Posts Tagged ‘sports’

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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Mazda working on range-extended, rotary-powered vehicle

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 30th, 2012

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The Moscow Motor Show may be hotter than we previously though. Right on the heels of the debut of the next Mazda6, the Japanese automaker has revealed that it will continue to develop rotary engines and is also working on a range-extended vehicle.

When word came that the RX-8 would drive off to the big salvage yard in the sky, it was feared that it would spell the end for the stupendously high-revving mill, but Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi stated that the company will “continue to explore ways to improve the fuel efficiency and capabilities of the rotary engine so it can be the primary source of power again.” That sounds very promising, coming form Yamanouchi, who said that interest in the rotary motivated his decision to come work for the automaker in 1967.

Part of the equation to maximize the potential of the rotary is to incorporate range-extending technology. Sure, Mazda’s rotary engines loves to play with its RPMs in the stratosphere, the company knows this mill is most efficient at about 2000 rpm. Starting and stopping require a good amount of energy to change the momentum of the Reuleaux triangle-shaped rotor. Range extenders would keep the rotor spinning at that ideal 2000 rpm while idling.

Rotary fans will hopefully rejoice at the idea of the Wankel mill continuing on for some time. Anyone worried about the engine’s fate will appreciate word that as long as Yamanouchi works for Mazda, research into the uses of the rotary will continue.

Mazda working on range-extended, rotary-powered vehicle originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 11th, 2012

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2012 Flyin Miata Summer Camp V8 Conversion

A strange thing happened at this year’s Flyin’ Miata Summer Camp. The crew hosts a day of seminars covering everything from new products to a timing belt how-to, and this year, a total of 11 V8 conversions showed up in the same room. There are many ways to pull over 400 horsepower from a Mazda Miata, but few are more entertaining than plopping a honkin’ American V8 behind the headlights.

The shop routinely plays host to Keith Tanner’s delicious Targa Miata as well as the company’s NB development mule, Elvis, and his NC sister, Betty, but with six customer cars with FM V8 conversions on hand plus two homebrew specials hanging about, the total hit an all-time high.

No one’s throwing out any specific numbers, but estimates put the final horsepower figure at around 4,500 ponies. For perspective, you’d need to amass around 27 stock NC models to crest the same number. Cue the mad-scientist laughter.

This year marked the 15th Flyin’ Miata Summer camp, and fans of the brand trekked from as far as Maine and Florida for five days of on-track shenanigans, group drives and seminars by the FM staff. Check it out below as well as a full gallery from the shindig.

Continue reading This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like

This is what 4,500 hp worth of V8 Miatas looks like originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 11 Aug 2012 12:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda releases first info on upgraded 2013 Roadster, a.k.a. MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 5th, 2012

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2013 Mazda Roadster - a.k.a. MX-5 Miata - gray-green with PRHT

Mazda has released a spate of information on its 2013 Roadster, known domestically as the MX-5 Miata. As you may recall, images of the newest refresh made their way to the internet via a few snapped brochure photos. As it turns out, those shots were spot on. The 2013 Japanese domestic model (and presumably the North American one, too) will wear a heavily revised front fascia with a version of the five-point grille we first saw on the Spyder Concept. Engineers have also reworked the convertible’s throttle and brake booster for improved control as well.

As we heard before, the JDM Roadster will also come with an active hood that will raise if sensors detect an impact at certain speeds to reduce the chances of pedestrian injury. New interior and exterior colors have also made their way to the option sheet for the first time as well. Take a look at the full press release below.

Continue reading Mazda releases first info on upgraded 2013 Roadster, a.k.a. MX-5 Miata

Mazda releases first info on upgraded 2013 Roadster, a.k.a. MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Jul 2012 12:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch Mazda’s MX-5 GT Concept climb the hill at Goodwood

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 2nd, 2012

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Jade Pavely in the Mazda MX-5 GT Concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mazda brought the company’s ever-sexy MX-5 Miata GT Concept to this past weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed for a little sprint up the hill. With 205 horsepower on tap thanks to new cams and a revised throttle body, the concept is exactly what Miata buyers have been clamoring for all these years: more power. Mazda handed the keys over to Jade Pavely, an endurance driver with the company for the run, and the driver had no trouble keeping the convertible right side up and between the hay bales on her way toward the finish line.

We could certainly think of less entertaining ways to get around the course. Mazda didn’t mention how long it takes the machine to get from start to finish, but we doubt the company was out to set any records. Chances are this little exercise had more to do with putting eyeballs on that blaze-orange paint and testing the waters for a possible production version. Check out the brief video below to have a look.

Continue reading Watch Mazda’s MX-5 GT Concept climb the hill at Goodwood

Watch Mazda’s MX-5 GT Concept climb the hill at Goodwood originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Jul 2012 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda debuts supercharged MX-5 Miata Yusho concept in Leipzig

Published by Mazda Blogs on June 4th, 2012

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Yusho Concept - white, front three-quarter view

Mazda has unveiled a pair of special MX-5 Miata models just for the 2012 Leipzig Motor Show, including a supercharged version of everyone’s favorite roadster. For the latter showcar, dubbed “Yusho,” Mazda has turned to our friends at Flyin’ Miata for a supercharger kit to boost the machine’s grunt to around 241 horsepower. As you may recall, that’s the same blower that powered our Targa Newfoundland racer. Mazda also threw in a new engine management system paired with a set of new fuel injectors and a free-flowing exhaust. The powerplant also benefits from beefier Cosworth pistons and connecting rods, while a sport clutch handles dumping all that power onto the six-speed manual gearbox.

A set of 4.10 gears in the rear differential also helps the Yusho sprint from corner to corner. With a set of Bilstein shocks, Eibach lowering springs and semi-slick Toyo tires, this is likely the most fun you can have with your top down. While the Yusho is merely a concept, Mazda is also debuting a limited-production special edition MX-5 Miata as well.

At Just 200 units, the Senshu MX-5 Roadster Coupe comes with a retractable hard top, sportline interior and a Bilstein sports suspension. Designers applied a unique racing stripe, and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels give the machine a little more menace. Mazda will only produce 200 of the Senshu Miata models, and each one will cost European buyers €1,280 – about $1,600 USD – over the base price. Check out both press releasesfor yourself by scrolling down.

Continue reading Mazda debuts supercharged MX-5 Miata Yusho concept in Leipzig

Mazda debuts supercharged MX-5 Miata Yusho concept in Leipzig originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Jun 2012 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MotoMan at Targa Newfoundland, Part Two

Published by Mazda Blogs on May 9th, 2012

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MotoMan at Targa Newfoundland Part 2

The crew at MotoMan has rolled out the second episode of its Targa Newfoundland coverage. This time around, Brandon Fitch and I spend plenty of time talking with the guys about the challenges of Day One, how the Flyin’ Miata supercharged NC MX-5 Miata handles some of the more technical stages and joy of hauling ass through a subdivision. Meanwhile, team MotoMan gets a few valuable lessons on competition in targa from veterans of the race like Rob Pacione and learns a little about Newfoundland hospitality at the same time. As the week continues, competitors are forced to overcome a variety of challenges, from an entire engine swap in a Lotus to a water-logged 911.

Part Two gives us all a better idea of what it’s like to compete in Grand Touring, where the goal is to hit a specific time and speed, rather than simply beat a time like in Targa class. Both competitions are challenging in their own right, but we have to sympathize with MotoMan’s frustration at being forced to limp a Dodge Challenger 392 along at 40 miles per hour with an open road ahead of you. Scroll down to check it out for yourself.

Continue reading MotoMan at Targa Newfoundland, Part Two

MotoMan at Targa Newfoundland, Part Two originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 May 2012 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Mazda MX-5 Special Edition priced from $31,225

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 9th, 2012

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Behold, the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Special Edition. The Japanese automaker will officially unveil the limited-production Miata under the lights of the 2012 Chicago Auto Show later today, featuring new goodies like a contrasting black retractable hard top and 17-inch gunmetal wheels.

This is the first time in the vehicle’s history that the MX-5 Miata has been available with a non-matching hard top in the States. Mazda will only produce 450 units, and each one carries black leather heated seats with contrasting stitching as well as piano black trim panels indoors. Outside, buyers can choose between two exclusive colors: Velocity Red and Crystal White Pearl.

If you want one as badly as we do, Mazda will kindly ask you to hand over $31,225 for models boasting a six-speed manual transmission or $31,675 if you want the automatic (you don’t). That cash will buy you a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 158 horsepower pushing a 2,593-pound vehicle and all of the niceties that come with Grand Touring trim. Hit the jump for the full press release.

Continue reading 2012 Mazda MX-5 Special Edition priced from $31,225

2012 Mazda MX-5 Special Edition priced from $31,225 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 08 Feb 2012 08:08:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda bringing special edition MX-5 Miata to Chicago

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 3rd, 2012

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Flashback to 1989, and you’ll recall the Mazda debuted the very first Miata under the lights of the Chicago Auto Show. Because of that, Mazda has had a tendency to debut many a special edition Miata at the Chicago expo, and this year will be no different.

Limited to just 450 units here in the Untied States, the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Special Edition takes the top-trim Grand Touring model a step further with a new black-only power retractable hard top – the first time a non-body colored hard top has been available – as well as new 17-inch gunmetal wheels, black exterior accents, black heated leather seats and piano black interior trim. Two new exterior colors – a special white and red – will be offered, and the car can be had with either the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda makes no mention of powertrain upgrades for the MX-5 Special Edition, but the normally optional Premium and Suspension packages will come as standard equipment. This means buyers will be treated to goods like Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio, Bilstein shocks and a sport-tuned suspension. Pricing and detailed specs will be released as part of next week’s Chicago festivities, but for now, follow the jump for Mazda’s initial press release.

Continue reading Mazda bringing special edition MX-5 Miata to Chicago

Mazda bringing special edition MX-5 Miata to Chicago originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Feb 2012 15:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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