Mazda

Mazda cars

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is already undergoing a complete overhaul to enter its new generation, but the company has apparently realized the dire need for the Miata to be refreshed before it becomes completely obsolete ahead of the new generation’s debut .

Launched in 2005, the third generation MX-5 (NC) received its first major update in 2008. It’s barely been touched since then, but 2013 will come with a second round of updates before the car gets canned for the new generation. The new MX-5 (known as the Roadster in Japan) has already made its officially debut and is already on sale at all Mazda dealerships throughout Japan.

The exterior has been redesigned to offer a more aggressive look, while the interior has received a new luxury tan color finish for the genuine leather seats. The model has also received revised characteristics of the throttle and brake booster that help improve control of the accelerator in the manual transmission models and the brakes in all models.

UPDATE 07/05/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images for the 2013 Mazda MX-5.

Hit the jump to read more on the 2013 Mazda MX5 Miata.

While Mazda of America is busy working on its SkyActiv system, back at home in Japan, it is hard at work creating a new micro-mini vehicle. This latest micro-mini to hit the Japanese market is the Mazda Flairwagon, which is a relatively appropriate name given this new wagon has plenty of flair to show off, with its odd-shaped body.

Underneath all of the Mazda badging is a car that is not even related to Mazda in any way, as this new micro-mini wagon is really nothing more than a Suzuki Palette with Mazda badges. Unlike other rebadged cars like the Cavalier and Sunfire, Mazda didn’t really bother changing anything but the badges, which is pretty strange. Then again, this Suzuki also prowls the streets bearing the Nissan Roox name. In the Roox’s case, Nissan at least changes the headlights a little to separate it from its Suzuki donor.

Is this compact and odd-looking wagon something that will actually sell and will it ever find its way outside of the Japanese market? To find out the answers to these questions and learn all about this “new” micro-mini by Mazda, click past the jump.

Mazda may end Wenkel engine

When the RX-7 hit near supercar status in the 1990s, the Rotary engine was a thing of beauty and Mazda had all but perfected it. The only remaining downfall was the fuel required to keep the rotors inside the engine spinning. This fuel consumption, plus a restructuring of Mazda’s U.S. market, led to the deletion of the RX-7 and its perfected rotary following the 1995 model year.

When the rotary engine made its way into the sexy, yet fairly flabby, RX-8 in 2004, the rotary enthusiast clamored over its 238 horsepower without any turbo. However, hiding in deep within the engine was its biggest sore spot, a puny 159 pound-feet of torque that sucked up a gallon of gas after only about a dozen miles. Through the RX-8’s life, Mazda refused to turbocharge the 1.3-liter rotary and the new Renesis rotary engine was effectively to blame for the RX-8’s disappearance following the 2011 model year.

This all brings us to today, as Mazda finally closes the chapter on the RX-8 by rolling the final rotary engine off of its production line and into a special edition Mazda Spirit R, which is only available in Japan. This closes one chapter in the life of the rotary engine, as Mazda has no plans to develop a replacement for the failed RX-8, despite rumors of an RX-9.

Even if the rotary is to make a comeback in the future, it will likely not come back as a gasoline engine. We would likely see it used in a gasoline/hydrogen hybrid system, as Bloomberg is reporting that Mazda is currently testing out how this Wankel works on hydrogen.

As much as we once loved the rotary engine, we think it is time to put this old dog down and let us remember the good old days of the 255-horsepower, 217 pound-feet of torque twin-boosted 1.3-liter rotary. The only way we could agree with bringing the rotary back is in a turbocharged sports car platform, like this engine is intended.

Despite having more special edition versions than any model in recent history, the Mazda MX-5 ’s popularity doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon.

Over in the UK, the Japanese sports roadster is still a hot ticket, so much so in fact that Mazda has decided to give the UK market yet another special edition model of the MX-5.

Say hello to the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition.

Available in two variants - one for the soft-top and one for the folding hard top - the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition distinguishes itself from the rest of its MX-5 peers with a host of aesthetic alterations, including a race car-inspired exterior graphics, black detailing around the front grille and front fog lights, ‘Kuro Edition’ badging all over the exterior, and a new set of 17" alloy wheels. The special edition model also gets a new rear sports bumper, a larger sports exhaust, and a choice of three different color options: Velocity Red Mica, Crystal White Pearlescent, and Brilliant Black.

Inside, the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition gets treated to Stone and Black heated leather seats, Stone leather door inserts, red stitching, a silver interior panel with red accents, alloy pedals, and floor mats with a race-inspired logo.

The soft-top variant of the Kuro Special Edition will come with a 1.8 liter engine that nets 126 horsepower and 123 lb/ft of torque while the hard-top model will be powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that produces 167 horsepower and 158 lb/ft of torque.

200 units of the soft-top model will be available in the UK at a price of £18,495 ($28,890), while 400 of the hard-top variant will be available at a price of £21,995 ($34,350).

Mazda will be attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed with a very cool Mazda MX-5 GT Concept which may head to production depending on customers’ reactions at the festival. The concept was developed by Jota Sport and looks a lot like the MX-5 Super20 unveiled last year at the SEMA Auto Show.

The GT Concept is powered by a normally aspirated 2.0-litre Mazda petrol engine that delivers a total of 205 HP and is mated to a standard manual gearbox. Mazda is also offering an updated suspension, as well as an impressive aerodynamic package that includes a carbon front splitter, a rear diffuser, and a boot spoiler. The final piece of the exterior is a sports exhaust system with a central tailpipe.

For the interior, the concept gets Recaro seats and plenty of carbon fiber to suits any sports car enthusiast. Road slicks and body-colored roll hoops behind the seats were also added for customers who want to run the car on the race track.

"This year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed we have a number of significant cars on the stand and contesting the hillclimb," said Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK. "The MX-5 has been our best known car for 22 years and with the GT4 and GT Concept on show, we are demonstrating that this car can compete with the more expensive race and performance cars but still remain true to its roots of affordable motoring with a strong focus on the driving experience."

In the last year, we have seen Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology make its way into various vehicles in an effort to increase fuel efficiency without reinventing the wheel. These technologies include advanced weight reduction, reduced friction, forced induction, and ultra-high compression ratings. All of these advancements combine to boost the fuel economy ratings of Mazda’s street cars.

Now Mazda is ready to take SKYACTIV to the next level, and introduce it into racing, via the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. The first engine that Mazda will offer to race teams is the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine, which is an ultra-high-efficiency diesel engine. Now, before you start wondering how Mazda expects this engine to be competitive in the Grand-Am series, keep in mind that this engine will only be raced in the GX class, which is a class dedicated to alternative fuels and highly fuel efficient vehicles.

The SKYACTIV-D that is currently being developed will boast a 14-to-1 compression ratio, a two-stage turbocharger and a 5,200 rpm redline. In comparison to the current Mazda 2 Mazda 2 .2-liter diesel engine, the SKYACTIV-D is 10 percent lighter, has 20 percent less internal friction, and gets 20 percent better fuel economy.

The production numbers are not out yet for this racing engine, but we do know that the production SKYACTIV 2.2-liter diesel produces 173 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. We will update you with the official base numbers once Mazda completes the dyno phase of its testing.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

The European auto market has the Spring Edition . The American auto market has the Special Edition . Continuing on that trend, Mazda has announced that it will be releasing a new special run model of their highly-popular MX-5 Miata sports car for the German market.

The model is called the MX-5 Senshu Special Edition, which made its debut at the 2012 Auto Mobil International Show in Leipzig, Germany.

The "Senshu" name is Japanese for "player," and this particular Miata is all that and more. It’s available in three different exterior colors - Red, White, and Black - and is based on the MX-5’s Sports Line spec model.

On the outside, the Senshu Special Edition comes equipped with a unique black surround design on the front front grille, racing stripes that run along the car’s profile, a matte black rear diffuser, xenon headlights, a lowered Bilstein sports suspension, and a new set of 17" dark alloy wheels wrapped in 205/45 R17 tires.

Inside, the special edition MX-5 gets treated to leather seats dressed in a two-tone black and gray scheme. It also has red stitching on the door panels, red surrounds on the air vents, an aluminum trim decoration, sports aluminum pedals, and a Bose audio system.

No performance enhancements were made to the car so expect it to carry the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Only 200 of these babies will hit the German market with each being priced at €29,190, a number that converts to $36,297 based on current exchange rates.

Alfa Romeo Spider

Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider . These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.

After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.

We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.

Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.

It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.

Leave it to Mazda to decide that the world hasn’t had enough of special edition MX-5 Miatas .

Actually, they’re right; we can’t get enough of them. So when they took to the 2012 Auto Mobil International Show in Leipzig, Germany to debut the MX-5 Miata Yushu Concept, it certainly got our attention, and then some.

Named after the Japanese word for "Victory," the MX-5 Yusho Concept is the kind of concept proposal for the popular sports car that makes us remember why we love Miatas so much.

The matte white paint finish is already an eye-catcher in its own right, but it also paints only a part of the modifications Mazda did to the car. It also received new aero components, a new interior treatment, and best of all, engine modifications.

About the only thing we didn’t like about the MX-5 Yushu Concept was Mazda failing to say that the car - or at least some of the mods - is getting ready for production.

Nevertheless, the MX-5 Yushu Concept is still a beauty, a car that we’re more than hoping to see out in dealerships sooner rather than later.

UPDATE 07/24/12: Mazda has released a new video of the MX-5 Yushu Concept doing some rounds at the Nurburgring! Check it out by clicking on the photo above!
Find out more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata Yushu Concept after the jump.

Mazda MX-5

Just a few days ago, we reported that Mazda and Fiat have joined forces to jointly produce a new sports car based on the upcoming redesigned MX-5 Miata . Fiat would use this opportunity to revive the once popular Alfa Romeo Spider, the car whose shoes the MX-5 filled back in 1990. This could not only revive the Spider overseas, but it could also bring Alfa Romeo back into the U.S. market at a reasonable price.

Recently, at a Chrysler event, a reporter from Reuters learned that this relationship may go even further than simply jointly manufacturing a sports car. The report states that Fiat Fiat is also open to allowing Mazda to use Chrysler plants to manufacture their North America-bound cars. This would obviously help Mazda Mazda a great deal, as importing cars from Japan to North American countries is extremely expensive and drives up the cars’ MSRPs, which in turn drives customers out of dealerships.

There is nothing official, but we could see something like the Ford-Mazda partnership that started in 1979 and effectively ended in 2010. This would result in various joint-ventures between Fiat , Chrysler , Alfa Romeo , and Mazda , making the group one that rivals Volkswagen Auto Group, though a tad less luxurious and expensive. The advancements across the board, however, would be similar.

After some tough times, Mazda finally saw some gains in 2011, as its market share increased 9 percent that year, but it needs more to remain afloat. Mazda should see some additional increases over the next few year regardless, as the RX-8 , which was down 33 percent in 2011, is being discontinued and the Miata, which was down 11 percent, is being significantly redesigned. A little added boost from a production-cost sharing venture with Fiat and Chrysler could do nothing but help all three rebounding brands and reinvent Alfa Romeo in the U.S.

Source: Reuters

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