Mazda is once again turning to the Forza Horizon 2virtual world to promote its upcoming MX-5 sports car, and gamers are all the better for it. Beginning March 17, the 2016 model will be available for free download to drive in game. Additionally, any and all console racers who take the wheel will have the chance to win an MX-5 in real life. You know, for outside and stuff.

To supplement the MX-5, this car pack also includes the 2010 MX-5 Super20 SEMA concept car, the 1990 MX-5 and 2005 MAZDASPEED MX-5. To get it, head over to the Mazda landing page after logging into Xbox Live.

Players will be able to compete against one another for an actual MX-5 car. Here’s how it works: first, log into Xbox Live and navigate to either the Games, Music, Movies or Apps channel. Once there, you might see a Mazda MX-5 ad. Click it to go to the ad landing page. Then, register to enter the contest by following the prompts on the contest page. You will be required to play in the appropriate Rival Mode event, called the “Mazda MX-5 Challenge,” using the 2016 MX-5 from the car pack on the Sisteron Perimeter Sprint Track. The two players with the quickest times will be flown out to LA this June to compete in a head-to-head battle, with the winner receiving a sparkling-new 2016 MX-5. The contest ends April 30th. 

And who said playing video games would never amount to anything?

Continue reading to learn more about the new Mazda MX-5 Car Pack.

Why it matters

The chance to get behind the wheel of the new MX-5 before it hits dealerships is yet another reason promotions like this are so awesome. Think of it like one the most badass test-drives you could possibly take. Now, you can shred tires and rub fenders without some pesky salesman in the passenger seat complaining about the “speed limit” or “going off-road” or “don’t hit that fence.”

What’s more, the chance to win a real car is reason enough to see what you can do at the Sisteron Perimeter Sprint Track. However, I’m worried the fastest time might be set by some 12-year-old who found a glitch that cuts the total track distance in half. It’s the kind of exploit you see constantly when Internet bragging rights are on the line. Throw in a brand new Mazda sports car, and well, you can be sure all bets are off. 

Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Since 1989, the Mazda Miata MX-5 has been the darling of driving enthusiasts worldwide. Underneath the cute secretary exterior lays a handling package that can make six-figure sports cars red in the face. With such incredible on-track potential by a two-door roadster available at a very affordable price, it should come as no surprise that entire single-model race series devoted to the MX-5 are running strong to this day.

Now, the fourth generation is upon us, and it looks to continue that tradition of absolute driving focus, with Mazda throwing in a slew of updates to keep it fresh.

The heart of the MX-5 philosophy revolves around a compact, RWD design that sheds mass wherever possible. Therefore, curb weight will be kept down to about a metric ton at 2,332 pounds. Length is 154 inches, width is 68.1 inches, and height is 48.6 inches. Wheelbase is 91.4 inches.

The exterior body panels adopt Mazda’s new “Kodo – Soul Of Motion” design language, which means it looks quite a bit more aggressive than in years past. The front end is more angular, with a large front air dam, exaggerated rear wheel arches, and a simple, squared tail.

Under the creased hood lines sits a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G inline four-cylinder engine, which creates 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. While not capable of producing any land speed records, the way the MX-5 slingshots you through a corner belies its humble power output. Transmission choices include either a six-speed manual or automatic, although anyone who purchases an MX-5 with a slushbox should have their head examined.

The front-midship engine, RWD layout gives this car good weight distribution, with the overall balance enhanced by double wishbone suspension in the front and a multilink setup in the rear.

There’s a reason the MX-5 has been one of the most popular Mazdas for the past quarter-century or so, which means this fourth generation has some pretty big shoes to fill. On paper, it looks to fit the bill. Perhaps some FH2 comparisons are in order?

Pricing is expected to start around $25,000.

Press Release

Beginning March 17, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is giving Forza Horizon 2 players the exclusive opportunity to drive the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on Xbox One months before the physical car goes on sale to the public. Additionally, by taking advantage of the free download of the car, and driving it in the game, users will have the chance to win one by competing in the new Time Trial Rivals Contest. In addition to the free download for the 2016 MX-5, the Mazda MX-5 pack gives Forza Horizon 2 gaming enthusiasts the chance to collect and drive other special one-of-a-kind MX-5s exclusively on Xbox One.

Forza Horizon 2 Gets Mazda MX-5 Car Pack - Win a New Miata! High Resolution Exterior
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"Through history, there have been very few purer sportscars than the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and this fourth generation car is no exception," said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing, MNAO. "In the past, Miata was always a product of the analogue world, but this new 2016 model is the most sophisticated and digital yet, while still being a throwback to everything that made the original 1990 car so special. The new car is nearly as light, yet with a power-to-weight ratio exceeding that of its predecessor. While the physical car doesn’t go on sale until later this summer, we’re excited to give fans an opportunity to get behind the virtual wheel in Forza Horizon 2 to drive it before they can buy it."

Forza Horizon 2 Mazda MX-5 Car Pack
Mazda MX-5 fans – and anyone who loves real sportscars — will be able to explore the car in tremendous detail inside and out through Forza Horizon 2’s stunning graphics. They will also get to experience the car in the game’s massive open-world roads and, for the first time, in various climates and day and night settings. It will be the ultimate test drive for those accustomed to getting all their information digitally, and all before you can drive one in the real world.

The Forza Horizon 2 Mazda Car Pack will be made up of the 2016 MX-5, 2010 MX-5 Super20 SEMA concept car, 1990 MX-5 and 2005 MAZDASPEED MX-5. To download, after logging into Xbox Live on Xbox One, users can head to the Mazda landing page to find the car pack.

Those heading to the SXSW Gaming Expo, taking place Friday, March 13 to Sunday, March 15 in Austin, Texas, will be able to be amongst the first to drive the virtual 2016 MX-5 at Mazda’s booth (#513) before it becomes available to download. As part of its activities at the expo, Mazda will have two interactive driving simulators pre-loaded with the 2016 MX-5. Mazda also will announce the winner of the Mazda Livery Design Contest, entered from the Xbox One and Xbox 360 platforms, at the show on Sunday, March 15 at 4:00 p.m. CDT.

Win a 2016 MX-5 in Time Trials Rivals Contest…Before It Arrives In Dealerships
The Time Trial Rivals Contest, which begins Tuesday, March 17 and ends Thursday, April 30, will give Forza Horizon 2 players the opportunity to win a 2016 MX-5—not a model, not a toy, but a real 2016 MX-5. To enter, users must log into Xbox Live using their Xbox One console and navigate to any one of the following channels: Games, Music, Movies or Apps. From there, users may see a Mazda MX-5 ad and must click into the Mazda MX-5 ad landing experience. Once on the hub, users must register to enter the contest by following the prompts on the contest page. Players will be required to play in the appropriate Rival Mode event (the "Mazda MX-5 Challenge") using the 2016 Mazda MX-5 vehicle from the Forza Horizon 2 Mazda MX-5 Car Pack on the Sisteron Perimeter Sprint Track. The two players with the fastest times will be flown to Los Angeles in June to compete head-to-head in a winner-take-all race, with the winner receiving a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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