Posts Tagged ‘sports’

Jay Leno celebrates Mazda Miata’s 25th birthday

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 11th, 2014

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Jay Leno's Garage: 25 Years of Miata

Ask a car enthusiast what the best driver’s car on the road is, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata is very likely to come up rather quickly. Unjustly saddled with a reputation as a “chick’s car,” the Miata has been, over its three generations, one of the finest driving instruments ever built – it’s light, agile and rear-wheel drive with direct, snappy steering, an engine that revels in being revved and a precise, smooth-shifting transmission. The fact that it’s ridiculously affordable and reliable is simply a bonus.

It should come as no surprise then, that a car with these traits has endured for 25 years, a milestone reached only by some of the most famous nameplates in the auto industry – Corvette, Mustang, F-150, SL, M3 and so on. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Jay Leno spent some time with the little roadster that could, while also chatting with two of the Mazda employees that were central to the MX-5′s arrival on the world’s automotive scene, Bob Hall and Tom Matano.

Take a look below for the latest video from Jay Leno’s Garage on the excellent Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Continue reading Jay Leno celebrates Mazda Miata’s 25th birthday

Jay Leno celebrates Mazda Miata’s 25th birthday originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazda MX-5 Miata to weigh a ton(ne), literally

Published by Mazda Blogs on November 27th, 2013

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Looking at recent spy shots of the fourth-generation Mazda Miata, it’s obvious this sporty little roadster will grow in size compared to the current model, but it’s also going on a diet. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Auto Motor und Sport sat down with Mazda executive Kiyoshi Fujiwara, who gave a little more insight into the Miata’s redesign.

Fujiwara said that they’re aiming for a curb weight of a tonne (metric ton), which is 1,000 kilograms or right around 2,200 pounds, for the next-generation Miata. This would make the roadster at least 300 pounds lighter than the current NC Miata, but still about 200 pounds heavier than the original NA.

There is no indication as to how Mazda will go about removing that much weight from the bigger car, but with as popular as the power retractable hard top (PHRT) model is on the current car, the new Miata may ditch this feature to lose its weight. Improving the power-to-weight ratio appears to be a key goal of the Mazda team, so we also wouldn’t be surprised to see a more powerful engine underneath the longer hood.

Next Mazda MX-5 Miata to weigh a ton(ne), literally originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 10:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazdaspeed3 could go naturally aspirated?

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 12th, 2013

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Mazdaspeed3 rendering

The new Mazda3 is a stunner, both aesthetically and from a driving perspective. As with all good things, though, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where the wizards from Mazdaspeed come in. Mazda’s in-house tuner has been tweaking and turbocharging the five-door Mazda3 since 2007, with impressive results.

We’ve shown you renderings of what the third-generation Mazdaspeed3 could look like, and for the most part your response was quite positive. Now, AutoExpress has come out with details of just what might be under that long hood. According to our friends across the pond, the new Mazda3 MPS (that’s what the Speed3 is called in Her Majesty’s auto industry) will be arriving with a new, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine. Wait, what?

Yes, if the rumors are to be believed, the next Mazdaspeed3 will ditch its turbocharger. According to an anonymous engineer, the new MS3 will arrive in December (this is for the UK market, mind you) with a 200-horsepower, naturally aspirated engine. The 2.0-liter mill is based on the Skyactiv engine in the new 3, and should be capable of a sub-seven-second run to 62 miles per hour.

Now, we strongly encourage you to take these rumors with a grain of salt. There are a lot of things that don’t add up here. With 200 horsepower, the new Speed3 would be down over 50 horsepower on the original model. It’d also be easily outgunned by the competition from Ford, Subaru, and Volkswagen. And what about torque? The only way we can see a 200-horsepower Mazdaspeed3 working is if it weight is dramatically reduced. Considering weight savings is a tenet of Mazda’s Skyactiv philosophy, that seems like a possibility.

We’re still a long way from the new Mazdaspeed3′s debut, and a lot can change between now and then. What do you think – does a Mazdaspeed3 work without a turbo? Would you buy one with the more powerful alternatives available? Let us know in the comments.

Next Mazdaspeed3 could go naturally aspirated? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazdaspeed3 could look this good

Published by Mazda Blogs on June 28th, 2013

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Mazdaspeed3 rendering

Mazda showed off its brand-new 2014 Mazda3 at an event in New York City earlier this week, and we have to say, at first blush, we’re pretty impressed. It looks fantastic – like a smaller, hatch’d version of the already sleek Mazda6 sedan that went on sale earlier this year. And with a 200-pound weight reduction, efficient Skyactiv gasoline engines underhood and Mazda’s usual focus on driving dynamics above all, we’re willing to bet that the new Three will be a pretty decent steer.

Of course, being enthusiasts, we’re already setting our sights on the next-generation Mazdaspeed3, rendered here by artist Theo Chin. To our eyes, it’s not a very imaginative transformation, but is likely a spot-on rendering for what the next car will look like. And it’s really, really hot.

While Mazda hasn’t exactly confirmed that the new Speed3 will be coming, sources within the automaker have indicated that a third-generation version of the MS3 is under development. Thing is, the Japanese automaker wants to give the standard Mazda3 some time to grow in the market, so we might not see the new Speed3 until something like 2016, with a possible diesel version to arrive before then.

The big unknown, however, is what will power the new Speed3. Of course, we’re big fans of the DISI 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder that’s currently used, producing 263 horsepower, but Mazda could certainly be developing something new. A turbo-four setup is a given, and power will likely fall closer to 275 hp for the new car. Bring it on.

Next Mazdaspeed3 could look this good originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Jun 2013 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos]

Published by Mazda Blogs on June 25th, 2013

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Mazda Miata-based Bauer Catfish trackday racer - front three-quarter view while racing

We’re not trying to make a joke here. The creation you see above really is called the Bauer Catfish, and while the name is about as attractive as your average bottom feeder, the car itself is built on a sexy notion. Take the mechanical bits of one 1990-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata, add in a tube chassis for as little weight as possible, complete with some custom body work and go forth. Bauer says the finished product weighs in at just 1,550 pounds, and the company will be happy to pull the stock four-cylinder to drop in a healthy General Motors LS V8.

The pre-production prototype shown above competed in last year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill, finished the race and earned a spot on the podium in the “anything goes for sports racers” ESR class. Very cool.

If you’re looking for a dedicated track car, it may not get any better than this for the money. Expect to pay around $13,900 depending on options, plus the cost of your donor Miata. That’s a good sight cheaper than a used Chevy Corvette Z06 and likely to be quite a bit more fun. After you’re done watching it in action in the brief videos below, check it out over at Bauer Ltd.

Continue reading Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos]

Bauer Catfish is a Miata-based trackstar in the making [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000

Published by Mazda Blogs on May 8th, 2013

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Scion FR-S vs Mazda RX-8 vs Honda S2000

There are very few vehicles available today that compare directly with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. A case could be made for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and possibly even six-cylinder versions of American coupes like the Ford Mustang. Pretty much everything else is either too expensive or is powered by the wrong set of wheels.

The boys from EverydayDriver on YouTube decided the only fair way to judge the inherent qualities of the Toyobaru twins was to pit them against two standard-bearers of years past: The Honda S2000 and Mazda RX-8. Neither of these cars is an exact matchup, with the Honda boasting a convertible top and the RX-8 offering more practicality via a rear seat and two reverse-opening doors for easier access. What they do offer, however, are similar performance stats and proven reputations for excellent handling.

None of this talk answers the real question, though: Which one wins the comparison test? Scroll down to watch the video, and be prepared for something of a surprise conclusion.

Continue reading Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000

Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 May 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda6 diesel to race at Rolex 24, team and drivers announced

Published by Mazda Blogs on January 4th, 2013

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2014 Mazda5 Daytona 24 Race Car Teaser

2014 Mazda6 teams at the Daytona 24 HoursMazda is getting serious about showing off the Skyactiv-D turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine in the Mazda6. The automaker has just announced it will campaign three diesel Mazda6 racers in the Grand-Am GX class of the upcoming 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a quest to walk away with the company’s 24th class win. Mazda partnered with SpeedSource to develop the race version of the new sedan, with Japanese and American engineers lending a helping hand where needed. Meanwhile, Freedom Autosport and Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon Racing will helm teams of their own.

Each car will make use of a five-driver team for the 24-hour race on January 26. In the interim, you can check out the full press release below for more information as well as the full driver roster. Mazda says we can expect to see the No. 70 SpeedSource car under the lights at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show later this month, as well.

Continue reading Mazda6 diesel to race at Rolex 24, team and drivers announced

Mazda6 diesel to race at Rolex 24, team and drivers announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Jan 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Playboy reveals its 2013 Cars of the Year

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 20th, 2012

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Vaunted men’s magazine Playboy knows that its readers are nearly as interested in cars as they are in the female anatomy… sorry, we thought we could write that with a straight face. Anyway, the buff-book does occasionally fill some of its spreads with sexy metal, to accent all the rest of the sexiness.

To wit, the magazine has unveiled its feature on the 2013 Cars of the Year. Without giving us much in the way of criteria for the awards, nor a clear framing of the categories (“Responsible Ride” is a particularly challenging concept, especially when you consider that the Mazdaspeed3 was the winner), Playboy has nevertheless highlighted what we assume to be it’s favorite 12 or 13 (depending on how you count) cars from the 2013 model year.

Headlining the class is the Porsche 911, which Playboy writers single out for having “remarkable electronic voodoo.” BMW M5 is named “Slickest Sports Sedan” though the Cadillac ATS then follows on because “we couldn’t resist giving the new Caddy a shout-out.” The rest of the picks are pretty conventional (save, perhaps, the Honda Fit EV as “Ace Electric”), even if the categories and methodology are fairly wonky. Cruise through or gallery for a taste or check out the full list, here. The site is safe for work, and you can legitimately (this time) say that you were reading it for the articles.

Playboy reveals its 2013 Cars of the Year originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 08:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 3rd, 2012

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20

The car you see above is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20, and as far as we know, it’s the only one out on the road. Oh sure, people have been hotting-up Miatas since the little roadster’s birth some two decades ago, but this Super20 is a hand-crafted Mazda original, first seen at the 2010 SEMA Show and the brought back out for the 2011 expo wearing the color scheme seen here.

It’s very rare that we get to drive conceptual show cars outside of staged ride-and-drive events. Needless to say, when Mazda called and offered us a few days with its sweet little Super20 here in the Motor City, we immediately cleared our schedules.

Over the course of our week with the Super20, both Executive Editor Chris Paukert and I – Paukert being a second-generation (NB) Miata owner, for what it’s worth – were able to flog the little yellow racer. Would this prove to be our favorite Miata yet?

Driving Notes

  • First, let’s get one thing out of the way: It’s unclear exactly how much power is being produced by the supercharged 2.0-liter MZR engine. Mazda’s original press materials suggest somewhere around 250 horsepower for the Cosworth-supercharged mill – a full 83 hp more than the standard, naturally aspirated car. No torque specs were given, but it’s easy to feel the extra thrust of power in the lower end of the powerband.
  • “Despite having a lot more power, the engine is still working way too hard at highway speeds (a sensation amplified by the overly boomy aftermarket exhaust and lack of sound deadening). Time for a taller sixth gear,” Paukert notes.
  • Chris continues, “The ACT street clutch isn’t as friendly in terms of modulation as the stock unit, but it’s easy enough to get used to, and probably necessary considering the extra power the Cosworth supercharged MZR is kicking out.”
  • As for handling, having this extra grunt in the Super20 only proves how great the NC Miata’s chassis is. The Super20 had no issues putting power to the ground with poise, still being immensely forgiving all the while. “It’s enough to make one wish for an intermediate stability control setting with a broader degree of play,” Paukert notes.
  • This thing is a total attention-grabber, and not just because of the unique yellow-and-black color scheme. It’s lower, wider, and looks downright mean because of it. Wherever we took it, the Super20 garnered all sorts of attention from people of all ages (and both sexes).
  • We love the finger-pull door latches – paying a tribute to the ones used on the original NA Miata. A nice homage.
  • Interior is your standard Miata fare, albeit with some suede inserts in the seats. That said, we’d love some more supportive chairs here, as the stock seats don’t provide nearly enough lateral support, something we really noticed while flinging the supercharged Miata around.
  • Weight has been saved throughout the car’s interior, including the removal of the storage and roll bar compartment behind the front seats. A half-cage has been added, as well as a fixed hardtop. Notice how the fuel door release just sort of hangs outside of the center console.
  • We won’t fault the serious NVH issues of this car too much – it was designed to be a concept first and foremost, after all – but man, this thing is loud, and everything inside the car rattles. The fixed roof is no better for sound deadening than the normal soft top.
  • All in, the Super20 makes us wish for a proper stripped-out track day special edition. An all-new Miata is still probably at least two years away, so a more hardcore version would certainly be enough to keep enthusiasts entertained until then.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Dec 2012 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda6 to spawn coupe and Mazdaspeed variants?

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 29th, 2012

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Mazda6 Sedan - gray, front three-quarter view

Word has it Mazda may be mulling a return to the coupe market with a two-door version of its shapely new Mazda6. Auto Express cites unnamed sources as saying the car will bow at the Moscow Motor Show next year and will likely feature the 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine found in the sedan. Good for 173 horsepower, that mill can hustle the four-door to 60 mph in under 7.8 seconds. But Mazda may also turn out a quicker MPS trim (read: Mazdaspeed) when it comes to the coupe, complete with a turbocharged gasoline four cylinder with upwards of 260 hp.

According to the report, there’s also some indication the MPS version of the coupe will bow with an all-wheel drive system borrowed from the CX-5 crossover. Both products share basic architecture, theoretically making it easier to swap parts between the two. Auto Express says the two door could bow as early as 2014 with the high-performance variant following along shortly thereafter. Stay tuned.

2014 Mazda6 to spawn coupe and Mazdaspeed variants? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Oct 2012 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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