|Also called||Mazda MX-5 Miata (North America)
Mazda Miata (North America)
Eunos Roadster (Japan)
Mazda Roadster (Japan)
|Assembly||Hiroshima, Japan (Hiroshima Plant)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Roadster, sports car (S)|
|Platform||Mazda N platform|
The Mazda MX-5, released as the Mazda MX-5 Miata // in North America and as the Eunos Roadster or Mazda Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Manufactured by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan, the model debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show. The MX-5 was conceived as a small roadster – with light weight and minimal mechanical complexity limited only by legal and safety requirements, while being technologically modern and reliable. The MX-5 is conceptually the evolution and spiritual successor of the British sports cars of the 1950s & '60s, such as the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey 100 and 3000, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG MGA and MG Midget, and particularly the Lotus Elan.
The second generation MX-5 (NB) was launched in 1998 (for the 1999 model year), the third generation (NC) model was launched in 2005 (for the 2006 model year), and a fourth generation (ND) was released in 2015 (for the 2016 model year). It is the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and, by April 2016, over one million MX-5s have been built and sold around the world. Production of the MX-5 had fallen by 2013 to below 14,000 units, due to the world finance crisis in 2008, and the pre-announcement in 2012 of the coming ND model.
Since the launch of the third generation, Mazda has consolidated worldwide marketing using the MX-5 name with the exception of the United States where it is marketed as the MX-5 Miata, and Japan, where it is known as the Roadster. The name "miata" derives from Old High German for "reward".
- 1 Generations and overview
- 2 Design genesis
- 3 First generation (NA)
- 4 Second generation (NB)
- 5 Third generation (NC)
- 6 Fourth generation (ND)
- 7 Production numbers and details
- 8 Awards and recognition
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Generations and overview
The MX-5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from May 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-4 engine to 1993, a 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine thereafter (with a de-tuned 1.6 as a budget option in some markets) – recognizable by its pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1999 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights and the glass rear window, although first generation owners may opt for the glass window design when replacing the original top. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2006 with a 2.0 L (120 cu in) engine.
Launched at a time when production of small roadsters had almost come to an end, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the only comparable volume model in production at the time of the MX-5's launch. Just a decade earlier, a host of similar models — notably the MG B, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire, and Fiat Spider — had been available.
The body is a conventional, but light, unibody construction, with (detachable) front and rear subframes. The MX-5 also incorporates a longitudinal truss, marketed as the Powerplant Frame (PPF), providing a rigid connection between the engine and differential, minimizing flex and contributing to responsive handling. Some MX-5s feature limited slip differentials and anti-lock braking system. Traction control is an option available on NC models. All models weighed approximately one tonne.
With an approximate 50:50 front/rear weight balance, the car has nearly neutral handling. Inducing oversteer is easy and very controllable, thus making the MX-5 a popular choice for amateur and stock racing, including, in the US, the Sports Car Club of America's Solo2 autocross and Spec Miata race series, and in the UK, the 5Club Racing championship. Raddatz and Otten won the AASA Australian Endurance Championship in 2011.
The MX-5 has won awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989, 2005 and 2016; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time"; 2005–2006 Car of the Year Japan; and 2005 Australian Car of the Year. The Miata has also made Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 14 times. In their December 2009 issue, Grassroots Motorsports magazine named the Miata as the most important sports car built during the previous 25 years.
In 2009, English automotive critic Jeremy Clarkson wrote:
The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen.
In 1976, Bob Hall, a journalist at Motor Trend magazine who was an expert in Japanese cars and fluent in the language, met Kenichi Yamamoto and Gai Arai, head of Research and Development at Mazda. Yamamoto and Gai Arai asked Hall what kind of car Mazda should make in the future:
I babbled [...] how the [...] simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically-British sports car doesn't exist any more. I told Mr. Yamamoto that somebody should build one [...] inexpensive roadster.
In 1981, Hall moved to a product planning position with Mazda USA and again met Yamamoto, now chairman of Mazda Motors, who remembered their conversation about a roadster and in 1982 gave Hall the go-ahead to research the idea further. At this time Hall hired designer Mark Jordan to join the newly formed Mazda design studio in Southern California. There, Hall and Jordan collaborated on the parameters of the initial image, proportion and visualization of the "light-weight sports" concept. In 1983, the idea turned concept was approved under the "Offline 55" program, an internal Mazda initiative that sought to change the way new models were developed. Thus, under head of project Masakatsu, the concept development was turned into a competition between the Mazda design teams in Tokyo and California.
The Californian team proposed a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, codenamed Duo 101, in line with the British roadster ancestry, but their Japanese counterparts favored the more common front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout or the rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.
The first round of judging the competing designs was held in April 1984, with designs presented on paper only. The mid-engined car appeared to offer favorable qualities, although it was known at the time that such a layout would struggle to meet the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) requirements of the project. It was only at the second round of the competition in August 1984, when full-scale clay models were presented, that the Duo 101 won the competition and was selected as the basis for what would become the MX-5.
The Duo 101, so named as either a soft top or hardtop could be used, incorporated many key stylistic cues inspired by the Lotus Elan, a 1960s roadster, including the door handles and grille opening. International Automotive Design (IAD) in Worthing, England was commissioned to develop a running prototype, codenamed V705. It was built with a fiberglass body, a 1.4 L (85 cu in) engine from a Mazda Familia and components from a variety of early Mazda models. The V705 was completed in August 1985 and taken to the US where it rolled on the roads around Santa Barbara, California and got positive reactions.
The project received final approval on 18 January 1986. The model's codename was changed to P729 as it moved into the production phase, under head of program Toshihiko Hirai. The task of constructing five engineering mules (more developed prototypes) was again allocated to IAD, which also conducted the first front and rear crash tests on the P729. While Tom Matano, Mark Jordan, Wu Huang Chin, Norman Garrett, and Koichi Hayashi worked on the final design, the project was moved to Japan for engineering and production details.
By 1989, with a definitive model name now chosen, the MX-5 was ready to be introduced to the world as a true lightweight sports car, weighing just 940 kg (2,070 lb).
Although Mazda's concept was for the MX-5 to be an inexpensive sports car, at introduction the design met strong demand, with many dealers placing customers on pre-order lists and several dealers across North America increasing the vehicle markup.
Mazda used a design credo across the four generations of the MX-5's development: the phrase Jinba ittai (人馬一体, [dʑimba ittai]), which translates loosely into English as "rider (jin) and horse (ba) as one body (ittai)".
With the first generation of the MX-5, the phrase was developed into five specific core design requirements:
- That the car would be as compact and as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements.
- That the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full-stature occupants with no wasted space.
- That the basic layout would continue with the original's front-midship rear-drive configuration with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for 50:50 weight distribution.
- That all four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tire performance, road grip, and dynamic stability.
- And that a power-plant frame would again provide a solid connection between the engine and rear-mounted differential to sharpen throttle response.
First generation (NA)
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The MX-5 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989, with a price tag of US$14,000. The MX-5, with production code NA, was made available for delivery to buyers worldwide in the following dates: May 1989 (as a 1990 model) in the US and Canada; September 1, 1989 in Japan; and 1990 in Europe. An optional hardtop was made available at the same time, in sheet moulding compound (SMC). Demand initially outstripped production, fueled by enthusiastic press reviews.
In Japan, the car was not badged as a Mazda, as the company was experimenting with the creation of different marques for deluxe models, similar to Nissan's Infiniti, Honda's Acura and Toyota's Lexus. Instead, the Mazda MX-5 was sold as the Eunos Roadster in Japan, and was joined by the MX-3/AZ-3/Eunos Presso (based on Japanese Mazda dealerships). The exterior dimensions were also in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations, and the two engines provided Japanese buyers a choice that obligated an affordable road tax option.
The body shell of the NA was all-steel with a light-weight aluminium hood. Overall dimensions were 3,970 mm (156 in) in length, 1,675 mm (65.9 in) in width, and 1,235 mm (48.6 in) in height. Without options, the NA weighed only 2,150 lb (980 kg). It had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.38. Suspension was an independent double wishbone on all four wheels, with an anti-roll bar at the front and rear. Four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated at the front, were behind alloy wheels with 185/60HR14 radial tires. The base model came with stamped steel wheels from the then-current 323/Protege.
The original MX-5 came with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine, producing 86 kW (115 bhp) at 6500 rpm, and 136 N⋅m (100 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 5500 rpm. The engine employs an electronic fuel injection system using a vane-type air flow meter and an electronic ignition system with a camshaft angle sensor instead of a distributor. This engine, codename B6ZE(RS), was specifically designed for the MX-5 and featured a lightened crankshaft, flywheel, and aluminum sump with cooling fins.
The standard transmission was a five-speed manual, a unit derived from the one used in the Mazda 929/Luce (also rear-wheel drive). The gear shift was the subject of close attention during development, with engineers told to make it shift in as small a gear pattern as possible and with minimal effort. In Japan and the US, an optional automatic transmission was also offered but proved to be unpopular. The Japanese and American markets also received an optional viscous limited slip rear differential, although it was only available for cars with a manual transmission. To achieve the low introductory price, the base model was stripped. It had steel wheels, manual steering, roll-up windows, and no stereo or air-conditioning. Power steering, air-conditioning, and stereo were added as standard equipment in later years.
citation needed] These have a numbered brass plaque on the dash above the glovebox and on the front of the Owners Book, and are fitted with alloy wheels from MSW (Mazda Sports Workshop) which are often mistaken for BBS's, but which are entirely unique to this model.[
1500 LE (Limited Edition) cars were produced in 1993. This model featured red leather interior, upgraded stereo, Nardi shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise, limited slip differential, power windows, power mirrors, power steering, air conditioning, BBS wheels, Bilstein shocks, front and rear spoilers, ABS brakes, stainless sill plates, and Harley style peanut tank door speaker trim. All 1993 LE cars came in black.
For the 1994 model year, the first-generation MX-5 was freshened with the introduction of the more powerful 1,839 cc (1.8 L; 112.2 cu in) BP-ZEengine, dual airbags and a limited slip differential in some markets. The chassis was substantially braced to meet new side-impact standards, most visibly by adding a "track bar" between the seatbelt towers inside the car, but also to the front and rear subframes. Also, 1994 and 1995 were the only years in which Mazda offered a light metallic blue paint (Laguna Blue Mica), making these cars rare collectors cars to some. 1994 also saw the introduction of the "R" package, a sport-themed package with Bilstein shocks, stiffer sway bars, retuned springs, subtle front and rear underbody spoilers, and a Torsen LSD. Air conditioning was optional, but the "R" package was not available with power steering, leather, or an automatic transmission. It can also be identified by a red Miata badge on the rear instead of the usual black. No body style changes were made, however.
The new 1,839 cc (1.8 L; 112.2 cu in) engine produced 130 PS (130 bhp; 96 kW) @ 6500 rpm and 149 N⋅m (110 lb⋅ft) @ 5500 rpm of torque , which was then increased to 135 PS (133 bhp; 99 kW) @ 6500 rpm and 155 N⋅m (114 lb⋅ft) @ 5500 rpm for the 1996 model year . The base weight increased to 990 kg (2,180 lb). Performance was thus improved slightly, because the additional weight was more than offset by the extra power. In some markets such as Europe, the 1.6 L (98 cu in) engine continued to be available as a lower-cost option, but was detuned to 66 kW (89 bhp). This lower-powered model did not receive all the additional chassis bracing of the new 1.8 L (110 cu in). Japanese and US cars offered an optional Torsen LSD, which was far more durable than the previous viscous differential.
There were a number of trim levels and special editions available, determined by local Mazda marketing departments. In the US, the base model was offered for US$13,995 at launch and was very basic, with manual windows, steel wheels, and without A/C or power steering. The "A Package" offered power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum alloy wheels and cassette stereo. The "B Package" added power windows, along with cruise control and headrest speakers, while the "C Package" included a tan interior and top and leather seats. The "R Package" was for racing, and the annual special editions were formalized as "M Editions". These included all of the luxury options from the "C Package" as well as special paint and, sometimes, special wheels. In the UK, to celebrate Mazda's 24 hours of Le Mans win, Mazda brought out a special edition of the MX-5, with the winner's color scheme (see Mazda 787B) and came equipped with BBR (Brodie Brittain Racing) turbo conversion; the car is one of the most sought after special edition cars of the MX-5s.
The first generation MX-5 was phased out after the 1997 model year (with the exception of 400 limited edition Berkeley models sold only in the UK in 1999 to mark the end of the NA), with the final 1500 NAs produced for the US market being the "STO" ("Special Touring Option") versions.
M2 special editions
A small range of Miata units were assembled by the M2 Incorporated. Founded in November 1991, M2, also known as "Mazda Too", was Mazda's new off-line planning / niche-house / Research & Development company back in the early '90s. The M2 Corp. employees had noble intentions — creating niche-mobiles derived from Mazda's volume products. Although M2's basic mission involved focusing on the "soft" aspects of vehicle design in an attempt to create more specifically targeted niche variants, the changes to the off-line cars would go well beyond mere cosmetics.
Heading the M2 operation was Mr. Masakatsu Kato, original father of the Miata (Eunos Roadster) in Japan, as well as creator of several Mazda concept vehicles. Kato-san was assisted by Hirotaka Tachibana, development engineer responsible for the superb dynamics of the Mazda FC (second-generation RX-7) and the NA Roadster (Miata MX-5). M2 Corp. was based out of Tokyo, Japan. M2-Corp was a 100% owned subsidiary of Mazda, and it was closed by Mazda in 1995. Mazda kept a similar program going with the Mazdaspeed vehicles, and then in the late '90s Mazdaspeed was absorbed into Mazda as a subsidiary company in Mazda Auto Tokyo. There were many types of M2 branded vehicles between 1991 and 1995, beginning with the 1001 up to the 1031 Cafe Racer (Dec-91).
M2-1001 Cafe Roadster (Dec-91) Limited 1/300 M2 Corp. released the M2-1001 Roadster in December 1991. It was a special "Limited Production" Roadster variant that was a short production run of only 300 units, in a special Blue/Black Mica Paint, with a sticker price of $26,000. Prospective buyers were required to show up in person at M2's Tokyo headquarters to register for a lottery to place an order for this extremely limited Roadster.
This upscale Eunos Roadster was M2's first turn-key, race-ready offering. A list of popular features, while not exhaustive, is as follows: functional front airdam with integrated fog lamps, vintage aero mirrors, 4-point roll bar, vintage gauge cluster, fixed back bucket seats, polished 3-spoke steering wheel, stiffer suspension package with M2 specific rates, polished aluminum strut brace, upgraded exhaust by HKS, intake system, 1.6L motor with new aggressive pistons, upgraded camshaft, lightweight flywheel, LSD cooling intake, manual steering, manual windows (A/C was optional), racing pedals, centerless console with matching shortened radio bezel, aluminum gas filler cap, a more aggressive wheel & tire package (15" x 6" Panasport rims), and a rear spoiler (which became standard for the R package). The performance changes made to the Roadster would bump the power to 132 bhp (98 kW) at 7,000 rpm, and 109 lbf⋅ft (148 N⋅m) of torque at 5,500 rpm. Once released, it proved so popular that people were paying up to $35,000 for one.
M2-1002 Vintage Roadster (Nov-92) Limited 1/300 M2-CORP released its second Roadster in late 1992, with a slightly different front bumper but all the same items as the previous 1001 Roadster. This one did not do as well as the 1001.
M2-1028 Street Competition Roadster (Feb-94) Limited 1/300 M2-CORP released its third Roadster in early 1994, based on the original "Jinba Ittai" concept made by Toshihiko Hirai. This was billed as a track-ready Roadster. (The US saw a cheaper version known as the R-Package.) Offered in Chaste White or Brilliant Black only, this Roadster used the new 1.8L powerplant with upgraded pistons, camshafts, and other similar goodies as the previous 1001 and 1002. This Roadster had an output of close to 150 bhp (110 kW), and included 14" Eunos Factory Rims with a unique gunmetal paint with polished lip. The only real changes were a new set of lightweight side mirrors, MOMO Steering Wheel, Centerless console, racing seats, racing tow hook, a set of lower lip spoilers (R-Package), and a newly designed "Duck-Tail" trunk lid with integrated spoiler. The M2-1028 trunk lid was made from aluminum and weighed only 7.7 lb (3.5 kg), a very light weight from the original lid of 15.5 lb (7.0 kg). It also came with a 6-point roll cage, but no soft-top, instead featuring a tarp that stretched over the cage. With optional FRP Hardtop with plexiglass rear window for more weight savings coming in at only 19 lb (8.6 kg).
Brodie Britain Racing (BBR) of Brackley, United Kingdom, have had a long history of involvement with the first generation (NA) cars in the UK, having supplied parts and equipment for a dealer supplied BBR Turbo version of the car between 1990 and 1991. This raised power output to 150 bhp (110 kW), and produced 154 ft⋅lb (209 N⋅m) of torque. The kit comprised 68 parts and was covered by a full dealer warranty. They were supplied and fitted to around 750 UK spec cars, including for the 1991 'Le Mans' special edition, with a further 150 kits being supplied overseas. Two decades later in 2011, BBR now offer a turn-key refurbishment package for old NA MX-5's, again including a turbo charger kit. This now increases power output to 220 bhp (160 kW), and produces 175 ft⋅lb (237 N⋅m) of torque. The estimated top speed is now 140 mph (230 km/h), with 0–60 approached in 5.5 seconds. The turbo charger used is a Garrett AiResearch GT25 ball bearing unit, and the package also includes an air-to-air intercooler, and a digital piggy-back ECU to control timing, fueling, and boost pressures. Subject to a satisfactory donor car, the refurbishment and turbo upgrade package includes rust treatment, a paint respray, new seats, wheels, and other trim. As of January 2011 the cost for a 'refreshed' BBR MX-5 Turbo is £7,500.
In the United States, NA (and later model) turbo conversions are available from companies like Flyin' Miata  and Bell tuning  (formerly distributed by parent company BEGI engineering ). The conversions use mainly Garrett turbochargers (2860, 2556) and are available as a kit or fully installed. Bell Engineering offers a California Air Resources Board ("CARB") approved kit as well.
Technical specifications (UK)
|Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)|
|Model year(s)||Model no(s).||Chassis code(s)||Engine type||Engine code||Transmission(s)||Power@rpm||Torque@rpm|
|1990–1993||1.6i||NA||1.6 L inline-4||B6ZE(RS)||5-speed MT||85 kW (114 bhp) @6,500||136 N⋅m (100 ft⋅lbf) @5,500|
|1994–1998||1.6i||NA||1.6 L inline-4||B6ZE(RS)||5-speed MT||66 kW (88 bhp)||-|
|1994–1995||1.8i||NA||1.8 L inline-4||BP-4W||5-speed MT||95 kW (128 bhp) @6,500||149 N⋅m (110 ft⋅lbf) @5,000|
|1996–1997||1.8i||NA||1.8 L inline-4||BP-4W||5-speed MT||99 kW (133 bhp) @6,500||-|
Second generation (NB)
The redesigned MX-5 was previewed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997. In February 1998, Mazda released the second-generation MX-5, production code NB, for the 1999 model year. The NB featured a more powerful engine and external styling cues borrowed from the third generation Mazda RX-7 model, designed in 1995 by Tom Matano. Prices in the United States, the main market for the MX-5, started at US$19,770.
Although many parts of the interior and body were different, the most notable changes were the headlamps: the first generation's retractable headlamps no longer passed pedestrian safety tests and were replaced by fixed ones. The new car grew slightly in width compared to the earlier model; its dimensions were: length 3,945 mm (155.3 in), width 1,678 mm (66.1 in), height 1,228 mm (48.3 in) and wheelbase 2,265 mm (89.2 in). Without options, the NB weighed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). The new generation was slightly more aerodynamic than the original, with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.36.
The NB continued to employ four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars at the front and rear, but the wheels, tires and brakes were significantly upgraded: anti-lock braking system was offered as an option; alloy wheels were now 14 in (360 mm) or 15 in (380 mm) in diameter and 6 in (150 mm) in width, depending on the trim package; sports models were equipped with the larger wheels and 195/50VR15 tires.
The BP-4W engine remained at 1.8 L (110 cu in) but received several minor updates. The engine compression ratio was raised from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 by adding slightly domed pistons. The intake cam was changed to a solid lifter design with a stronger cam; the intake runners in the head were straightened and the intake manifold was mounted higher up. Mazda's Variable Intake Control System was introduced, which effectively gave a long narrow intake manifold at low rpm for better swirl, changing to a short, free-flowing manifold at high rpm for maximum breathing. Power output of the new engine was quoted at 104.4 kW (140.0 bhp) with 116 lbf⋅ft (157 N⋅m) of torque.
The 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6 engine remained available in Europe and Japan. The base-model 1.8 L (110 cu in) NB could reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.8 s and had a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).
MX-5 10th Anniversary Model (1999)
In 1999, Mazda celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MX-5 with the 10th Anniversary Model, a limited edition featuring some until-then exclusive features, namely a 6-speed transmission and Bilstein shock absorbers; 15 inch polished aluminum wheels with 195/50R15 tires; a very desirable Torsen limited-slip differential. Performance figures were slightly different, with quicker acceleration and higher top speed than the standard 5-speed model. The model's nickname among owners and enthusiasts was 10AM or 10AE (as in "10th Anniversary Edition"). The car had a unique sapphire blue mica (called innocent blue in Japan) paint colour with two-toned black leather and blue Alcantara seats and floor mats, matching 3-spoke Nardi leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, BOSE audio system, bright gauge rings, carbon grained center console panel and stainless steel scuff plates. The addition of the sixth gear resulted in different performance results, with 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the standard 5-speed model, according to Car and Driver, and 0.4 seconds faster according to Motor Trend. However, in spite of the 10AM's greater weight, its top rated speed increased from 210 to 214 km/h (130 to 133 mph). Combined fuel consumption improved from 8.5 to 8.0 l/100 km (33 to 35 mpg‑imp; 28 to 29 mpg‑US).
Each car was sequentially numbered on a badge on the driver-side front quarter panel. A "Certificate of Authenticity" with the same number came with each car, signed by Mazda President James E. Miller and dated 10 February 1999. On certain markets, a gift set was also included, consisting of a 1/24 scale diecast model, two Seiko-branded wristwatches (his and hers) with matching blue faceplate and Miata logo, and metal keychain in the form of the Miata logo, all encased in a luxury blue velvet box.
Despite the publicity that Mazda gave to this model, it took more than a year to sell all units, drawing criticism that too many units had been produced (another factor was the high price with an MSRP of $26,875, about $6500 more than a base model). 7,500 units of the 10th Anniversary were produced, with 3,700 distributed to Europe (of which: 600 – UK, 20 – Portugal), 3,150 to North America (of which 3,000 to US and 150 to Canada), 500 to Japan and 150 to Australia, with car number 7,500 being sold in the UK.
For comparison, there were 3,500 units of the NC's 3rd Generation Limited launch model in 2005, and regular limited editions produced each year do not usually exceed 1,500 units per region. The polished aluminum wheels are notorious for corroding once the thin lacquer coating is damaged. Mazda replaced thousands of sets under warranty. There were minor differences in specification according to the market, such as no sports appearance package (front/side/back skirts, rear wing) or air conditioning for Europe.
For the 2001 model year, a facelift to the second-generation MX-5 was released. There were some minor exterior changes, with a press-release of July 18, 2000, announcing the changes as "resulting in an even sportier and more forceful look". Fog lamps, previously an option, were made standard. Some cockpit elements were changed, with the instrument panel gauges receiving a white face and red numbers. The seats were also upgraded, incorporating more support in the side bolsters and taller headrests. Added for top models (designated 'Sport' in the U.K) were 16-inch (410 mm) wheels with 205/45VR16 low-profile tires, larger brakes at the front and rear, additional chassis stiffening braces, a limited slip differential, a 6-speed manual gearbox, Bilstein suspension and leather seats. The upgraded tires and suspension allowed the new model to pull 0.91 g in lateral grip in tests by Car and Driver magazine. The body was strengthened, gaining 16% in bending rigidity and 22% in torsional rigidity. With the minimum of options, the 2001 model weighed 1,065 kg (2,348 lb).
The 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP6D engine was slightly modified and now featured variable valve timing on the intake camshaft. The intake and exhaust system also received a minor upgrade. These modifications resulted in a power output of 113 kW (152 bhp) (Japan, UK and Australia) or 107 kW (143 bhp) (US only). In the United States, Mazda erroneously quoted the power figure for the Japanese and Australian model in early catalogues. Car and Driver magazine and numerous owners confirmed the missing power, and Mazda offered to buy back the 2001 cars due to those misleading power claims. Owners who did not take up the buy back offer were offered an apology and free servicing for the warranty period.
2002 saw the launch of the MX-5 SP. The MX-5 SP was developed and sold in Australia and its turbocharged engine produced 157 kW (211 bhp) at 6800 rpm. Only 100 of these cars were built. The SP was very expensive in comparison to a standard MX-5 at the time but offered blistering performance. It has fast become a cult classic and sought after model in Australia.
In 2003 Mazda launched a campaign to target a younger group of drivers with the introduction of the Shinsen Version (SV) Miata. The Shinsen (Japanese for "Fresh and New") provided an intermediate step between the base model and the pricier LS. Equipped with most standard features on the LS, such as cruise control and aluminum brush trim. This limited production model also shared an inverted color scheme of the same year Special Edition with a titanium silver exterior and dark blue top and interior.
Also in 2003, a division of Mazda in Japan released the Roadster Coupé, with a fixed hardtop roof. The body structure was reworked to incorporate the roof and gave a substantial increase in chassis rigidity with a weight increase of 10 kg (22 lb). Production was limited to 179 units for Japan only, making this one of the rarest forms of the MX-5.
Mazdaspeed MX-5 (2004–2005)
The 2004 model year saw the introduction of the official turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5, Roadster Turbo in Japan. It featured an IHI RHF5 VJ35 turbocharger equipped variant of the BP-4W engine that produced 178 bhp (180 PS; 133 kW) @ 6000 rpm and 166 lb⋅ft (225 N⋅m) @ 4500 rpm with a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler. The Mazdaspeed could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.7 seconds and had a top speed of 127 mph (204 km/h)- limited due to reaching its 6,500 rpm rev limiter . With its upgraded Bilstein shock absorbers and wider tires, the Mazdaspeed model could pull over 0.98 g in lateral grip. Other features included an upgraded 6-speed transmission and clutch assemblies, upgraded drivetrain components, Racing Hart 17 in (430 mm) alloy wheels and special interior trim. The 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 was only available in Velocity Red Mica and Titanium Gray Metallic for the US-market and Velocity Red Mica for the Canadian-market while the 2005 model was available additionally in Lava Orange Mica and Black Mica in the US-market, with Canada receiving only Titanium Grey Mica. Of the 5,428 Mazdaspeed MX-5s produced for the US Market during model years 2004 and 2005, 4,000 were produced in 2004; the 2005 production run was shortened to only 1428, due to a fire at the production facility. The other markets are not included in these totals; Canada received only 53 of its allotment. This model was also marketed in Australia as an MX-5 SE without any Mazdaspeed branding (exhaust tip excluded), featured 3.63 diff gears and was available in Sunlight Silver as well as Velocity Red Mica, Titanium Gray Metallic and Black Mica for 2005. It was also slightly de-tuned with only 121 kW (162 bhp). Boost pressure was 7.25 psi (0.5 bar) for the Australian model vs 8.5 psi (0.6 bar) of the North American and Japanese models, explaining the power difference. The MX-5 SE has been used for both gravel and tarmac rallying in Australia, showing the versatility of these cars in racing.
Technical specifications (UK)
|Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)|
|Model year(s)||Model no(s).||Chassis code(s)||Engine type||Engine code||Transmission(s)||Power@rpm||Torque@rpm|
|1998–2001||1.6i||NB||1.6 L inline-4||B6-ZE||5-speed MT||81 kW (108 bhp) @6,500||134 N⋅m (99 ft⋅lbf) @5,000|
|1998–2001||1.8i||NB||1.8 L inline-4||BP-4W||5 or 6-speed MT||100 kW (140 bhp) @6,500||161 N⋅m (119 ft⋅lbf) @5,000|
|2001–2005||1.6i||NB||1.6 L inline-4||B6-ZE||5-speed MT||82 kW (110 bhp) @6,500||134 N⋅m (99 ft⋅lbf) @5,000|
|2001–2005||1.8i||NB||1.8 L inline-4||BP-Z3||5 or 6-speed MT||109 kW (146 bhp) @6,500||168 N⋅m (124 ft⋅lbf) @5,000|
The Euro NCAP Safety Ratings for MX-5s manufactured in 2002 were given 4 out of 5 stars for adult protection but only 1 out of 4 stars for pedestrian protection. EuroNCAP stated "This is a poor performance despite the MX-5 benefiting from not having to have the leading edge of its bonnet tested because of its low profile."
Third generation (NC)
The third generation Mazda MX-5 was introduced in 2005 and was in production until 2015. This generation introduced a Power Retractable Hardtop variant that features a folding mechanism that does not interfere with trunk space. During its release, the third generation MX-5 received several accolades such as the 2005-2006 Car of the Year Japan Award and Car and Driver's 10Best list from 2006 to 2013.
Fourth generation (ND)
The fourth generation Mazda MX-5 was unveiled in 2014 and has been in production since 2015. This generation introduced a Retractable Fastback (RF) variant that features a rigid roof and buttresses that give the silhouette a more coupé-like appearance than the soft top convertible. The fourth generation MX-5 has received several accolades such as the 2015-2016 Car of the Year Japan Award and the Red Dot Best of the Best Award in Product Design 2017. In addition, the car is the basis for the Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth 124 Spider.
Production numbers and details
In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records declared the MX-5 the best-selling two-seat sports car in history, with a total production of 531,890 units. The 250,000th MX-5 rolled out of the factory on November 9, 1992; the 500,000th, on February 8, 1999; the 750,000th, in March 2004; the 800,000th in January 2007, and the 900,000th in February 2011.  As of April 2016, total production of MX-5 has reached 1,000,000 units. The one millionth car rolled off the production line and was shown in select cities, where the first 240 fans of the vehicle present could physically sign it before it went to the next destination.
|1998||58,682||19,845||1,045||1,310||6,307||16,831||10,174||49,205||replaced by NB|
|2005||29,950||9,801||857||743||5,182||9,852||3,657||353||25,263||replaced by NC|
|2015||15,777||8,591||630||917||6,746||16,884||replaced by ND|
Awards and recognition
- Automobile Magazine 1990 "Automobile of the Year".
- Car and Driver's 10Best list from 1990-1992, 1998-1999, 2001, 2006-2013, 2016-2018.
- Car of the Year Japan Award 2005-2006 and 2015-2016.
- Yahoo! Autos 2016 Fresh Ride of the Year.
- Roadshow by CNET Editors Choice Best Convertibles 2016.
- World Car of the Year at the 2016 World Car Awards (UK).
- 2016 Car of the Year (UK).
- Auto Express 2017 Roadster of the Year.
- Red Dot Best of the Best Award: Product Design 2017.
- New York Daily News DNA Award 2018.
- What Car? Magazine 2018 Best Convertible Less Than £25,000.
- MotorWeek Drivers' Choice Awards Best Convertible 2018.
- Spec Miata, a class of racing cars in the U.S.
- MaX5 Racing, a class of racing cars in the United Kingdom
- "900,000th Mazda MX-5 to Set New Guinness World Record". Mazda.com. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- "Mazda builds 1 millionth MX-5" (Press release). Autoblog. 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
- "Mazda USA Home Page".
- "The Meaning of Miata". Miata.net. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- Manjoo, Farhad (March 27, 2015). "In Silicon Valley, Auto Racing Becomes a Favorite Hobby for Tech Elites". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
the most popular car for racing enthusiasts is a Mazda Miata, older models of which sell for less than $5,000.
- Ponchard, Nathan (2016-01-21). "2016 Wheels Car of the Year winner: Mazda MX-5". Wheels Magazine. Australia. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Clarkson, Jeremy (2009-08-16). "Mazda MX-5 2.0i Sport Tech". Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- You and Your MX5/Miata, Liz Turner 2002, Haynes Publishing, ISBN 1-85960-847-7.
- "Ikigai Man: Bob Hall and the Original Mazda Miata – Details on the history of Bob Hall's influence on the design, development and manufacture of the MX-5". automobilemag.com. 2005-01-23. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- Torchinsky, Jason (2014-09-04). "The Miata Could Have Been Mid-Engined Or Even FWD". Jalopnik. US. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
- "Mazda MX-5 MkIII". Independent.co.uk. 2006-04-23. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Jinba Ittai - The Oneness of Horse and Rider". USA: Mazda. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
- "Mazda 5 Sport PriceE Tag". Release Car Dates. 2016-01-08. Archived from the original on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- Garrett, Norman (1998), Mazda Miata Performance Handbook, Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, p. 9, ISBN 0-7603-0437-8
- Anderson, Donn, ed. (April 1993). "Limited Green". New Zealand Car. Auckland, New Zealand: Accent Publishing Cnr. 7 (6): 57. ISSN 0113-0196.
- Garrett, p. 10
- "Mazda MX-5 Limited Edition". www.mx5-mazda.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- "1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- "1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- EVO magazine, Issue 153, February 2011, pages 88–91
- "An interview with Tsutomu Tom Matano". 1998-06-16. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- "Tom Matano on LinkedIn". Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- Gregory, Fred (September 1999). "Mazda MX-5 Miata 10th-Anniversary Edition – Short Take Road Test". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
- Stone, Matt (June 1999). "2000 Mazda Miata 10th Anniversary Edition". Motor Trend. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
- "Mazda Roadster Coupe (NB8C series)". Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- "Mazdaspeed MX 5 Miata road test". caranddriver.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- "Euro NCAP results for Mazda MX-5". euroncap.com. 2002.
- Garlitos, Kirby (2011-04-02). "Mazda MX-5 Miata breaks Guinness World Record with 900,000th car". Topspeed.
- "Mazda MX-5 production passes 900,000". Autoexpress.co.uk. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Mazda MX-5 UK Sales Pass 100,000 Milestone". www.motorward.com. 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- "Rover takes the lead in open-top revival". www.independent.co.uk. 1997-03-03. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
- "Mazda MX-5 Miata Sales Figures". www.goodcarbadcar.net. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
- "SMMT published Motor Industry Facts Figures". www.smmt.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
- Jennings, Jean (2013-11-18). "First Time's the AOY Charm: 1990 Mazda Miata | Automobile Magazine". Automobile Magazine. US. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
- "Mazda MX-5 Miata - 10Best Cars". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
- "Japan Car of the Year Award". BATFA Japan. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
- "2016 Yahoo Autos Fresh Ride of the Year: Mazda MX-5 Miata". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- "2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata review - Roadshow". CNET. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- Simpson, John (2016-03-24). "Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year 2016, ahead of A4 and Merc's GLC". Contract Hire And Leasing. UK. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Simpson, John (2016-03-02). "Mazda MX-5 named UK Car of the Year 2016". Contract Hire And Leasing. UK. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- "Roadster of the Year 2017: Mazda MX-5 RF". Auto Express. 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- "Red Dot Award: Product Design - Mazda MX-5 RF". Red Dot. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- Hunting, Benjamin (2018-03-21). "DNA Award Winner: 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- "What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018: Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L". What Car?. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- "MotorWeek Drivers' Choice Awards". MotorWeek. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
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Mazda automobile timeline, North American market, 1980s–present
|Sports||MX-5 Miata||MX-5 Miata||MX-5 Miata||MX-5 Miata|
|* Mazda5 only available in Canada since 2015|