MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

ew things are still going strong at 30. Humans start to grey around the edges. Fridges hum worryingly. Jumpers lose all shape. But not the Mazda MX-5. Over three decades and four generations, Mazda’s plucky roadster has become the bestselling two-seater convertible of all time. And for good reason. Compact in stature, modest in performance and truly sublime to drive, the Mazda MX-5 was never meant to win drag races. It was designed to make drivers smile. Yet Mazda bosses weren’t sure about the concept when it was pitched in the mid-Eighties. It faced, in the company’s own words, “significant resistance from some of Mazda’s senior executives”. A simple front-engine, rear-drive roadster like the best British sports cars of the Fifties and Sixties? Didn’t that whole industry go a bit pear-shaped in the Seventies? Well, yes. Killed off by the Eighties by more stringent safety and emissions regulations, the compact two-seater wouldn’t have been touched by the old guard with a crash test dummy – let alone a bargepole. READ NEXT 10 coolest things of the week 10 coolest things of the week BY FAYE FEARON AND ELEANOR DAVIES Instead, the Italians were pursuing outright performance with the F40, the Brits were going big and brutish with GT luxury (see: Aston Martin Virage) and the rest of Europe was squabbling over saloon supremacy. Which left a pocket-sized opportunity for an uncomplicated sports car in the mid-century mould. And it was Bob Hall who saw the potential. Asked in the late-Seventies by engineer Kenichi Yamamoto what cars sun cover he’d have Mazda build, the American journalist and Japanese car enthusiast was unequivocal in his answer: a reimagined roadster. Rather than laugh him out of the room while cackling “Triumph TR7”, Yamamoto was apparently taken with the idea – even if he didn’t show it. When Hall joined the marque as a product planner in 1981, Yamamoto gave him the nudge to look into it.

Working tirelessly out of the firm’s California office, the committed Hall tasked designer Mark Jordan with sketching out his idea for a featherweight sports car free from complexity, inspired by the likes of the Lotus Elan – arguably the ultimate driver’s car of the Sixties. Then, just as things were looking good for Duo 101, Mazda decided to make the new concept a competition between three rival offices. Hall had to pitch his front-engine, rear-drive roadster against the more traditional proposals of two Japanese departments – Tokyo going for mid-engine, rear-drive and Hiroshima fancying front-engine, front-drive. READ NEXT The best watches for car enthusiasts The best watches for car enthusiasts BY BILL PRINCE Initially it seemed one of the Japanese offerings would win out. Fitting a sports car shell to an existing front-wheel drive model would be cheaper and easier to build and would probably sell well enough to justify production. But it wouldn’t be a proper roadster – and the engineers knew it. The result? Hall’s brainchild won out and history’s greatest two-seater convertible was born. Designer Tom Matano was brought in to create the production design, sketching an appealing shell that was timeless in its clean simplicity, while Mazda’s engineers – led by Toshihiko Hirai – got busy crafting a lightweight machine that could drive like nothing else. Through it all, they were steered by the concept of jinbaittai – or “rider and horse as one”. Marketing guff? Not a chance: with the MX-5’s fizzy engine, perfect balance, expressive handling, impeccable suspension and lovely exhaust note, the Japanese marque had succeeded where it’s British counterparts had failed.

The BMW Vision M Next hits the ball clean out of the park BY JASON BARLOW Launched at the Chicago Motor Show in February 1989, it was an instant hit, garnering acclaim from journalists, a shelf-load of awards and huge sales to boot. Four generations later and Mazda’s sold well over a million. Marketed variously as the MX-5, Miata and Eunos Roadster, the two-seater proved that horsepower wasn’t the only route to a good time. While hot hatches such as the Golf GTI and Renault 5 GT Turbo competed for supremacy in the car park, the ostensibly pokey MX-5 didn’t trouble itself with such hooligan behaviour. Instead, in the words of Hall himself, it delivered the “most smiles-per-gallon”. Cheesy, yes, but true: whether you drive a Mk1 with its quirky popup lamps and zippy 1.6-litre motor or the latest 155bhp model, the MX-5 remains pretty much the most fun you can have with the roof down. Accessible, enjoyable and forgiving, it’s everything a sports car should be – and, at a time when electronic aids do most of the driving for us, we need it more than ever. So we say cheers to the MX-5, doing better at 30 than almost anything else.

henew Mazda MX-5 Miata in New Castle is a sight to see. Three stunning trim levels are available to choose from. With the available levels, Sport, Club, and Grand Touring you are sure to find the perfect Mazda MX-5 in New Castle to match your lifestyle and aesthetic. What makes the new Mazda MX-5 Miata so special are the exterior style options and the luxurious interior features. First, you need to decide what type of transmission is best for you and fits your personal Mazda driving preferences. The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata in New Castle has both auto and manual transmission models available. Once a transmission style is picked out, the real fun can begin! Let’s start with the exterior features. On the new Mazda MX-5 Miata you will be sure to turn heads with the iconic soft top sunroof so you can really experience what it feels like to fly in the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata with just one hand and one smooth step directly from the driver’s seat. The new Mazda MX-5 Miata exudes flair and aptitude from every angle. The newly designed headlights with an LED low beam and turn signal layout produce a smooth look that also optimizes your visibility on the open roads of DE. The genius engineered light-weight vehicle becomes almost perfectly balanced on either side of the new Mazda MX-5 Miata once a driver enters which enhances directional and cornering stability so you can always be the one in control. This latest revolution of the Mazda MX-5 Miata is approximately a half-inch lower in height than the previous models and has shed an excess of 148 pounds which will intensify the responsiveness of the vehicle, rounding every curve with razor precision. The smart and fuel-efficient engine choices are the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L and SKYACTIV-G 2.5L gasoline engines which contain higher compression rates than standard engines saving you a pretty penny on those pricey fill-ups and helping the planet at the same time. Whether it is the superior advancements in height, weight, and engine upgrades the 2018 Mazda MX-Miata is a vehicle that offers an incredible Mazda driving experience in New Castle. Find out if it’s the trim for you as we go through all the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring features. 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata interior with manual shift lever

DIFFERENCES FOR THE MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF GRAND TOURING

If you’re not sure which Mazda MX-5 Miata model you want between the soft top and the hardtop, then it may help to know that other than the roof, the slight MSRP difference, and some efficiency changes due to the added weight of the retractable hardtop, the Grand Touring trims are identical. If you are looking for a manual transmission, then you have nothing to worry about. Mazda puts driver’s first, and both Mazda MX-5 Miata models offer a 6-speed manual transmission on their Grand Touring trims. Of course, a 6-speed automatic transmission is also available.

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata engine specs 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Gray side view EXTERIOR ADDITIONS WITH THE GRAND TOURING TRIM

On the outside, you will notice some subtle differences starting with the rims. The Grand Touring trim gets exclusive 17-inch alloy rims done in Dark Silver. For comparison, the middle Club trim has 17-inch Dark Gunmetal rims and the base model Sport trim has 16-inch aluminum rims. If the rims don’t present a big enough difference, the other trims have black side mirrors whereas the mirrors on the Grand Touring trim for the Mazda MX-5 Miata are colored the same as the body. Conveniently, those body-colored mirrors are also heated. 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature trim features 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring red headlight view

GRAND TOURING TRIM TECHNOLOGY

The Grand Touring trim adds a huge amount of technology. For example, the headlights themselves offer many features including auto on/off, high beam control, and they are even adaptive. Adaptive headlights will follow the curves to allow for greater visibility. This is especially useful on the twisty back roads that the Mazda MX-5 Miata loves. On the interior, you’ll be able to enjoy loads of features and conveniences including leather seats, navigation, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side mirrors, and more. The Grand Touring trim even adds rain-sensing wipers, a lane departure warning system, and an anti-theft alarm.

GENERATIONS

First Generation/NA, 19

The car that started it all, the rear-drive sensation that dragged the small roadster’s image out of the primordial, short-circuiting, oil-percolating British Leyland muck. The example you see here belongs to this author, and it’s a 73,000-mile cream puff previously owned by an elderly couple who bought it new in 1995. Production of the so-called “NA” Miata began in calendar year 1989, and along the way Mazda implemented just two major changes, both for the 1994 model year: a new dashboard to accommodate a passenger-side airbag and the fitment of a larger 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine in place of the original’s 1.6-liter.

Second Generation/NB, 1999–2005

Being nearly a decade newer than the NA Miata, the NB feels far more substantial, even though the two are closely related underneath. Visually, Mazda painted the NB with a less-accurate brush, imbuing the car with a bubbly, chubby-flubber look that does an excellent job of hiding the fact that the NB is no larger than the NA.The red 1999 example seen here belongs to C/D’s online production manager and news guy, Nicholas Wallace. Like most Miatas, this one has been fettled with: It sits on a lowered suspension and wears a sweet set of gold wheels with sticky Hankook RS-3 rubber. The stock muffler’s been replaced with a louder one, too.

Third Generation/NC, 2006–Present

Of the three existing Miata iterations, the current-generation “NC” model sits largely alone, sharing nothing with the NA and the NB. This is not, of course, to say it is lesser than; on the contrary, it wonderfully blends the essence of the first two Miatas into a livable modern package. Dimensionally, the car is only marginally bigger, but there’s interior room to spare and a trunk that’s even more spacious. A full complement of modern safety equipment eases the subconscious dread that wayward crossovers inflict on NA and NB drivers, and Mazda even offers a power-folding hardtop that’s barely heavier than the standard cloth top