Κυρίες και κύριοι, αυτό είναι το ολοκαίνουριο 2016 Mazda MX-5. Η πολυαναμενόμενη τέταρτη γενιά (ND) το δημοφιλέστατου roadster που η Mazda μας παρουσίασε χωρίς να έχουν προηγηθεί 127 teaser. Γιατί όταν μιλάμε για το MX-5, η δημιουργία “hype” είναι κάτι που απλά γίνεται μόνο του…
Το πρώτο που προσέχει κανείς στο νέο MX-5, είναι φυσικά το design. Εδώ, έχουμε την πρώτη σημαντική διαφοροποίηση της τέταρτης γενιάς από τις υπόλοιπες. Η Mazda αποφάσισε να αποχωριστεί τον “χαριτωμένο” σχεδιασμό και να υιοθετήσει ένα πολύ πιο επιθετικό σχέδιο. Φυσικά, η σχεδιαστική γλώσσα “Kodo” της εταιρίας είναι εμφανής με το πλατύ και χαμηλό αμάξωμα και έναν συνδυασμό καθαρών γραμμών και έντονων ακμών.
Το 2016 MX-5, είναι μεγαλύτερο σε πλάτος αλλά μικρότερο σε μήκος και ύψος από το μοντέλο που αντικαθιστά, με το μεταξόνιο όμως να διατηρείται πρακτικά ίδιο (ΜxΥxΠ: 3.915 x 1.235 x 1.730, Μεταξόνιο: 2.315 χιλιοστά). Επίσης, στην παρουσίαση επιβεβαιώθηκε πως το βάρος του ND, θα είναι κατά 100 κιλά μικρότερο από αυτό του NC.
Δυστυχώς, σε αυτό το σημείο, δεν γνωρίζουμε το ακριβές βάρος του Ιαπωνικού roadster (αν και λέγεται ότι θα ζυγίζει περίπου 1.050 κιλά), ούτε την χωρητικότητα ή την ιπποδύναμη του κινητήρα που θα κληθεί να το κινήσει. Το μόνο που ανακοίνωσε η Mazda, είναι πως ο κινητήρας θα είναι SKYACTIV-G. Η τρέχουσα γκάμα της συγκεκριμένης οικογένειας κινητήρων, αποτελείται από σύνολα 1.3, 1.5, 2.0 και 2.5 λίτρων με την λογική να λέει πως επικρατέστεροι είναι ο 1500άρης και ο δίλιτρος. Υπάρχουν φήμες δε, που λένε πως οι κινητήρες θα αναβαθμιστούν ώστε να αποδίδουν 140 και 180 άλογα αντίστοιχα αλλά στην παρουσίαση δεν αναφέρθηκε κάτι τέτοιο.
Όποιος και να είναι πάντως ο κινητήρας, θα συνδυάζεται είτε με ένα νέο 6-τάχυτο μηχανικό κιβώτιο είτε με ένα επίσης νέο, αντίστοιχων σχέσεων αυτόματο. Η ισχύς φυσικά θα περνά στον δρόμο από τους πίσω τροχούς. Η ανάρτηση θα αποτελείται διπλά ψαλίδια για τον εμπρός άξονα και μία διάταξη πολλαπλών συνδέσμων στον πίσω ενώ οι τροχοί, θα έχουν διάσταση 195/50/16 (προαιρετικά 205/40/17) ενώ οι ζάντες θα είναι τετραμπούλονες.
Να αναφέρουμε επίσης, πως όλα τα νούμερα που έχουν αναφερθεί αφορούν στο μοντέλο που θα λανσαριστεί στην Ιαπωνική αγορά, και μπορεί να αλλάξουν για όλες τις υπόλοιπες. Τέλος, η τιμή του 2016 Mazda MX-5 θα ανακοινωθεί πιο κοντά στην ημερομηνία έναρξης των πωλήσεων αλλά η Mazda αναφέρει συχνά τη λέξη “προσιτό”.
All-New Mazda MX-5/Roadster
Joy of the Moment, Joy of Life
– Appealing to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars –
The significance given to maximising the Jinba Ittai and “Lots of Fun” experiences means that Mazda did much more than simply develop a compact sports car. Rather, the MX-5 was made to be looked at, to perform and respond faithfully to the driver’s will, to deliver a pleasing tactile experience, to emphasize the owner’s character, and to enjoy with friends.
Just having an MX-5 makes life more pleasant and more colorful. Mazda built the MX-5 with the hopes that it would become a presence that transcended its existence as a mere car. To carry on the MX-5’s rich tradition while more purely than ever embodying the essence of what appeals to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars, the development team made every effort to further evolve the product. Particular effort went into advancing the following three elements.
First was to create a design that would set anybody’s heart pounding with excitement. Just one look at the fourth-generation MX-5 should get one’s pulse racing. Sitting in it should bring a smile to the driver’s face and instantaneously spark an urge to take the top down and go for a drive. And it should become a cherished part of the owner’s life as time passes. These joyful attributes are what the development team aimed to express in an even purer state with the fourth-generation MX-5. In pursuit of them, they worked to add greater depth to the KODO design language, to embody beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look even better, and to make the open-air roadster experience all the more enjoyable. Specifically, development focused on the following.
- Beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good.
- A deeper expression of the KODO design language that conveys agility.
- Body surfaces that richly express the Japanese sense of contrast between stillness and motion.
- An interior design that melts away the boundaries between the inside and outside of the car.
- A snug feeling cockpit with symmetry and a singular axis that enables concentration on driving.
The second element is to deliver a driving experience that will captivate any driver. For every generation of the MX-5, importance was placed on appealing to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars, rather than focusing merely on sheer performance. With “sensation” as the keyword for the fourth-generation MX-5, development efforts focused on making the car even more enjoyable to control and faithful in its response. When driving in typical daily situations, the car responds directly to the driver’s will, as though it were extension of the driver’s own body. When enjoying a sporty run along winding roads, it responds faithfully to the driver’s actions in pleasingly light fashion. Every effort went into further refining these attributes to realize the ultimate Jinba Ittai driving experience that will captivate any driver. Specifically, development focused on the following.
- The latest SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and Mazda’s “gram strategy” combine to significantly reduce weight by more than 100kg over the third-generation model.
- Front-midship engine rear-wheel-drive configuration achieves an ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution.
- The engine is located closer to the vehicle’s center, the hood, trunk lid, front fender and front and rear bumper reinforcements are made of aluminum, and the weight of the soft top is reduced. These combine to realize a lower yaw inertial moment and a lower center of gravity.
- The pedals, controls, meters and all equipment are optimally positioned to enable the driver to maintain a straight posture and drive comfortably.
- The height of the hood is lowered and the A-pillars and windshield header are moved rearward and made thinner to create a panoramic view with greater visibility of road conditions and peripheral movement.
- SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engines are oriented longitudinally and specially tuned for the MX-5.
- New six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are also specially tuned for the MX-5.
- New lightweight yet highly rigid suspension fully leverages the know-how of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, with a double-wishbone suspension in the front and multilink suspension in the rear.
- The brake system is designed to maximize controllability and deliver reassuring effectiveness, plenty of braking power, and an optimized posture when braking.
The third element is a pleasantly refreshing roadster experience that anyone can enjoy. It embodies the feeling of openness only possible with an open-top lightweight sports car, a feeling that can quickly lift anybody’s spirits anywhere and at any time while enjoying a drive with the top down. To achieve this, development focused primarily on the following.
- The MX-5 is designed to be beautiful even with the top down.
- The interior is designed to maximize the pleasure of driving with the top down.
- The soft top can be operated easily while remaining seated.
- Wind control makes the drive pleasurable when the top is down.
- Headrest speakers enhance the enjoyment of driving with the top down.
In addition to the three aforementioned elements, the fourth generation further evolves the pleasure of adapting the MX-5 to reflect the owner’s character. Furthermore, satisfying the demands of the day are Mazda’s latest-generation Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and Mazda Connect*, Mazda’s next-generation car connectivity system that efficiently links the driver to the car and the outside world. A human-centric perspective was adopted in the pursuit of developing advanced safety performance based on the Mazda Proactive Safety philosophy to appeal to the senses and sensations through which people enjoy cars and enable the driver to fully enjoy the driving experience.
*The name Mazda Connect is used in Japan, US, Canada and Mexico. The system is referred to as MZD Connect in other markets.
A design to set the heart racing
For the fourth-generation MX-5, the development team was not going to be satisfied with a mere facelift. Nor were they prepared to aim for a design that simply accommodates current trends. Mazda’s only desire was to satisfy its vision of how an open-top lightweight sports car should look. It had to light a fire of excitement in the hearts of all those who relate to the stance Mazda assumed in developing the model over the past quarter century, and who were anticipating the launch of an even purer embodiment of Mazda’s open-top lightweight sports car.
Mazda’s first thought in aiming for the ultimate MX-5 design was to create beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good. True to its Japanese name – Mazda Roadster – the basic form of the MX-5 makes those riding in the car the stars when seen with the top down and windows lowered. As such, the packaging engineers assigned to the development team worked closely together to examine a wide variety of elements related to achieving a beautiful design when the top is down, and also to emphasize the driver’s seating position and embody beautiful proportions that best convey the satisfaction and exhilaration of driving the MX-5. This resulted in refinements such as moving the cabin a little toward the rear to create the appearance that the occupants are sitting at the body’s midpoint and lowering the hip-point of the seats in conjunction with the new design’s low center of gravity.
Based on these proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good, the development team took on the challenge of adding greater depth to the KODO design language and fully expressing all they wished for in the new design. This includes embodying KODO design’s characteristic stance with an expression of stability that makes the vehicle appear as though it is firmly gripping the road surface and creating an image of agility that makes the MX-5 appear ready to move instantly in any direction. The fine craftsmanship of Mazda’s renowned clay modelers creates contours that cause reflections off the body’s surfaces to change in a stunning fashion as the car moves. It makes the car look alive while at the same time creating a sense of emotional attachment that evokes a desire to stroke the surface with the palm of one’s hand. In addition, the lines travelling from the headlamps, peaking at the front fenders and converging in front of the rear tires before sweeping upwards over the rear fenders, create a sense of motion at varying speeds. Reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy, this represents the Japanese sensibilities bred into the MX-5.
The aim for the interior was to create a cockpit design that brings a smile to the face and gets the heart pounding just by looking at it, or by simply sitting in the driver’s seat. One example is how the body panels wrap around to extend right into the door trim and thereby dissolve the visual boundaries between the vehicle’s interior and exterior. When sitting in the cockpit, the driver sees a ridge line that extends in powerful fashion from the upper part of the door trim to the top of the front fenders. In addition to providing a feeling of open space as only possible with an open-top body, the lines emphasize a feeling of oneness between driver and car. The design also attempts to heighten the pleasure of driving an open-top sports car by enabling the driver to experience the change in the surrounding environment in real time. When sunlight filters through the trees, for example, or as light reflects as the sun sets. Careful attention paid to the shape of the door trim and to making the quarter windows more compact aims to actively control the flow of air that reaches the cockpit. The result is a pleasant cockpit environment with just the right amount of wind blowing in when driving with the top down. In addition, positioning the tachometer and small-diameter steering wheel on the same axis creates perfect symmetry between the round air-conditioning louvers to the right and left of the meter cluster. This serves to establish a single axis throughout the cockpit, while at the same time creating a pleasantly tight feeling to the cockpit that enables the driver to concentrate on driving. With special attention to every detail, Mazda focused on building the MX-5 to transcend its existence as a mere automobile and become a sports car that owners will truly love.
While paying due respect to the British as the pioneers of the genre and to the first-generation MX-5 as the car that rebuilt it in the modern age, the design aim for the all-new MX-5 was to create the ideal image of a Mazda lightweight sports car. Every inch of the MX-5 reflects this desire and the pleasure it intends to give to all who drive it.
History of the Mazda MX-5
A perpetual quest for driving pleasure that all can enjoy
Mazda announced the first-generation MX-5 at the Chicago Auto Show on February 9, 1989. At that time, virtually no open-type lightweight sports cars were available. The segment, which had blossomed in England in the latter half of the 1940s, gained popularity thanks to the agile handling, characteristic style and affordability of such vehicles. But after the 1960s, the market focused more on safety and comfort, and the cars in this category had all but disappeared. The aim of the engineers and designers at Mazda who produced the first-generation model was simply to bring back a fun-to-drive lightweight sports car for people around the world like themselves – people who just love cars and love to drive. To build a car that satisfies this passion for driving, they developed the MX-5 based on the principle requirements that it would combine a lightweight, compact open-top two-seater body with a front-midship-engine rear-wheel-drive configuration, a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, a low yaw inertia moment and an affordable price. The simple, familiar nature of its compact sports car styling, the light feeling and faithful, linear response Mazda defined as Jinba Ittai, along with the open feeling it offered resonated with car lovers around the world. It soon won a number of awards, gained widespread popularity, and fan clubs big and small began to spring up worldwide. The second-generation model was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997, the third-generation model debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2005. Production reached 900,000 units in February 2011and the MX-5 broke its own Guinness World Record as the world’s “best-selling two-seater sports car,” a title it had first achieved in May 2000.
Please look forward to the all-new MX-5. Merely looking at it will make any car lover happy. All drivers, from beginners to those with racing experience, will be able to enjoy the best drive of their lives. Putting the top down and enjoying the refreshing feel of the breeze will bring a smile to anybody’s face. All drivers will experience a world of driving pleasure as only the MX-5 can offer.
Reference display vehicle (Japanese specification)
Major specifications (values show development targets)
|Body type||Open-top sports car|
|Seating capacity||2 persons|
|Overall length x width x height||3,915mm X 1,730mm X 1,235mm|
|Engine||SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine|
|Transmissions||SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission|
|Front suspension||Double wishbone|
|Steering||Electric Power Assisted Rack & Pinion Steering (EPAS)|
|Brakes (front/rear)||Ventilated discs / Solid discs|