Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe
NEWS ON RADIO
A Message from the Mazda MX-5 Programme Manager
At the 2006 British International Motor Show, we at Mazda are unveiling a new version of our modern motoring icon. It’s called the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, and it opens up a new dimension of fun and versatility for people who love open-top sports cars.
The Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe is a brand-new counterpart to the third-generation MX-5, which we launched in 2005. It has the same responsive performance and emotive styling as the soft top model. But at the same time, it’s equipped with the unique Power Retractable Hard Top — the first-ever electrically retractable hard top that doesn’t sacrifice any boot space.
The third-generation MX-5 embodies Mazda’s belief that the MX-5 experience should centre on driving enjoyment. And the key to that driving enjoyment is our dedication to Jinba Ittai — an intimate driver-car relationship that can be likened to the synergy of a rider and horse moving as one.
With the new MX-5 Roadster Coupe, we’re delivering an undiluted MX-5 Jinba Ittai experience. At the same time, the Power Retractable Hard Top means a wider range of people can join the worldwide circle of MX-5 owners and enjoy the exhilaration of driving an open-top, lightweight sports car.
The MX-5 Roadster Coupe is ready to spread the fun of lightweight sports cars in diverse and distinctive new ways. I’m certain that this new version of MX-5 which creates the purest-ever expression of Zoom-Zoom motoring, is going to be another winner for Mazda.
The model name differs from market to market. In Europe and Australia, it is ‘Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe’. In North America, it is ‘Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Power Retractable Hard Top’. And in Japan, it is ‘Mazda Roadster Power Retractable Hard Top’.
The MX-5 Roadster Coupe goes on sale in Australia in October and will be priced at less than $50,000. The current soft top MX-5 range continues.
20th July, 2006
The Evolution of a Modern Motoring Icon
Since its launch in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 has been a smash-hit product around the world. It’s so popular that it holds a place in the Guinness world records as the world’s top-selling lightweight, open, two-seater sports car, and it has won over 150 industry awards around the globe. Demand is as strong as ever and by the end of May 2006, cumulative production stood at 769,454 units.
The current MX-5 — the third generation of this modern motoring icon — made its global debut at the 2005 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva. It’s an uncomplicated open-top, lightweight sports car in which Mazda further evolved the Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics of the previous MX-5 generation for even greater driving enjoyment. And sports car enthusiasts around the world have overwhelmingly endorsed it.
Customers’ high evaluation of the third-generation MX-5 has been echoed in the form of many prestigious industry honours including the Car of the Year Japan 2005–2006 award, a Car and Driver 2006 10 Best Cars award, and selection as one of top three contenders for the 2006 World Car of the Year award.
Jinba Ittai and the MX-5 Fun Factor
The MX-5 is lots of fun because its Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics give the driver the fun of feeling fully in command of the car and the fun of an open-top driving experience in which the driver feels in touch with his or her surroundings and can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. At the same time, the MX-5 makes everyday life more enjoyable for the owner because it’s fun to look at, fun to personalise, and adds to the fun of getting together with friends. In other words, it’s outstandingly fun to drive, fun to own, and fun to use.
Since Jinba Ittai has always been central to the MX-5’s ‘lots of fun’ personality, a fishbone chart was designed to precisely define all the attributes necessary for a further-evolved Jinba Ittai experience in the third-generation MX-5. Mazda engineers then worked in each of six fishbone-chart categories — driving, braking, cornering, listening, touching, and styling — in pursuit of those attributes. And throughout this effort, Mazda’s unique philosophy of Kansei engineering, which focuses on immeasurable Kansei values such as pleasure, beauty, and emotional attachment, was applied.
The MX-5 Roadster Coupe: What, Why, and How?
Mazda felt an obligation to satisfy these customers and realised that a model with a powered, retractable hard top would be an ideal way to expand the MX-5 customer base. So with the third-generation MX-5 as its starting point, Mazda began developing a retractable hard top model in which the essence of a lightweight sports car would not be diluted in any way.
The goal with the MX-5 Roadster Coupe was to further heighten the fun of the third-generation MX-5 open-top driving experience by incorporating a hard top equipped with a user-friendly open/close system. Realising this goal meant also delivering the Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics that make the MX-5 fun to drive and the distinctive roadster design that make it fun to look at. Mazda also envisaged a new kind of fun for owners: the fun of having a car whose novelty, trendiness, and premium quality would attract attention.
The MX-5 Roadster Coupe: Challenges and Achievements Leads to a World
1) Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics make the MX-5 Roadster Coupe fun to
2) Instantly recognisable styling makes the MX-5 Roadster Coupe fun to
3) User-friendly features for open-top driving make the MX-5 Roadster
Coupe fun to use.
An Overview of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe
The world’s first electric roof-retraction system that has no impact on boot space
An undiluted MX-5 Jinba Ittai driving experience
Sports car design that’s both emotionally stimulating and welcoming
Comfort oriented features for enjoyable open- and closed-top driving
Craftsmanship that heightens the pleasure of using the car
Safety and environmental compatibility matching those of the soft top model
A Detailed Look at the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe
The features of the MX-5 Roadster Coupe fall into three categories: (1) the Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics that make the car fun to drive; (2) the instantly recognisable styling that makes the car fun to own; and (3) the user-friendly features for open-top driving that make the car fun to use.
1) Jinba Ittai-focused dynamics (‘Fun to Drive’
Optimal Weight and Body Dimensions
Further, the MX-5 Roadster Coupe is equally as compact as the soft top model. An increase over the soft top model of 10mm in the overall height with the roof closed is the only dimensional difference.
The combination of lightness and compactness contributes to lively, linear performance that is manifested in the form of satisfyingly brisk response to the accelerator pedal. And since the roof — a relatively heavy item — retracts within the wheelbase, it does not detract from the weight distribution and yaw-inertia moment that help to make the third-generation MX-5 handle so well.
Uncompromised Body Stiffness
Great Handling and a Great Sound
Owing to the relatively heavy roof, the MX-5 Roadster Coupe’s front/rear weight distribution and the height of its centre of gravity differ from those of the soft top model. Also, the balance of stiffness between the front and rear of the body differs from that of the soft top model. To minimise the impact of these factors on Jinba Ittai performance, Mazda optimised the suspension damper and spring settings.
The result of the design revisions is handling that’s characterised not so much by the briskness that distinguishes the soft top model but more by characteristics that give a refined ride. The MX-5 Roadster Coupe’s movements feel slightly gentler than those of the soft top model; drivers and passengers perceive a relatively smoother, milder road feel. The overall driving and riding feel is ideally suited to people who appreciate the MX-5 Roadster Coupe’s quality.
To make the driving experience even more enjoyable, the great handling is accompanied by an exhilarating engine sound courtesy of the same Mazda engines used in the soft top model.
2) Instantly Recognisable Styling
Styling that’s Faithful to the Iconic MX-5 Look
Toward the rear of the body, essential design adjustments were made to accommodate the Power Retractable Hard Top without compromising the car’s identity. Most crucially, incorporating the roof so it could be retracted into the cabin (behind the seats) without affecting the boot space necessitated a rear-deck structure different from that of the soft top model. Also, achieving a good visual balance between the body and roof demanded several design adjustments at the rear of the body.
Aside from an electrically powered rear cover, the most visible differences from the soft top model lie in the contours of the rear guards and boot lid and in a new design for the high-mounted stop light. The rear combination lamps and rear bumper are the same as those of the soft top model.
A Body Design with Great Looks and Roof Functionality
To provide a visual balance with the relatively high rear without compromising the car’s low-slung roadster look, the rear guards are more prominently contoured toward the top than those of the soft top model. The powerful-looking rear end strikingly complements the neat, sleek lines of the closed roof.
A Compact and Stylish Roof Design
The roof’s tautly curved form makes the cabin look compact, and its rear edge is shaped to flow toward the horizontal for a look of speed. The rear window has a printed heating element and is slightly larger than that of the soft top model for enhanced rearward visibility.
A Rich Choice of Body Colours
An Interior Design Exuding Sportiness and Fun
As with the soft top model, the interior trim is available in three packages: one based on saddle-tan leather, one based on black leather, and one based on black fabric (availability differs by market).
The only noticeable difference from the soft top model at the front of the cabin is the addition of ‘open’ and ‘close’ buttons and an indicator lamp (to control and monitor operation of the roof) near the top of the centre stack of the instrument panel. The buttons are easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
The back trim differs slightly from that of the soft top model: There’s no roof-opening-hook lever between the seats, and the trim does not incorporate storage recesses behind the seats because of the incorporation of the roof storage space between the trim and the boot.
The seats are the same as those of the soft top model, so a seatback pocket is provided.
3) Insightfully Conceived User-Friendliness for Open-Top Driving (‘Fun to
The Power Retractable Hard Top
In pursuit of a smooth, compact retraction arrangement that would neither compromise the MX-5’s distinctive roadster styling nor involve a major weight increase, many concepts using a variety of component shapes, materials, and activation mechanisms were tried. A new combination of light, highly formable and stiff plastics for the roof sections was a big part of the solution.
Roof-opening and roof-closing operations are initiated using buttons that flank the hazard-warning button and with reference to an indicator lamp that’s located beside the buttons. The operations are quietly effected by two roof motors and two rear-deck motors, which are all controlled by a dedicated electronic control unit.
The user must manually apply a centre lock (this is identical to that of the soft top model) to retain the roof after closing it. And the user must release the centre lock before opening the roof. These requirements help to enhance safety. The indicator lamp allows the user to check whether the roof is presently locked or unlocked.
If the user releases the ‘open’ or ‘close’ button part-way through a roof movement, the indicator lamp comes on and warning beeps are emitted for 10 seconds as a safety warning.
Advantages of In-Cabin Roof Retraction
The in-boot roof-retraction arrangement of competitor models leaves a greatly reduced amount of space for luggage (up to 93% of the boot’s luggage capacity is sacrificed in the worst case when the roof is stowed) and can force the user to remove luggage from the boot before the roof can be opened. With most models, the user must also get out of the car and manually position a partition board in the boot before starting to open the roof. And since the roof and partition board obstruct the boot opening, they impede the loading and unloading of luggage.
The advantages of the Power Retractable Hard Top mean that a person in the MX-5 Roadster Coupe can open and close the roof quickly and easily, without needing to step out of the car, and without losing luggage capacity. The boot has the same deep, capacious design as that of the soft top model. It has a capacity of 150 litres (VDA).
Smooth, Easy, Confidence-Inspiring Opening and Closing
Roof-opening and roof-closing operations each take only 12 seconds (the shortest time taken by any electrically retractable hard top on the market today), so the user can open or close the roof without a long interruption in driving enjoyment. But the Power Retractable Hard Top’s operation is not merely fast; a moment of relatively slow movement at the beginning and ending of each roof-opening or roof-closing operation promotes the user’s sense that the operation has been completed reliably and safely.
To give users even greater confidence, the Power Retractable Hard Top has failsafe functions that prevent unintended roof movements while the car is moving. The electronic control unit that governs roof-opening and roof-closing operations provides these functions by interacting with the powertrain control module, keyless entry controller, and other electronic control units and systems and by functioning in accordance with data from sensors located around the car. Reliability also contributes to peace of mind for users. Exhaustive durability tests in diverse temperature conditions helped to ensure ample reliability for frequent operation of the Power Retractable Hard Top.
Not Too Much Wind in Your Hair
The front edge of the rear deck (immediately behind the seats) is 40mm higher than that of the soft top model, so the aero board is supplemented by an air guide that directs forward-flowing air upward so users don’t suffer an uncomfortable flow of air against the back of the neck. Consequently, wind control during open-top driving is every bit as effective as that of the soft top model.
A Relaxingly Quiet Cabin Environment
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