liter DOHC Inline-4
lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
@ 6700 rpm
hp per liter
(from Mazda Press
Release) After turning the automotive world upside down in
1989 with the introduction of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mazda has
re-established the benchmark for affordable sports-car excellence
with the all-new 2006 Mazda MX-5. While the MX-5 will make its North
American debut here in New York, a very limited run of MX-5 3rd
Generation Limited models with special equipment will make their
global debut here as well. Once again, Mazda has succeeded in
injecting a sense of fun into the roadster segment with the same
driver-vehicle oneness that made the first and second generation
MX-5 a resounding success.
Jinba Ittai, a Japanese phrase that translates to "the rider and
horse as one," has been the focus of the MX-5 Miata concept since
its inception, and is the purest essence of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom
spirit. Oneness is the cornerstone of the Jinba Ittai driving
experience and occurs when the boundaries between driver and vehicle
melt away and create one single being. Essentially, Jinba Ittai is a
celebration of the simple delights of driving a lightweight, nimble,
open-air roadster, and anyone who has driven a Miata knows the
"We improved the all-new MX-5 to meet the needs of modern motorists
while maintaining the passionate spirit of the original, best
envisioned in the expression ‘Jinba Ittai’," said Kory Koreeda, vice
president, product development for Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).
"As the range-topper, the MX-5 3rd Generation Limited’s eye-catching
color and unique features will surely turn heads and bring pure
driving excitement to all who sit behind the wheel."
Only 3,500 3rd Generation Limited cars will be available globally –
each delineated by a numbered plate on the transmission tunnel –
ensuring they’ll be in short supply and moving fast off of dealers’
The exclusive color for the MX-5 3rd Generation Limited is Velocity
Red Mica. Front and rear bumpers feature the same distinctive red
color, while the front bumper grille, A-pillar, outer door handle,
head lamp bezel and foglamp cover all boast unique, silver trim. In
addition, and to make the car stand out from a distance, the
windshield frame is clad in silver trim. Between the Velocity Red
Mica paint, dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels with exclusive silver
finish and the exterior trim changes, onlookers and owners alike
will recognize it as a truly exceptional – and collectable –
Inside, the MX-5 3rd Generation Limited includes a Sirius® satellite
radio-compatible seven-speaker BOSE® AM/FM/CD stereo, stainless
steel scuff plates and a numbered badge. In addition, exclusive red
leather seats nicely match the exterior of the car and offer
excellent support and an ideal driving position. Black leather seats
Mazda’s success in creating a dynamic two-seat roadster is evident
from the large number of Miatas sold since its introduction – more
than 700,000 – and the more than 100 consumer and industry awards
won, including 11 prestigious Automobile magazine "All Star" awards.
More than 320,000 Miatas have been sold in the United States alone,
and there are still in excess of 270,000 on the road – true
testament to the car’s "cult" following.
Another measure of the MX-5’s success is its rampant popularity in
motorsports. On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas speeding
around the racetracks of North America in club racing and autocross
competitions than any other brand of vehicle, many of them Miatas.
In 2004, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) fastest-growing
regional racing class was the Spec Miata class. Racers piloting
Miatas have won SCCA Showroom Stock races all over the country,
including the SSB and SSC National Championships at the prestigious
SCCA Runoffs. Sharing the same DNA as previous MX-5 generations, the
2006 MX-5 3rd Generation Limited is destined to exceed the high
level of street and track performance expected of a vehicle bearing
the MX-5 badge.
Although the 2006 MX-5 has grown in size relative to the previous
generation MX-5, the exterior design and shape remain true to the
lively roadster concept born by Mazda in 1989, while benefiting from
modern style updates. The nose and tail are tapered as before, but
on the new MX-5, the surfaces wrap smoothly between the wheels
without narrowing, providing a wider cockpit with additional hip,
shoulder and elbow room. The low, flowing shoulder line is
complemented by body panels that smoothly wrap around the nose and
The heart of the 2006 MX-5 is a highly-responsive MZR-series
2.0-liter, 170-horsepower (at 6700 rpm) powerplant, newly developed
from the unit used in both MAZDA3 and MAZDA6. This is a light and
compact engine, featuring chain-driven double overhead camshafts,
four valves per cylinder, variable intake valve timing,
electronically controlled port fuel injection and coil-on-plug
ignition. The block, head and oil pan are cast aluminum, while cast
iron liners provide a durable bore surface.
Revving smoothly to its 7000 rpm redline, the 2.0-liter powerplant
delivers 140 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm for driving exhilaration
throughout the rev range. More importantly, the torque curve is wide
and flat, making this the most responsive MX-5 Miata yet. A complete
redesign of the intake and exhaust tracts resulted in a 57-percent
reduction in intake restriction and 40-percent reduction of exhaust
Throughout the development process, work focused on what Mazda
engineers called "response" and "expansion feel." A lighter
flywheel, a quick response, an electric throttle and a stiff drive
shaft all helped realize the responsive direct feel of the new Mazda
In tuning the Mazda MX-5’s engine sound, a smooth, harmonic note was
realized that increases with throttle opening. Above 5000 rpm, this
becomes powerfully resonant, consistent with a spirited charge for
Throughout its storied history, the MX-5 Miata has been lauded for
its positive shift action and short throws. Shifting gears in an
MX-5 evokes the inherent oneness of the vehicle’s Zoom-Zoom driving
experience. The all-new MX-5 benefits from three transmission
choices: five-speed manual, six-speed manual and six-speed Sport AT
automatic. The all-new six-speed manual transmission boasts
ultra-short throws, reminding the driver that Miata is the benchmark
for manual transmission feel and performance. Triple-cone
synchronizers for the first four gears reduce shift effort, while
low-friction bushings and a guide plate for lever motion ensure
repeatable shifting precision.
The single most important element in creating oneness between car
and driver is the chassis. The first and second generation MX-5 set
a benchmark for chassis performance in the automotive industry, and
true to form, so has the third generation MX-5. The spectacular new
MX-5 chassis is at once responsive, precise and nimble.
Two key words for the feeling Mazda’s engineering team pursued were
precise and nimble. The goal was for a natural, lively feeling
instead of the cold efficiency of some well-oiled machines. While
solid stability is essential for safe driving, the ideal for the new
Mazda MX-5 was to develop a chassis that is keen to alter speed or
direction as swiftly as the driver changes his mind.
Every aspect of driver control had to be coordinated with steering,
suspension, brakes, engine, and transmission responses. How the
driver’s seat was configured, the distance to the steering wheel and
shifter, the feeling of the brake pedal, the ability to heel and
toe, all played a significant role in achieving the Jinba Ittai
driving experience. The original Miata was quantified and higher
targets of opportunity in all aspects were identified.
A lightweight, stiff unibody serves as the chassis’s foundation and
provides the rigidity needed to deliver the performance synonymous
with Mazda. The all-new MX-5 unibody boasts a 22 percent increase in
flexural stiffness and a 47 percent increase in torsional rigidity
over the previous generation MX-5 for a more direct, connected
The tendency for curb weight to increase when trying to meet growing
market demands is contrary to the Jinba Ittai goal and that extra
weight would have a dramatically negative influence on driving,
cornering and braking performance. Therefore, Mazda engineers made
every gram count. Their "gram strategy" assessed weight in the
smallest possible increments and carefully scrutinized
weight-trimming opportunities. Advanced technology was applied where
practical to achieve a light and rigid unibody using materials that
offered higher strength and lighter weight.
In its final form, the new Mazda MX-5 is more powerful, more
capable, more comfortable and more useful. As a result of this "gram
strategy," curb weight has only increased by approximately 22 pounds
compared to the previous generation MX-5.
A double-wishbone front suspension setup complements a multi-link
rear suspension system for optimized handling and chassis stability.
Stretching the front track by 3.0 inches, rear track by 2.1 inches
and overall wheelbase by 2.6 inches while moving the engine back in
the chassis by 5.3 inches also helped improve the new MX-5’s
handling and balance characteristics. The advanced anti-dive and
anti-squat geometry integrated into the suspension controls unwanted
steering and pitch motion during acceleration and braking for a
predictable driving experience. The end result of the numerous
efforts made by Mazda engineers is a chassis that promotes
driver-vehicle oneness while offering excellent road feel,
predictable handling and a 50:50 weight distribution.
The new MX-5’s power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is tuned to
be precise and responsive with only 2.6 turns lock-to-lock, giving
the car a keen sense of agility. For braking performance, Mazda
engineers selected 11.4-inch ventilated discs in front and 11.0-inch
solid discs in back to deliver rapid, controlled stopping. Because
the new MX-5 was developed to "feel" right, caliper stiffness was
increased by 25 percent, brake hoses are now less resilient and the
power booster is one-inch larger than before.
Although Mazda’s engineers placed a premium on vehicle performance,
safety continues to assume a high level of importance with the 2006
MX-5. For the first time ever, MX-5 now offers side airbag
protection as standard equipment. A two-volume side-impact airbag is
positioned inside each seat backrest. A single inflator
simultaneously expands the torso portion of the airbag and the
larger-volume head-protection airbag. This innovative design is
light, compact and highly effective at minimizing occupant injury in
a side impact collision.
The interior of the MX-5 received the same careful craftsmanship and
attention to detail as the exterior. The design and placement of all
switches and controls communicate the care taken to make the cockpit
as driver-focused as possible. A highly legible instrument cluster
clearly displays all necessary information, including speed, engine
rpm and oil and coolant temperature. Coated glass covers the cluster
for visibility even in direct sunlight.
Chrome and silver highlights accent the interior, distinguishing the
instrument panel and gauge rings, air-vent bezels and outer door
handles. The spokes of the three-spoke tilt steering wheel share the
silver trim as well. For added safety, steering wheel-mounted audio
and speed controls allow the driver to keep both hands on the wheel
when not shifting. Both the steering wheel and the seats are
adjustable to allow drivers of all sizes to enjoy the pure
exhilaration of the newest generation Mazda MX-5.
The high-quality folding soft top is a Z-fold design with one
centrally located latch handle, and the top can be raised or lowered
easily without undue effort or stretching. In the lowered position,
the top fits flush and smooth, without the need for a detachable
boot cover. A removable hard top also will be available as an
accessory, and is perfect for all-year operation.
To enhance comfort when the top is down, waist-level louver vents
direct warm and cool air throughout the cockpit to maintain a
comfortable cabin temperature, effectively extending the open-air
driving season. A mesh aero-board deflector mounts vertically behind
the seats to reduce wind buffeting and top-down turbulence for a
comfortable driving experience.
Interior storage accommodation is plentiful. Three separate
compartments are built into the back wall of the cockpit, with one
compartment readily accessible and lockable with room for 10 CDs,
and the other two compartments positioned behind the seat backs.
Bottle holders, pockets and additional compartments are placed
strategically throughout the rest of the MX-5’s interior. The end
result is a comfortable, driver-focused cabin with a surprising
amount of functional amenities.
The all-new 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata has inherited its predecessor’s
sporty DNA and continues to exemplify Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom philosophy.
To convert the subtle imagery of Jinba Ittai into nuts-and-bolts
reality with a body shell, drivetrain, and chassis components, Mazda
designers wielded a tool called Kansei Engineering.
Like Jinba Ittai, Kansei is difficult to translate into Western
terms, although "thoughtful awareness" and "heightened sensitivity"
are the expressions that come closest to defining Kansei. It is the
realization that the fitness of every constituent part underlies the
goodness of the whole, that the aforementioned synergy between
driver and car can be honed so that it can be felt by anyone who
experiences the vehicle in motion. Another Kansei canon is that
every aspect of design, mechanical function and dynamic response
ultimately contribute to driving satisfaction.