Posts Tagged ‘sports’

What you missed on 9.11.14

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 12th, 2014

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Daily U-Turn

Luca de MontezemoloOur favorite Ferraris of the Montezemolo Era

Big news at Ferrari: CEO Luca di Montezemolo is officially stepping down. In his wake, he leaves quite a legacy, and thus, the Autoblog editors have been reminiscing about our favorite Prancing Horse models from Montezemolo’s tenure. Of course, what started as a simple discussion turned into an all out battle, but you can read our staff’s five favorite Ferraris from the ’90s and ’00s, here.

Maserati GhibliDriving Maserati’s diesel-powered Ghibli

Slowly but surely, automakers are warming up to the idea of diesel engines in sports car applications. We’ve seen products from Porsche, BMW, and Audi all burning hot oil, and the latest darling comes from Maserati, with its diesel-powered Ghibli sedan. This one isn’t headed Stateside anytime soon, but European Editor Noah Joseph took it for a spin to see how a diesel powerplant affects the already-good Ghibli. Read his notes, here.

Mazda MX-5 MiataMazda MX-5 Miata to ditch hardtop?

Say it ain’t so! Could Mazda be ditching the power folding hardtop with its fourth-generation MX-5 Miata? There’s plenty of evidence that suggests this could be the case, but there’s also a solid argument for the hardtop to live on. Read all about it in our report, and of course, let us know your thoughts on this matter, as well.

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What you missed on 9.11.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:32:00 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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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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Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster?

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 3rd, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 vs Porsche Boxster

As long as there have been used cars, there has been this question: are you better off buying a new vehicle, or picking up a used offering and making a few aftermarket modifications? While the answer is far from clear, Auto Express has put together a video that will attempt to well and truly put the argument to bed… or at least add fuel to the fire.

Using a 16-year-old, second-generation Mazda MX-5, the AE team has set itself a modification and improvement budget of 5,000 pounds (about $8,200 at today’s rates). Without crossing that threshold, the MX-5 will need to be upgraded to the point that it will be able to turn a quicker lap time than a brand-new Porsche Boxster (which is not a Boxster S).

Now, this is only the first part of a series, and covers the upgrades to the old NB. AE will be delivering a dedicated track battle video between the MX-5 and the Porsche soon. You can bet we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of that one.

Continue reading Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster?

Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Will the new Mazda Miata be available with multiple engines?

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 1st, 2014

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Next-Generation Mazda MX-5 spy shot

At this point, the countdown until the launch of the all-new, fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata can be measured in hours until its September 3 unveiling as easily as it can in days. With the debut of such a highly anticipated model so close, the rumors about the new sports car are starting to boil over.

We recently heard that the new Miata would likely get a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder with a six-speed manual, plus a decent drop in weight compared to the current gen. There’s even the rumored possibility of a fastback coupe version sometime in the future.

Now, Australia’s GoAuto is adding another dollop of speculation into the mix with the claim that there could be “potentially more engine options,” according to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders to the website. The more potent option would still be the 2.0-liter Skyactiv with a power bump from its current 167 hp to closer to 200 ponies. The other possible powerplant option would be a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder taken from the upcoming Mazda2 replacement. This version would also ditch some of the MX-5′s more premium features to cut the weight and the price slightly.

“Lightweight rear-wheel drive sportscar offering great value is what we want to return to,” said Mazda Australia senior public relations manager Steve Maciver to GoAuto. While such a tiny engine might sound dubious, remember that the original NA Miata performs admirably with just a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder. The potential small-displacement MX-5 might not make it to the US – we’d be a bit surprised if it did, to be honest – but it could still be quite an engaging driver. Besides, it’s worth noting that earlier rumors had a 1.5-liter mill pegged as a possibility for the ND Miata.

Will the new Mazda Miata be available with multiple engines? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata to spawn coupe, Mazda6 to get quick successive updates

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 28th, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Test Car

Despite the PRHT’s availability, some are still yearning for a proper fixed-head coupe.

We are just days away from the official unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, and it’s fair to say that the mouths of enthusiasts are watering in anticipation for the latest version of this iconic roadster. Hard facts about the new droptop aren’t easy to find, and in the absence of further disclosure from Mazda officials, the rumormill is in full swing, including word that a long-awaited hardtop coupe model will figure into the new generation’s plans.

According to Automotive News, Mazda has a staggering number of updates planned for essentially its entire range in the coming years. The company’s strategy often amounts to a one-two punch with some updates coming one year and more following the next. It’s an interesting tactic that should keep the brand in the headlines with all of the changes.

In terms of the Miata, that tactic means going on sale sometime next summer as an all-new ragtop model that returns to its roots with a similar size and weight as the original (Autoblog sources indicate that there will be a substantial weight drop versus today’s NC Miata, but we don’t expect a return to NA or even necessarily NB featheriness). A 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder and six-speed manual should provide a decent jump in performance, too.

The vaguer news arises about a year later,when the publication’s sources say Mazda will bring out a MX-5 coupe with a fastback design. This isn’t to be confused with a power folding retractable hardtop option (PRHT) – the runaway success of the folding lid on the current generation means we expect a similar unit to be available when the new generation first goes on sale. Despite the PRHT’s availability, some buyers are still yearning for a proper fixed-head coupe bodystyle, and apparently Mazda may be listening. With the death of the RX-8, Mazda doesn’t have a hard top sports car in its lineup, and this would seem to be an easy way to get one.

Continue reading Mazda MX-5 Miata to spawn coupe, Mazda6 to get quick successive updates

Mazda MX-5 Miata to spawn coupe, Mazda6 to get quick successive updates originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Are you the 2016 Mazda Miata?

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 11th, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Miata

Tech nerds are spoiled. Every year, there’s a new iPhone that arrives following months and months of breathless speculation and rumormongering. We car folk have a more difficult life, because vehicles with the iPhone’s cult-like devotion and following, while plentiful, only receive hefty updates after several years. Case in point, the Mazda MX-5.

There’s a new one coming, and much like the iPhone 6, it’ll arrive in just a few weeks. So, in lockstep with the tech folk, we’re anxiously biding our time and waiting with baited breath for the expected debut date of September 3. Also, like Apple fanboys, we’re clamoring over any hint or teaser as to what the next-gen Miata will bring, which is why we’re showing you the above image.

That is, allegedly, the new MX-5 hiding under the sheet. Auto Motor und Sport has the image, which according to World Car Fans was released by Mazda. Of course, we’ve reached out to the Zoom-Zoom brand for verification of its authenticity, and will be sure to update as soon as we hear back.

Until then, what can we see on this sheet-festooned roadster? Well, the wheel arches look suitably flared, while the traditional long-hood, short-deck look of the past three generations of Miatas soldiers on. According to Auto Motor und Sport, the track has been widened, while the wheelbase has also been stretched. The big news is that the new car should trim around 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of body fat and that it will boast a perfect fifty-fifty weight distribution.

Of course, should we hear anything more, we’ll be sure to update you. Stay tuned.

Are you the 2016 Mazda Miata? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MotorWeek proves ’90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 24th, 2014

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Motorweek 1993 Sports Car Test

Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in the US had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the ’70s and ’80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy at the time, and it’s priceless.

Featuring the 1994 model year Toyota Supra in twin-turbo guise and MY 1993 versions of the Porsche 968, Nissan 300ZX TT, Mazda RX-7, Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette LT-1, MotorWeek definitely covered all of the bases. One thing that might surprise younger readers is these cars’ performance. The video only provides 0-60 acceleration times, but several of these vehicles would still be considered pretty potent today – over 20 years since going on sale. The Supra is especially impressive, hitting 60 miles per hour in just 5 seconds. Even today, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Given their performance potential and still-attractive looks, it’s amazing that some of these coupes are old enough to drink now. The progress of interior design and safety equipment in the intervening years is pretty shocking, though. In most of these models, having two airbags is touted as a big deal. Scroll down to watch a Throwback Thursday blast from the past about some of the ’90s best sports cars.

Continue reading MotorWeek proves ’90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo

MotorWeek proves ’90s were awesome with Supra, Stealth, RX-7, Corvette, 968, 300ZX comparo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A decade later, here are 4 cars we miss and 5 we’re happy are gone [UPDATE]

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 23rd, 2014

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Mazda RX-8

Automotive anniversaries are often big news. Last year, the Chevrolet Corvette turned 60 and the Porsche 911 hit 50. This year, the spritely Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 25. The iconic Ford Mustang just turned the big Five-Oh, too.

But what about lesser anniversaries? Think about it: there are plenty of cars with birthdays that slide under the radar every year. And some automotive endeavors don’t even last long enough to warrant a proper milestone celebration.

To that end, we’re taking a look back to 2004 – just 10 years ago – to see what vehicles would be celebrating a decade of life, assuming they were still alive today. Do note, for this list, we’ve only included vehicles that launched for the 2004 model year, not calendar year.

Have a look below to see both iconic and easily forgettable cars that would be celebrating 10 fruitful years in 2014… if they were still alive.

Continue reading A decade later, here are 4 cars we miss and 5 we’re happy are gone [UPDATE]

A decade later, here are 4 cars we miss and 5 we’re happy are gone [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Jul 2014 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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