Mazda Launches Freshened MX-5 in Japan
10th December, 2008
Mazda Motor Corporation has announced the launch of the freshened Mazda Roadster (known as the MX-5 in export markets)
into the Japanese domestic market. Mazda’s updated iconic light weight, open-top sports car went on sale yesterday (9th
December, 2008) at all Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers throughout Japan.
The latest version of Mazda’s two-seat sports car carries forward the Roadster’s traditional “Jinba Ittai” (“rider
and horse as one”) concept, and features detailed improvements in the exterior and interior design, quality, functionality
and dynamic performance. As a result, the Roadster is now more fun-to-drive and more desirable than ever. The RHT models,
which provide both the enjoyment of open-top driving and the comfort of a coupe, are now even quieter and feature new,
exclusive exterior parts, offering customers even higher levels of comfort and quality.
The design of the front fascia has been updated with Mazda’s five-point grille. A stronger character line that
stretches along the lower edge of the vehicle’s sides has been visually extended to the rear bumper, further enhancing the
Roadster’s sporty dynamism. Newly designed alloy wheels (two sizes) now come as standard on all model grades. Three new
exterior body colours have been added, including the high quality Aluminium Metallic and vivid Sunflower Yellow.
On the inside, the five gauges on the instrument panel have been newly designed and are highlighted by a dark silver
decorative panel. The interior quality is enhanced by a choice of tactile brown leather seats or Recaro bucket seats
upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara®*1.
Comfort levels are also improved through the addition of heated seats with a temperature control with five temperature
settings (for model grades with leather seats only).
The rev limit on grades with a manual transmission has been increased to 7,500 rpm for improved driving performance. The
height of the front roll centre has been optimised, and the retuned suspension makes the vehicle’s handling even more natural.
Additionally, automatic grades now offer Direct Mode*2 and Active Adaptive Shift (AAS)*3 functions for
an even sportier ride. Improvements have also been made to the engine and body to enhance noise reduction levels and provide
a more satisfying engine sound.
The Mazda Roadster was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s highest production two-seat open-top sports car
when production passed 500,000 units in the year 2000, the final year of the twentieth century. Guinness has updated the
Roadster’s record since then, which now stands at over 800,000 units built.
*1 ALCANTARA® is a registered trademark of Alcantara S.p.A.
*2 Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters can be used to change gear even when the gear shift is in the Drive position.
*3 AAS automatically selects the optimal gear depending on driving style and road surface conditions.
Main features of the 2009 Mazda Roadster
The freshened Roadster carries forward the simple elegance and familiar styling of previous Roadsters, yet incorporates
Mazda’s latest design motifs.
||The front fascia now features Mazda’s hallmark five-pointed grille. Sharper headlights and bold fog light
bezels enhance the lively and refined styling. This further emphasises the curved corners of the front bumper, which also
improves the vehicle aerodynamics.|
||More prominent character lines running along the bottom of the vehicle sides strengthen the appearance of
the side sill garnish. The character lines have been visually extended to the rear bumper to better express speed and
||The rear end has been updated with new rear combination lights that flow smoothly into the bumper. A larger
black rear diffuser further emphasises the Roadster’s sporty appearance.|
||RHT models feature an exclusive mesh grille with a chrome border, chrome headlight inner bezels, silver fog
light inner bezels and chrome outer door handles. A high-mounted clear brake light completes the RHT’s distinctive and high
||All models come with newly designed alloy wheels as standard equipment. The five-spoke 16-inch wheels complement
the Roadster’s light weight image (on the S, NR-A, S RHT and VS RHT model grades). The 17-inch wheels feature 10 rounded spokes for
a more dynamic appearance (on the RS and RS RHT model grades). Additionally, forged 17 inch alloy wheels, customised by BBS, are
available as a factory installed option (on the RS, RS RHT and VS RHT grades).|
||Eight exterior body colours are available, including three new options: deep Metropolitan Grey Mica, high quality
Aluminium Metallic, and Sunflower Yellow, which expresses the Roadster’s Zoom-Zoom spirit.|
The interior design of the freshened Mazda Roadster offers improved quality and functionality in every
detail, while the snug cabin conveys a sense of openness.
||A sporty, dark silver decorative panel runs across the centre of the dashboard. Silver rings have been added to the
air conditioner dials on the centre panel to raise the interior quality feel.|
||The five gauges on the instrument cluster have been newly designed to make them easier to read. A red LCD screen is
located in the centre of the meter console. It displays data from the odometer/trip meter, as well as the average fuel consumption and
ambient air temperature.|
||The design of the inner door pocket has been flattened to increase space in the foot well. Soft padding has been
added to the lid on the centre console storage box and the door armrests to increase comfort levels.|
||The newly designed seats come in four grades. Sporty black fabric seats are available for all grades except the VS
RHT. The VS RHT features tactile, Havana Brown leather upholstery as standard equipment. Black leather seat covers (for the RS and the
RS RHT grades) and RECARO bucket seats upholstered in a combination of black leather and Alcantara® (for the RS, RS RHT and
VS RHT grades) are available as factory installed options.|
||The seats have larger side bolsters for greater support. For added comfort, heated seats with a five setting
temperature control are standard for the VS RHT and available for the RS and RS RHT grades as a factory installed option.|
||A BOSE® sound system, developed exclusively for the Roadster, features a six-channel digital amplifier and
seven speakers with independent playback. The system also features AUDIOPILOTTM 2, a BOSE® noise compensation system
(available as a factory installed option on all grades except NR-A).|
||An auxiliary jack that is located at the base of the centre stack provides connectivity for portable audio devices
(standard on the VS RHT and available as a factory installed option on all other grades except the NR-A).|
By reviewing and evolving the basic aspects of the vehicle’s dynamics, such as acceleration, cornering, and braking, Mazda further
enhanced the “Jinba Ittai” (“rider and horse as one”) feel that the Roadster has become famous for since the original version was introduced.
||The 2.0 litre double overhead cam (DOHC) engine features a newly forged crankshaft for extra strength. Additionally, new
full floating piston pins and revised valve springs raise the engine’s overall operational precision. Maximum output is now generated at 7,000
rpm, up from 6,700 rpm, and the rev limit has been increased from 7,000 to 7,500 rpm. These changes result in a stretched power band at higher
engine speeds (for manual transmission models).|
||The highly rigid forged crankshaft, together with a stiffer plastic surge tank, contributes to improved quietness when
cruising. At the same time, these changes bring out a clearer sound when driving at medium to high speeds. Six speed manual transmission models
also feature a newly developed Induction Sound Enhancer. This amplifies the throbbing noise generated as air is sucked into the engine and
reverberates it around the cabin for an even better driving experience.|
||The updated six speed manual transmission provides an even smoother shift feel thanks to the carbon coated meshing surfaces
on the first to fourth triple-cone synchronisers and a larger diameter third to fourth synchroniser.|
||The electrically-controlled six-speed automatic (Activematic) transmission now has a “Direct mode” and Active Adoptive Shift
(AAS) which enhance the sporty driving experience and provide better response to driver inputs.|
Body and chassis
||By lowering the front roll centre height by 26 mm, the added vertical load on the outer wheels when cornering is minimised.
This results in a more natural amount of body roll when cornering and more linear response to steering inputs. With added improvements to the
suspension, the updated Roadster offers improved “Jinba Ittai” handling balanced with a higher quality ride.|
||The protruding design of the front bumper corners and the rear combination lights, together with wider front under-floor
tyre deflectors, contribute to improved aerodynamics.|
The door modules are made from a stiffer new material and feature a reinforcement rib for extra rigidity.
Together with a stronger number two crossmember, these changes make sound insulation better than ever. For RHT models, road noise is further
reduced due to the addition of urethane foam filling in the front suspension crossmember and extra sound insulation in the roof.
Environmental and safety features
Mazda evolved the eco-friendly and safety features of the Mazda Roadster to increase
its fun-to-drive qualities.
More Mazda News
||All models qualify as Super-Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (SU-LEV) by achieving exhaust emissions that are at least 75%
lower than the levels required by the Japanese government’s 2005 exhaust emissions standard.|
||A display on the instrument panel shows the average fuel consumption and ambient temperature.|
||The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system supports linear and confident driving by helping to prevent loss of control
when cornering (standard equipment on the RS, RS RHT, and VS RHT grades).|
||The Roadster offers excellent collision safety performance thanks to a version of Mazda’s highly rigid Advanced
Impact-energy Distribution and Absorption System that has been specially adapted for an open-top car. Other safety equipment to mitigate
potential injuries to occupants and pedestrians includes an airbag system and a bonnet with Mazda’s shock cone