The Mazda Miata MX-5 first hit the market in the 1990 model year as an attempt to resurrect the roadster market. Not only did the model succeed in making roadsters cool again, but it also has continued its uninterrupted run all the way into the 2016 model year. This model year brought about the fourth-generation Miata and a new, wilder appearance. For 2016, the Miata will continue offering a Club trim level, which will add in a little touch of sportiness with a revised chassis, some visual upgrades, and a few extra tech goodies.

The Club trim level will split the gap between the base Sport trim and the range-topping Grand Touring, giving buyers a nice middle-ground model to opt for. With the roadster market growing thinner in recent years, the Miata finds itself almost uncontested again, as the Nissan 370Z is nearly too expensive to matter, and the Mini Cooper Roadster is front driven and is a dead man walking that is gone after the 2015 model year.

With no direct competition to speak of, did Mazda go soft with the 2016 MX-5 Club?

Continue reading my review of the 2016 MX-5 Miata Club to find out.

  • 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    155
  • Torque @ RPM:
    148
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    27000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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The exterior of the MX-5 Miata Club is nearly indistinguishable from the standard model, but there are a few small bits added in that do set it apart. To give this trim level a sportier look, Mazda added lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, side-sill extensions, and a rear bumper skirt. These aero add-ons should look familiar, as they are the same ones that debuted on the 2015 MX-5 Global Cup race car.

Other than those couple of bits, the Miata Club is identical to the standard Miata, which means it has the new and wild body design that has taken some enthusiasts (myself included) time to warm up to.

Interior

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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There are no real changes to the cabin of the Club trim level, save for some extra features. These added standard features include a Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, a multifunction commander control, SiriusXM radio, two USB ports, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers.

For added safety in case you manage to find a way to get the Miata upside-down, Mazda also added seatback bars.

Drivetrain

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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Powering the Club trim level is the same 2.0-liter Skyctiv-G four-cylinder engine in every other 2015 MX-5. It puts out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed Skyactiv-MT transmission or a six-speed auto transmission delivers the power to the rear wheels via a limited-slip rear diff.

The big difference between the Sport and Club models is in the chassis and suspension. When equipped with the standard manual transmission, the Club model will come with stiffer Billstein shocks, and a shock-tower brace. Additionally, the aforementioned 17-inch gunmetal alloy rollers come wrapped up in 205/45R17 performance tires.

Prices

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club High Resolution
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Mazda hasn’t revealed pricing for the Club trim level yet, but the base Miata Sport will start at $24,915. In 2015, the Club trim level, which had many of the same upgrades as the 2016 model’s Club trim, was 12 percent more expensive than the base Sport trim. I suspect the 2016 model will have a similar price jump from Sport to Club, making the latter’s MSRP about $27,900.

Competition

Nissan 370Z Roadster

2014 - 2016 Nissan 370Z Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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The roadster market is getting a little thin these days, leaving the Miata with only the stiffest of competition. The stiffest of them all is the Nissan 370Z Roadster. Not only does this drop-top look the part of a mean sports car, but it backs these looks up with a 3.7-liter V-6 that delivers 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque – more than double the horsepower than the MX-5.

The Nissan is a lot heavier than the Mazda, at 3,232 pounds, but the added oomph of its engine is enough to get it to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, which will likely be at least 0.5 second quicker than the Miata. The real sore spot for the 370Z is its starting price of $41,820, which is nearly $14,000 more than I expect the Miata Club to cost.

Check out our full review of the Nissan 370Z Roadster here

Mini Roadster S

2014 Mini Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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The Mini Roadster is another model that can technically compete with the Miata Club, but still has stark differences that may keep MX-5 buyers away. This model makes use of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. While it is far more powerful than the MX-5, its 0-to-60 sprint is in the same range as I expect the MX-5 to be in (6.7 seconds), but its front-wheel drive kills the experience a bit.

What you do get with the Mini Cooper S Roadster is a unique look and BMW’s build quality, but it comes at a starting price of $29,100.

Check out our full review of the Mini Roadster S here

Conclusion

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club High Resolution
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Though Mazda did oversell it a bit with its teasing, I do like the fact that the Club trim level will continue as a sportier version of the Miata, almost separate from the rest of the trims. It’s also nice to see that there are a few visual upgrades to set it apart too. It looks like this is about as close as we’ll see to a Mazdaspeed MX-5 in the 2016 model year.

  • Leave it
    • * Still a little upset over the choice of engines
    • * Its new looks are still growing on many of us

Press Release 1

Ready to join the Club? The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club edition, that is.

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) will be introducing the North American-spec MX-5 Club next week at the New York International Auto Show. The MX-5 Club represents the most aggressive road-going iteration of Mazda’s fourth-generation flagship roadster.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club High Resolution
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The 2016 MX-5 sheds approximately 150 lbs. from its predecessor through use of lightweight, efficient SKYACTIV®1 TECHNOLOGY, now weighing 2,332 lbs. when equipped with the standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission (2,381 lbs. with the six-speed automatic). Powering all North American models will be a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV engine, rated at 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque.

Shorter than the first-generation MX-5 that initially graced U.S. shores in 1989, yet wider than the outgoing model and with its engine lower and farther back in its chassis, the 2016 MX-5 is designed to deliver maximum driving enjoyment. The MX-5 Club aims to amplify that experience, harking back to the early lightweight sports cars that inspired it, but serving as a beacon for the future as a thoroughly modern, sophisticated package.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

Press Release 2

NEW YORK, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today introduced the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club at the New York International Auto Show, marking the world debut of the North American-focused Club model.
2016 MX-5 Club

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club High Resolution
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Lighter, smaller, quicker and more nimble than its predecessor, MX-5 has adopted Mazda’s full suite of SKYACTIV Technology and KODO—Soul of Motion design. In the process, MX-5 has shed approximately 150 pounds from its predecessor, with a curb weight of 2,332 lbs. when equipped with SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission (2,381 lbs. with the six-speed automatic transmission).

The MX-5 Club heightens performance with trim-level exclusive:

17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels wrapped in 205/45R17 tires
Limited-slip differential when equipped with SKYACTIV-MT
Bilstein shocks when equipped with SKYACTIV-MT
Shock tower brace when equipped with SKYACTIV-MT
Front air dam and rear lip spoilers

Standard equipment on MX-5 Club models includes MAZDA CONNECT™ infotainment system with a seven-inch color touchscreen display and multi-function commander control, HD and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, two USB ports, piano black side mirrors and seatback bars and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers.

Also available for the MX-5 Club is a package that equips the roadster with forged lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brakes and functional aerodynamic side sill extensions and rear bumper skirt that were previewed at the Chicago Auto Show and on the MX-5 Global Cup race car.

"MX-5 is the heart and soul of Mazda, serving as a beacon for the rest of our lineup with its fun-to-drive dynamics, design and technologies," said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. "Jinba Ittai—oneness between driver and machine—defines the MX-5. It’s a philosophy that has led every decision we’ve made toward bringing the MX-5 back to the basics that made drivers fall in love with it 26 years ago when the first generation debuted."

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
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All MX-5s bound for North America will come with compact LED headlights, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine. The MX-5 will be equipped with either a standard six-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual or available six-speed automatic. Further packaging details will be made available closer to the MX-5’s summer on-sale date.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

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