptation of a black edition. Mazda has just rolled out a Black Tuned Roadster in Japan, complete with a little more style than your run-of-the-mill convertible. The package is largely aesthetic thanks to the addition of a Brilliant Black retractable hard top roof and door mirrors as well as Gun Metallic 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, both the seats and the steering wheel are covered in black leather with sand-colored contrasting stitching. Mazda is only offering the Black Tuned Roadster in three colors; Spirited Green Metallic, Velocity Red Mica and Crystal White Pearl Mica. But not… ummm… black.

As befitting a retractable hard top model, the Black Tuned Roadster comes as loaded as they get with standard gear like a Bose sound system and heated front buckets. Mazda isn’t saying how many of the models it plans to build, but we do know that base models come with a six-speed manual transmission while a six-speed automatic is also available. Japanese buyers can expect to shell out


Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 18th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland 2011

Two mistakes. After six days of late nights bent over the route book with calculator in hand, long days of non-stop rallying and lengthy transits, we’ve covered over 2,200 kilometers, raced 41 stages and made two penalty-worthy mistakes. There simply aren’t words to convey the spectrum of emotions that accompanies the Targa Newfoundland, and the Flyin’ Miata crew experienced its fair share of highs and lows throughout. While Wednesday saw both teams leading their respective classes, Thursday had nasty surprises in store for both the V8 Roadster and the supercharged NC.

Due to a transcription error, I fouled the finish time for stage 4-5, Garnish. We were supposed to cover the 13.25 kilometers in 8:43; I directed Brandon to the finish in 8:51, which landed us three seconds of time-over penalty plus another four seconds of interim time-control penalties. That seven seconds alone knocked us off of the podium, but the last stage of the day, Marystown North, saw an additional 7 seconds tacked onto our time after we missed the first turn and were forced to turn around.

Continue reading…

Continue reading Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days

Flyin Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: The final days originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 17 Sep 2011 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: Stay on target

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 16th, 2011

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Flyin' Miata at Targa Newfoundland

It’s a good day to be in the Flyin’ Miata camp. As of the conclusion of Day 3 of competition, both the V8 Roadster and the Supercharged 2006 MX-5 hold the top position in their respective classes. While Keith and Janel Tanner have managed to sling their 430-horsepower machine through Wednesday’s nine stages to take the top slot, Brandon Fitch and I overcame a few small obstacles to zero all of our times through the day. Despite my fat-fingering the egg-timers ahead of the incredibly technical Greenspond stage, we came in just two-seconds outside of dead zero and well within our plus or minus nine-second window.

I also received a front-row showing of Fitch’s driving prowess after the car stalled at the start of the third-to-last stage. In a desperate push to make up lost time, the Flyin’ Miata engineer pushed the 240-horse Miata to 128 kph through a series of undulating turns. That figure is just two kph shy of our maximum allowable speed. Crossing that barrier brings all sorts of unsavory penalties.

Thursday will bring forth a whole new set of challenges as our window narrows to plus or minus five seconds. While we used today to train ourselves to arrive at the flying finish well within our final day tolerances, fatigue is beginning to set in on both Brandon and I, greatly increasing the chance of a careless error that could cost us our lead. Regardless of how we wrap up on Friday, the fact that we can say that we tied for first across the first three days of the 2011 Targa Newfoundland is a story I’ll be blathering at cocktail parties for years.

Flyin’ Miata at Targa Newfoundland, Part 5: Stay on target originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Is the Ford Mustang plant in jeopardy now that Mazda is pulling out of Flat Rock?

Published by admin on August 25th, 2011

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ford mustang assembly line at flat rock, michigan plant

Once the current Mazda6 reaches the end of its life cycle, Mazda will begin production on the next-generation car. The automaker won’t be building the midsize sedan in the U.S. anymore. Currently, the Mazda6 is built in Flat Rock, Michigan, at the AutoAlliance International assembly facility that the Japanese automaker shares with Ford. The Blue Oval brand churns out the Mustang in Flat Rock, and with Mazda moving on, there could be trouble ahead for the pony car.

According to analysts polled by Bloomberg, the current pace of Mustang production is not enough on its own to sustain the Flat Rock plant. The AAI has a capacity of 240,000 vehicles in a year, yet the Mustang sold 73,716 units in 2010. Ford is reportedly working with Mazda to find other uses for the site, which would be a better alternative to having Mazda simply walk away.

The flipside of Mazda ending U.S. production of its Mazda6 is that Ford will have increased options as to what it can do with the Mustang. Still, unless the Blue Oval starts churning out a hybrid, wagon, crossover and pickup truck version, Ford will need something else to keep Flat Rock in the business of building cars, especially until the ‘Stan’s next scheduled redesign for 2014.

Is the Ford Mustang plant in jeopardy now that Mazda is pulling out of Flat Rock? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:00:00 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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