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Mazda's MX-5 gets a fresh look

2009-02-10 09:34

The world's favourite roadster comes in for a facelift, and while Mazda's philosophy with its MX-5 remains unchanged, enhancements should endear it to the faithful even more.

The MX-5 turns 20 this year and a staggering 850 000 units have been sold in that time. The MX-5, which has always traded on the idea that it should be an affordable, lightweight car with impeccable handling and a classic roadster appearance, has garnered 178 major automotive awards across three generations.

The latest facelift applies to both the canvas roof and Roadster Coupe (with the retractable hard top added to the range in 2006) versions and promises more driving fun and more equipment than before.

Exterior changes are meant to make the roadster appear more dynamic and include a new mesh-type five-point grille, redesigned front fog lamps, new front and rear bumpers, and different rear light clusters.

Two new exterior colours are added, too.

Better quality

As far as the interior is concerned, Mazda claims better quality materials have been used and comfort within the cabin should be improved, too.

Apart from the new materials and colour schemes, the changes to the cabin are relatively minor and include new dials and an upgraded Bose audio system with an auxiliary jack.

However, Mazda notes that despite the increased levels of equipment, MX-5's mass and 50:50 weight distribution remain unchanged.

Six-speed auto'

Power continues to come from a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 118 kW and 188 Nm of torque, the peak power is now available at 7 000 r/min (rather than 6 700 r/min) and the rev-limit has been pushed to 7 500 r/min.

A revised six-speed manual transmission is included in the mix, along with the European debut of the six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifts.

According to Mazda, the 2.0-litre manual uses 7.6 l/100 km (down 7%), while the new automatic version consumes 7.9 l/100 km.

MX-5's legendary handling receives a boost with suspension tuned to respond more precisely to steering inputs. Dynamic Stability Control is now standard in most markets, too.

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