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Cars > Mazda > Mazda MX-5 turns 20

 By Ketan Patel View Comments

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Mazda MX-5 turns 20

The refreshed 2009 Mazda MX-5 soft top and Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe arrives in showrooms, armed with exciting new styling, a cleaner and greener line-up of powerplants, higher levels of standard equipment, a raft of enhancements to the cabin architecture and the option of the new PowerShift six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission.

Mazda MX-5 customers will now have a choice of four powertrains – the 126ps 1.8i; the higher-revving 160ps 2.0i with five-speed gearbox; the 160ps 2.0i with a revised six-speed manual gearbox; and the new 160ps 2.0i ‘PowerShift’ six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission with full-auto mode.

World's Best Selling Sports Car Turns 20

  • The 2009 Mazda MX-5, available in showrooms now, marks MX-5 20th anniversary
  • An appealing eight-strong Mazda MX-5 and Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe model line-up priced from £16,345 to £21,695 on-the-road
  • Athletic new styling, enhanced specification, greater fuel economy and lower CO 2 emissions add to the appeal of the iconic Mazda MX-5 for 2009
  • Debut of new ‘PowerShift' six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission with full auto mode

The refreshed 2009 Mazda MX-5 soft top and Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe arrives in showrooms, armed with exciting new styling, a cleaner and greener line-up of powerplants, higher levels of standard equipment, a raft of enhancements to the cabin architecture and the option of the new PowerShift six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission.

The 2009 model effectively updates Moray Callum's original design with an added dash of visual brio, and is instantly identified by its striking new five-point lower air intake that visually aligns the Mazda MX-5 with the Mazda6, Mazda2, all-new Mazda3 and Mazda RX-8 R3. Other design highlights include stylish new head- and tail-lights, rakish new front foglamp housings, restyled front and rear bumpers and more prominent side sills. These exterior modifications aren't purely cosmetic – they result in a slipperier and more aerodynamic shape, lowering the soft-top aerodynamic drag to Cd 0.38 and that of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe to Cd 0.36.

The flagship 2009 Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe enjoys a number of additional features to further differentiate it from its soft-top sibling. The new mesh-type front grille is surrounded by a chrome-look edge trim, the headlamps feature chrome bezels and the exterior door handles have a chrome finish. The front fog lamps have silver inner bezels and there is a clear lens for the high-mounted rear brake light.

Inside, the changes focus on greater versatility and refinement, with a larger storage tray in front of the gear lever, the centre console's two cupholders now have a new removable partition that allows the use of either two cupholders or one large storage space, while the map pockets are set into the door and no longer feature protruding water bottle holders. The enhancements are complemented by the new faces for the instruments, silvered climate control dials and the sporty brushed aluminium panel that runs the length of the dashboard.

On-the-go refinement has also been enhanced on both body styles by the adoption of stiffer door modules and additional sound insulation materials for less lateral vibration and reduced wheel resonance, resulting in a 2.7 dB drop in cabin noise levels compared to the outgoing model. And the premium Bose® audio system has also been extensively updated. It uses seven speakers, digital sound processing and six equalizer channels – two more channels than before – and its AudioPilot®2 noise compensation technology adjusts to both interior noise and vehicle speed for superb sound quality, roof up or down.

For 2009, Mazda MX-5 customers will now have a choice of four powertrains – the 126ps 1.8i; the higher-revving 160ps 2.0i with five-speed gearbox; the 160ps 2.0i with a revised six-speed manual gearbox; and the new 160ps 2.0i ‘PowerShift' six-speed sequential paddle-shift transmission with full-auto mode.

The sportscar thrills of driving the 160ps Mazda MX-5 2.0i with a manual transmission are further enhanced by the introduction of a new forged crankshaft, fully floating pistons and revised valve springing that together raise the revs at which peak power are developed to 7000rpm (up 300rpm) and push the red line from 7,000rpm to 7,500rpm.

Having created one of the world's best handling cars, Mazda's engineers were keen to further hone the Mazda MX-5's superb driving dynamics to an even sharper edge. The 2009 model benefits from a number of key modifications to its chassis and drivetrain line-up that together ensure it remains unrivalled both as a rewarding driver's car and an open-top roadster with peerless four-season appeal. A revised front double wishbone suspension set-up reduces the front roll centre by 26 mm resulting in a more linear steering response and even greater agility.

The Mazda MX-5 is also now available with an automatic transmission, and one entirely in keeping with the car's athleticism. The new PowerShift models, complete with F1-style gearshift paddles located behind the steering wheel, delivers the best of both worlds – an engaging and hands-on driving experience during cross-country driving and a relaxed fully-automatic mode for easy city driving and motorway cruising.

The Mazda MX-5's six-speed manual transmission has also been revised for an even shorter and more precise throw, while the final drive ratio for the five-speed manual transmission of the 1.8i engine was changed from 4.100 to 3.909 to improve fuel efficiency. And finally, the engine's acoustics have also been further tuned for roof‑down motoring - the MZR 2.0-litre petrol with six-speed manual transmission on the Sport Tech model is fitted with a newly developed Induction Sound Enhancer (ISE) for a heightened driving experience.

Despite these upgrades, the 2009 Mazda MX-5 range is cleaner and greener than ever before. Recalibrating the electronic engine management systems on the engine line-up has, in combination with superior aerodynamics, reduced fuel consumption and lowered emissions without impacting on performance and drivability.

CO 2 emission levels for the MZR 1.8i engine have dropped from 174 g/km to 167 g/km, while economy has climbed from 38.7 mpg to 40.4 mpg. When hooked up to the five‑speed manual transmission, the MZR 2.0i engine returns a combined economy figure of 38.2 mpg, up from 36.7 mpg while CO 2 emissions drop from 183 g/km to 177 g/km. Economy for the MZR 2.0-litre with six-speed manual transmission climbs from 36.7 mpg to 37.2 mpg, while CO 2 emissions drop by 2 g/km to 181 g/km.

What hasn't changed is the Mazda's MX-5's exceptional value for money - the 2009 upgrade means that every Mazda MX-5 comes with alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, gear knob and hand-brake, plus an MP3-compatible audio system with six speakers and a new auxiliary (AUX) input jack for MP3 player and iPod connection.

“The 2009 MX-5 effectively builds on the qualities that have made Mazda's two-seater roadster the best-selling sportscar in the world,” says Mazda UK 's managing director Jeremy Thomson.   Arriving with immaculate timing to a motoring audience crying out for fun and affordable roof-down driving, the perfectly proportioned roadster was brilliantly conceived and engineered to deliver undiluted driving pleasure.  It was an instant hit, its record-breaking sales success underlining the Mazda MX-5's global appeal.

“The unbridled dynamism and driver engagement of this 2009 model range can trace a clear and direct line to the 1990 original, a car that single-handedly resuscitated the small and affordable roadster market. Over the last 20 years more than 94,000 Mazda MX-5 models have found homes in the UK , and I'm positive the 2009 model will continue this unprecedented success.”

 

Mazda MX-5 turns 20

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