Posts Tagged ‘year’

Mazda and Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on next-gen MX-5 Miata

Published by Mazda Blogs on May 23rd, 2012

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2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata will have a sibling, but it won’t be a Mazda, it will be an Alfa Romeo. The Japanese automaker has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alfa parent Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on the MX-5 platform that is expected to see production in Mazda’s Hiroshima factory, with the Alfa version coming in 2015.

Pegged as “a successor to the MX-5,” the production date will push the next-gen Miata’s arrival back a bit. In 2010 it was predicted we’d see the new Miata this year, with its 2,200-pound weight target, 50/50 weight distribution and potential twin-backbone chassis structure. Obviously that isn’t happening.

Whenever the new model and its Alfa mate do come, each brand will get “differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive,” using in-house engines provided by their own brands.

The link-up is excellent news for Mazda, the small, independent company searching for just these kinds of “technology and product development alliances” to help rescue it from years of losses, and supporting CEO Takashi Yamanouchi’s assertion that it’s “partner or die.” The negotiations also include further cooperation between the two brands in Europe.

Fiat head Sergio Marchionne’s search for partnerships to provide scale is no secret, nor his desire to improve Fiat’s position in Asia, which Mazda might also be able to assist with. And the idea of a properly sporting Alfa would be welcome round the world; with the loss of the Brera GT and Brera Spider in 2010, the Alfa line is down to two hatchbacks and a long-in-the-tooth sedan, none of them particularly sporty. With the 8C Spider beyond most budgets and the 4C still living in the ether, it’s been almost 20 years since the then 33-year-old Alfa Spider represented (or was meant to, at least) the kind of purposeful, two-seater Alfa being announced here.

The final agreement should be finalized later this year, and you can scroll down to read the press release.

Continue reading Mazda and Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on next-gen MX-5 Miata

Mazda and Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on next-gen MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 May 2012 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Ward’s selects the 10 best interiors of 2012

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 17th, 2012

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2012 Hyundai Accent interior

Ward’s AutoWorld is well known for its annual “10 Best Engines” list, but the trade publication has been compiling a second list for interiors for a few years now. Formerly known as the “Interior of the Year” competition, Ward’s rebranded the list last year, naming the coolest cockpits under the “10 Best Interiors” moniker.

This year’s winners are a relatively diverse lot, with hatchbacks, sedans and crossovers all making the list. While Ward’s lists them in alphabetical order rather than crowning a single winner, we’re choosing to present them with the lowest as-tested MSRP first:

The first thing we noticed then is that while fully half the models carrying base sticker prices under $25,000, Ward’s was clearly not testing the base models of any of these vehicles. The Chevy Sonic, for instance, starts nearly $5,000 below the price of the car Ward’s drove. Even so, that half of the cars on the list could be legitimately called “affordable” is impressive.

Ward’s says 40 vehicles qualified for the competition by having “new or significantly improved interiors,” and while 13 of those were luxury vehicles, they only made up half of the winners. Ward’s says it judged the interiors based on design, fit-and-finish, comfort, ergonomics, safety, material selection, overall value, aesthetics, and human-machine interface.

Check out all the award winners in our high-res image gallery above.

Ward’s selects the 10 best interiors of 2012 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Apr 2012 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Flyin Miata 2006 Mazda MX-5

No matter what part of the world you hail from, there’s really nothing quite like the Targa Newfoundland. Held on a beautiful island off the Eastern coast of Canada, the course is over 1,350 miles long and winds through small towns, open spaces and deep forests for some of the most challenging and varied stages of any competition on the continent. As a result, competitors come wielding sheetmetal from every conceivable corner of the globe and era of automotive history. It’s a buffet of horsepower at wide-open throttle, and this year, we’ll be in the hunt ourselves.

The good people at Flyin’ Miata have been so kind as to offer us a much-coveted co-driver seat in their supercharged 2006 MX-5. Nancy, as our valiant stallion is affectionately known due to her NC chassis, started life as an abused orphan of the Mazda press car fleet. After a little massaging by the Flyin’ Miata crew, the car now rocks a 2009 front fascia, the company’s proprietary supercharger kit, springs and sway bars as well as a set of Tokico Shocks. All told, the car produces somewhere around 240 horsepower, which should be enough to help us keep up with the rest of the Grand Touring Class.

Yours Truly will doing his level best to keep from confounding Bill Cardell as he whips Nancy across the Canadian landscape. Those familiar with the Miata scene know Cardell as the founder and owner of Flyin’ Miata, so if anyone knows how to properly cane an MX-5, it’s this guy. I’m honored to have the chance to share the cockpit with him.

This year, Flyin’ Miata is actually campaigning two vehicles. While Cardell, myself and Nancy are set to go the distance in the Grand Touring category, Keith and Janel Tanner are also taking to the Targa. The husband-and-wife team will once again helm the same 1994 MX-5 Miata that they drove in the 2008 Targa Newfoundland, with one big change. This year, the car rocks a General Motors L33 V8 conversion that cranks out 400 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to a set of LS6 heads and a trick cam. All of that power is funneled through a T56 six-speed transmission and a Getrag differential with a clutch-pack limited slip. Needless to say, the Tanners will be taking on the Open Class to do battle with the quickest metal of the event.

Interestingly enough, Flyin’ Miata wouldn’t have been able to head to the 2011 Targa Newfoundland at all without the help of the company’s fans and supporters. The team tried to seduce large sponsors to help fund the trip to Canada before turning to the Miata nation for help. To date, they’ve raised over $14,500 to help put the cars on the first stage. It’s a testament to just how faithful Miata owners can be.

Given that my navigation experience is limited plotting the quickest path to the Dippin Dots stand at the local amusement park, I’ve got some serious work to do before the race gets started on September 10. Stay tuned for updates on my Targa education.

Autoblog to compete in Targa Newfoundland with Flyin’ Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Jul 2011 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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