Mazda's all-new, curvaceous 2016 MX-5 (Miata) makes US debut in LA - w/videos


I like sports cars. One of my favorite cars that I've owned was an early 60s MGB, the quintessential sports car (mine was an older, pre-government reg. model) that I bought very used, but very loved. A sports car has two seats, the top goes down, and they're a blast to drive. Period. Anything else is a grand tourer or something all together different. Call me a purist, but one of the only cars available today that can wear the sports car crown is Mazda's MX-5 Miata (I think they're phasing out Miata). Sports cars aren't the fastest, but they can put a smile on your face on even the worst days. Mazda's MX-5 is one of those vehicles. The styling of the previous MX-5s were more of an homage to early sports cars, but the new MX-5 is its own curvaceous beast with flares that let you know what this car is all about. Funny though, the car seems less impressive in person than in pictures, but that is probably due to Mazda hiding the one example (the RHD model shown here) in the back of their LA Auto Show display. They sell a lot of these little beasties in LA, so I would have expected a greater presence. Anywho, a few more details were released regarding the new '16 MX-5. The 2.0-liter SkyActiv four will be the power source through a standard six-speed manual (I'm sure an automatic will be available) that is mounted closer to the driver for a more mid-engine location. Handling should be even better than before. Did I mention that it is wrapped in a striking body? Few automakers offer true sports cars anymore and enthusiasts should send Mazda a "thank you" card for the MX-5 and its continued development. You'll be able to get your new 2016 MX-5 next year. It should be worth the wait. Detailed press releases, and three videos after the jump. Enjoy.

Source: Mazda - Press releases, pics, and three videos after the "read more" jump. Previous post.



Press Release:
2016 MX-5


It is with great pleasure that we are now ready to introduce the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, (Japanese name: Mazda Roadster). As a member of the MX-5 development team and a passionate sports car enthusiast, I am deeply grateful to all the people who created, fostered and supported this car over the years. To see that so many people around the world continue to admire the MX-5 even now, 25 years after its launch, makes me happier than I can express. It is thanks to their passion, and the different ways owners and fans enjoy this car, that the MX-5 has matured and evolved over the last quarter century. I also wish to express my gratitude and heartfelt respect to the European carmakers that originally pioneered the fun-to-drive lightweight sports car, to our staff in the U.S. who hatched the MX-5 plan more than 25 years ago, and to the many Mazda employees in Hiroshima and around the world who helped refine it and supported its evolution over the years.

Press Release:
2016 Mazda MX-5 Product Release

  • Innovate in order to preserve – a 25th anniversary resolution
It is with great pleasure that we are now ready to introduce the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, (Japanese name: Mazda Roadster). As a member of the MX-5 development team and a passionate sports car enthusiast, I am deeply grateful to all the people who created, fostered and supported this car over the years. To see that so many people around the world continue to admire the MX-5 even now, 25 years after its launch, makes me happier than I can express. It is thanks to their passion, and the different ways owners and fans enjoy this car, that the MX-5 has matured and evolved over the last quarter century. I also wish to express my gratitude and heartfelt respect to the European carmakers that originally pioneered the fun-to-drive lightweight sports car, to our staff in the U.S. who hatched the MX-5 plan more than 25 years ago, and to the many Mazda employees in Hiroshima and around the world who helped refine it and supported its evolution over the years.

Features that have been handed down from generation to generation
The Jinba Ittai driving experience exemplified by Mazda’s brand icon, the MX-5, is no longer the exclusive domain of lightweight sports cars. Rather, it has become the essence of every vehicle that Mazda builds. As symbolized by the challenge of developing the world’s first mass-production rotary engine, the spirit of constantly striving to meet new challenges is very much part of the Mazda DNA. The passion of the engineers and designers who were carrying on that spirit is what directed the development of the original MX-5, which in turn became the starting point for the Jinba Ittai driving experience. This evolved further and played no small role in the development of SKYACTIV Technology, the KODO−Soul of Motion design language and other innovations. Over its 25-year history, the Mazda MX-5 has brought drivers and cars closer together in its never-ending quest to deliver a faithful response and an enjoyable driving experience, whether cruising at slow speeds or enjoying a high-speed run. At the same time, it helped establish the Mazda brand’s unique reputation for providing driving pleasure.



An open-top sports car that all drivers can truly enjoy
Right from the first generation, our philosophy for the MX-5’s development has remained the same: create a car that delivers true driving pleasure and is an irreplaceable partner for the people on board – and onlookers, too – brightening and cheering their mood. In addition to lessons learnt from our predecessors, we carried out advanced research into human sensitivity, developed new technologies, met a wide range of challenges, broke through barriers and finally realized the pleasure of the lightweight sports car as best suits the times. This includes Mazda’s hallmark Jinba Ittai, the feeling of oneness between car and driver as the driver enjoys a fresh breeze in an open-top sports car, and the “Lots of Fun” characteristics that go beyond ordinary driving pleasure. These two themes have been the unchanging watchwords guiding the MX-5’s development as we continued to enhance the model’s driving pleasure while meeting increasingly pressing customer demands for comfort, safety and environmental performance.

It is the reason why all generations of the MX-5 have preserved the principal requirements of building a lightweight sports car featuring a compact open-top two-seater body, a front-midship engine rear-wheel-drive configuration, a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, a low yaw inertia moment and an affordable price. Equally as important has been to evolve its value proposition as an open-top sports car that all drivers can truly enjoy anywhere and at any time.

Engineering devoted to taking our original aims into the future
Development of the fourth-generation MX-5 became a struggle with the model’s 25-year history. It also marked a challenge to connect that history to the coming 25 years. Over the past quarter century, the demands for greater environmental performance and safety have grown increasingly more stringent. Each successive model of the past three generations has seen slight increases in body size and weight in response to these demands. In developing the fourth-generation MX-5, we returned to the original aims of the first generation that had restored the culture of the lightweight sports car and then took on the challenge of embodying the fundamental pleasure of driving an open-top lightweight sports car in a product suited to today’s needs. In other words, Mazda firmly believes that the fun of being one with the car – the exhilaration felt by any driver on any kind of road – must be maintained. To do this, Mazda considers it essential to realize a different kind of innovation that goes far beyond mere product refinement. This is clearly summed up by the maxim “innovate in order to preserve,” which expresses the challenge behind the development of the fourth-generation MX-5.

There is no doubt that the key to realizing this lays with the effective implementation of SKYACTIV Technology, which strikes the right balance between reduced weight and environmental performance and safety. It also includes KODO design, which brings the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car. At the same time, we also went back to the original intention of the first generation. We asked ourselves how best to awake the driver’s innate sensibilities as we aimed to further enhance the MX-5’s Jinba Ittai driving experience and raise the level of fun associated with every detail when it comes to owning, viewing, customizing and gathering with friends.

Toward this purpose, we delved further into the engineering concepts of Kansei Engineering employed since the first generation as we made a concerted effort to appeal to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars and thereby realize an unprecedented level of driving pleasure. We fully adopted the latest implementation of Mazda’s SKYACTIV Technology and its related theories as part of a thorough effort to achieve the ideal structure for a lightweight sports car. The result is the most compact body size of any MX-5 generation combined with a weight reduction of more than 100kg over the third-generation model.

The MX-5 has steadily evolved in a way that is only possible thanks to an unchanging passion shared between Mazda and countless MX-5 owners and fans around the world. As the current program manager of this product, I am both profoundly appreciative and keenly aware of the great responsibility I bear. This explains why we can never take a break from “innovating in order to preserve” if we want the MX-5 to continue to be the recipient of such passionate adoration for the next 25 or 50 years. This is our duty as the developer, and at the same time it’s an exciting dream, a source of happiness, and something we are proud of. It is also a conviction that will surely be inherited by the next generation of engineers who work on the MX-5. We are ready for the challenges of the next quarter century and beyond, always inspired by the passion of our fans around the world.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto
Mazda MX-5 Program Manager


\

Product Concept
Joy of the Moment, Joy of Life

– Appealing to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars –
The significance given to maximising the Jinba Ittai and “Lots of Fun” experiences means that Mazda did much more than simply develop a compact sports car. Rather, the MX-5 was made to be looked at, to perform and respond faithfully to the driver’s will, to deliver a pleasing tactile experience, to emphasize the owner’s character, and to enjoy with friends. Just having an MX-5 makes life more pleasant and more colorful. Mazda built the MX-5 with the hopes that it would become a presence that transcended its existence as a mere car. To carry on the MX-5’s rich tradition while more purely than ever embodying the essence of what appeals to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars, the development team made every effort to further evolve the product. Particular effort went into advancing the following three elements.

First was to create a design that would set anybody’s heart pounding with excitement. Just one look at the fourth-generation MX-5 should get one’s pulse racing. Sitting in it should bring a smile to the driver’s face and instantaneously spark an urge to take the top down and go for a drive. And it should become a cherished part of the owner’s life as time passes. These joyful attributes are what the development team aimed to express in an even purer state with the fourth-generation MX-5. In pursuit of them, they worked to add greater depth to the KODO design language, to embody beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look even better, and to make the open-air roadster experience all the more enjoyable. Specifically, development focused on the following.
  • Beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good.
  • A deeper expression of the KODO design language that conveys agility.
  • Body surfaces that richly express the Japanese sense of contrast between stillness and motion.
  • An interior design that melts away the boundaries between the inside and outside of the car.
  • A snug feeling cockpit with symmetry and a singular axis that enables concentration on driving.
The second element is to deliver a driving experience that will captivate any driver. For every generation of the MX-5, importance was placed on appealing to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars, rather than focusing merely on sheer performance. With “sensation” as the keyword for the fourth-generation MX-5, development efforts focused on making the car even more enjoyable to control and faithful in its response. When driving in typical daily situations, the car responds directly to the driver’s will, as though it were extension of the driver’s own body. When enjoying a sporty run along winding roads, it responds faithfully to the driver’s actions in pleasingly light fashion. Every effort went into further refining these attributes to realize the ultimate Jinba Ittai driving experience that will captivate any driver. Specifically, development focused on the following.
  • The latest SKYACTIV Technology and Mazda’s “gram strategy” combine to significantly reduce weight by more than 100kg over the third-generation model.
  • Front-midship engine rear-wheel-drive configuration achieves an ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution.
  • The engine is located closer to the vehicle’s center, the hood, trunk lid, front fender and front and rear bumper reinforcements are made of aluminum, and the weight of the soft top is reduced. These combine to realize a lower yaw inertial moment and a lower center of gravity.
  • The pedals, controls, meters and all equipment are optimally positioned to enable the driver to maintain a straight posture and drive comfortably.
  • The height of the hood is lowered and the A-pillars and windshield header are moved rearward and made thinner to create a panoramic view with greater visibility of road conditions and peripheral movement.
  • New lightweight yet highly rigid suspension fully leverages the know-how of SKYACTIV Technology, with a double-wishbone suspension in the front and multilink suspension in the rear.
  • The brake system is designed to maximize controllability and deliver reassuring effectiveness, plenty of braking power and an optimized posture when braking.
The third element is a pleasantly refreshing roadster experience that anyone can enjoy. It embodies the feeling of openness only possible with an open-top lightweight sports car, a feeling that can quickly lift anybody’s spirits anywhere and at any time while enjoying a drive with the top down. To achieve this, development focused primarily on the following.
  • The MX-5 is designed to be beautiful even with the top down.
  • The interior is designed to maximize the pleasure of driving with the top down.
  • The soft top can be operated easily while remaining seated.
  • Wind control makes the drive pleasurable when the top is down.
  • Headrest speakers enhance the enjoyment of driving with the top down.
In addition to the three aforementioned elements, the fourth generation further evolves the pleasure of adapting the MX-5 to reflect the owner’s character. Furthermore, satisfying the demands of the day are Mazda’s latest-generation Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and Mazda Connect, Mazda’s next-generation car connectivity system that efficiently links the driver to the car and the outside world. A human-centric perspective was adopted in the pursuit of developing advanced safety performance based on the Mazda Proactive Safety philosophy to appeal to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars and enable the driver to fully enjoy the driving experience.




Overview
Design
A design to set the heart racing

For the fourth-generation MX-5, the development team was not going to be satisfied with a mere facelift. Nor were they prepared to aim for a design that simply accommodates current trends. Mazda’s only desire was to satisfy its vision of how an open-top lightweight sports car should look. It had to light a fire of excitement in the hearts of all those who relate to the stance Mazda assumed in developing the model over the past quarter century, and who were anticipating the launch of an even purer embodiment of Mazda’s open-top lightweight sports car.

Mazda’s first thought in aiming for the ultimate MX-5 design was to create beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good. True to its Japanese name – Mazda Roadster – the basic form of the MX-5 makes those riding in the car the stars when seen with the top down and windows lowered. As such, the packaging engineers assigned to the development team worked closely together to examine a wide variety of elements related to achieving a beautiful design when the top is down, and also to emphasize the driver’s seating position and embody beautiful proportions that best convey the satisfaction and exhilaration of driving the MX-5. This resulted in refinements such as moving the cabin a little toward the rear to create the appearance that the occupants are sitting at the body’s midpoint and lowering the hip-point of the seats in conjunction with the new design’s low center of gravity.

Based on the proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good, the development team took on the challenge of adding greater depth to the KODO design language and fully expressing all they wished for in the new design. This includes embodying KODO design’s characteristic stance with an expression of stability that makes the vehicle appear as though it is firmly gripping the road surface and creating an image of agility that makes the MX-5 appear ready to move instantly in any direction. The fine craftsmanship of Mazda’s renowned clay modelers creates contours that cause reflections off the body’s surfaces to change in a stunning fashion as the car moves. It makes the car look alive while at the same time creating a sense of emotional attachment that evokes a desire to stroke the surface with the palm of one’s hand. In addition, the lines travelling from the headlamps, peaking at the front fenders and converging in front of the rear tires before sweeping upwards over the rear fenders, create a sense of motion at varying speeds. Reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy, this represents the Japanese sensibilities bred into the MX-5.

The aim for the interior was to create a cockpit design that brings a smile to the face and gets the heart pounding just by looking at it, or by simply sitting in the driver’s seat. One example is how the body panels wrap around to extend right into the door trim and thereby dissolve the visual boundaries between the vehicle’s interior and exterior. When sitting in the cockpit, the driver sees a ridge line that extends in powerful fashion from the upper part of the door trim to the top of the front fenders. In addition to providing a feeling of open space as only possible with an open-top body, the lines emphasize a feeling of oneness between driver and car. The design also attempts to heighten the pleasure of driving an open-top sports car by enabling the driver to experience the change in the surrounding environment in real time. When sunlight filters through the trees, for example, or as light reflects as the sun sets. Careful attention paid to the shape of the door trim and to making the quarter windows more compact aims to actively control the flow of air that reaches the cockpit. The result is a pleasant cockpit environment with just the right amount of wind blowing in when driving with the top down. In addition, positioning the tachometer and small-diameter steering wheel on the same axis creates perfect symmetry between the round air-conditioning louvers to the right and left of the meter cluster. This serves to establish a single axis throughout the cockpit, while at the same time creating a pleasantly tight feeling to the cockpit that enables the driver to concentrate on driving. With special attention to every detail, Mazda focused on building the MX-5 to transcend its existence as a mere automobile and become a sports car that owners will truly love.

While paying due respect to the British as the pioneers of the genre and to the first-generation MX-5 as the car that rebuilt it in the modern age, the design aim for the all-new MX-5 was to create the ideal image of a Mazda lightweight sports car. Every inch of the MX-5 reflects this desire and the pleasure it intends to give to all who drive it.

History of the Mazda MX-5
A perpetual quest for driving pleasure that all can enjoy

Mazda announced the first-generation MX-5 at the Chicago Auto Show on February 9, 1989. At that time, virtually no open-type lightweight sports cars were available. The segment, which had blossomed in England in the latter half of the 1940s, gained popularity thanks to the agile handling, characteristic style and affordability of such vehicles. But after the 1960s, the market focused more on safety and comfort, and the cars in this category had all but disappeared. The aim of the engineers and designers at Mazda who produced the first-generation model was simply to bring back a fun-to-drive lightweight sports car for people around the world like themselves – people who just love cars and love to drive. To build a car that satisfies this passion for driving, they developed the MX-5 based on the principle requirements that it would combine a lightweight, compact open-top two-seater body with a front-midship-engine rear-wheel-drive configuration, a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, a low yaw inertia moment and an affordable price. The simple, familiar nature of its compact sports car styling, the light feeling and faithful, linear response Mazda defined as Jinba Ittai, along with the open feeling it offered resonated with car lovers around the world. It soon won a number of awards, gained widespread popularity, and fan clubs big and small began to spring up worldwide. The second-generation model was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997, the third-generation model debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2005. Production reached 900,000 units in February 2011and the MX-5 broke its own Guinness World Record as the world’s “best-selling two-seater sports car,” a title it had first achieved in May 2000.

Merely looking at the MX-5 will make any car lover happy. All drivers, from beginners to those with racing experience, will be able to enjoy the best drive of their lives. Putting the top down and enjoying the refreshing feel of the breeze will bring a smile to anybody’s face. All drivers will experience a world of driving pleasure as only the MX-5 can offer.

Major specifications of Reference display vehicles

 
U.S. Specification Model (values show development targets) 
Body type
Open-top sports car
Seating capacity
2 persons
Overall length* x width x height
154.1in X 68.1in X 49.0in
Wheelbase
91.1in
Engine
SKYACTIV-G 2.0 direct-injection gasoline engine
Transmissions
SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission
Front suspension
Double wishbone
Rear suspension
Multilink
Steering
Electric Power Assisted Rack & Pinion Steering (EPAS)
Brakes (front/rear)
Ventilated discs / Solid discs
Tires
205/45R17
195/50R16

Mazda MX-5 History
1983-

Mazda begins considering the development of an open-top lightweight sports car
NOV
Development project begins
1986
FEB
Development for mass production begins
1987
SEP
Final design is set
1989
FEB
World debut of the “Mazda MX-5 Miata” at the Chicago Motor Show
MAY
Sales begin in the U.S.A
SEP
Sales of the “Eunos Roadster” begin in Japan
OCT
Sales begin in Australia
1990
FEB
Sales begin in Europe (U.K., the Netherlands)
1993
JUL
Minor revision: Revised product with 1.8-liter engine replacing the 1.6-liter engine
1997
OCT
Second-generation Mazda MX-5debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show
1998
DEC
“Mazda MX-5 10th Anniversary Model” introduced
• A special limited edition model with the same specifications worldwide to commemorate the model’s 10th anniversary
• Production numbers: 7,500 units worldwide (500 for Japan and 7,000 divided between North America, Europe and Australia)
2000
MAY
Certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s “best-selling two-seater sports car” (total production of 531,890 units)
JUL
Minor revision to the second-generation MX-5
• Significant improvements to the product, including changes to both the exterior and interior, improved output from the 1.8-liter engine, increased body rigidity, etc.
2005
MAR
Third-generation Mazda MX-5 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show
MAR
“Mazda MX-5 3rd Generation Limited Edition” debuted at the New York International Auto Show to commemorate the debut of the third-generation MX-5 (Production limited to 500 units)
APR
Guinness certification updated after production reaches 700,000 units
2007
JAN
Total production reaches 800,000 units
2008
OCT
Minor revision to the third-generation MX-5 introduced
• Improvements to the product, including changes to both the exterior and interior, improved output from the 2.0-liter engine, increased body rigidity, etc.
2009
JUL
“Mazda MX-5 20th Anniversary Model” goes on sale
2011
FEB
Total production reaches 900,000 units
2014
APR
Chassis of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 and “Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition” debuted at New York International Auto Show
• A special limited edition with the same specifications worldwide to commemorate the model’s 25th anniversary
2014
SEP
Fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 unveiled at simultaneous event in Japan, Spain and U.S.

Mazda MX-5 production and sales figures 
Production figures
CY
Total
1988
12
1989
45,266
1990
95,640
1991
63,434
1992
52,712
1993
44,743
1994
39,623
1995
31,886
1996
33,610
1997
27,037
1998
58,682
1999
44,851
2000
47,496
2001
38,870
2002
40,754
2003
30,106
2004
24,232
2005
29,950
2006
48,389
2007
37,022
2008
22,886
2009
19,341
2010
20,554
2011
14,995
2012
15,400
2013
11,639
2014 Jan-Sep
9,150
Total
948,280
Sales Figures
CY
North
America
Europe
Japan
Australia
China
Others
Total
1989
25,879
0
9,307
657
-
-
35,843
1990
39,850
9,267
25,226
1,455
-
-
75,798
1991
34,196
14,050
22,594
698
-
-
71,538
1992
27,241
6,632
18,648
499
-
-
53,020
1993
23,089
4,824
16,779
453
-
-
45,145
1994
22,573
5,019
10,828
404
-
-
38,824
1995
21,108
7,174
7,171
196
-
-
35,649
1996
18,966
9,585
4,409
241
-
-
33,201
1997
17,812
10,480
3,537
206
-
-
32,035
1998
20,890
16,831
10,174
1,310
-
-
49,205
1999
18,936
21,130
4,952
1,354
-
30
46,402
2000
19,627
19,268
4,644
1,038
-
33
44,610
2001
17,757
16,368
4,211
924
-
6
39,266
2002
15,622
19,670
2,934
698
-
34
38,958
2003
11,999
18,934
1,520
540
-
11
33,004
2004
10,501
13,885
1,646
483
-
248
26,763
2005
10,658
9,852
3,657
743
-
353
25,263
2006
18,479
19,402
4,067
1,468
-
827
44,243
2007
16,888
18,899
3,845
1,170
-
772
41,574
2008
12,384
13,252
1,858
639
-
610
28,743
2009
8,767
9,709
1,947
521
720
475
22,139
2010
7,106
10,317
1,120
440
652
431
20,066
2011
6,286
8,147
1,104
315
284
446
16,582
2012
7,016
7,207
941
159
75
438
15,836
2013
6,334
6,113
768
178
46
331
13,770
2014 Jan-Sep
4,335
5,149
491
87
14
282
10,358
Total
444,299
301,164
168,378
16,876
1,791
5,326
937,834