Mazda MX-5

Compact size and light weight are the most important elements in the creation of a car recognized for its superb performance, dynamics, efficiency and driving enjoyment. Therefore, rigid discipline was applied to the car's configuration, outer dimensions and mass.

The new MX-5 is outwardly little changed from the original car, measuring 3,975 mm long, 1,680 mm wide and 1,225 mm high on the same 2,265-mm wheelbase.

The interior most aptly deserves the description "cockpit," as it has just the right amount of snugness to impart a feeling of "Oneness."

The MX-5 adheres to a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration with the engine mounted "front-midships" for an ideal weight distribution of 50/50, a low centre of gravity, and greatly reduced yaw moment.

A double wishbone suspension - the ideal design for a sports car - and the "Power Plant Frame" that unites the power unit with the final drive unit are inherited from the predecessor.

1998 Mazda MX-5 Front Angle

Design

The exterior continues the unique design instantly recognisable as the Mazda MX-5. This visual feast attracts attention to the styling from every angle, offering views that are pleasant and lasting. While fixed headlights are newly incorporated, the car's overall styling emphasises the flowing quality of the design, including such elements as subtle blisters on the fenders. The interior provides just the right amount of the snugness to create a pleasing level of comfort; it also offers a sensual appeal, striking a chord with one's senses of vision, hearing, and touch.
A T-shaped instrument panel is adopted for its excellent functionality.

Improved Comfort and Convenience

A "Wind-blocker" (standard on the 1.8-litre model) reduces cockpit turbulence when driving with the top down.

Both the luggage and glove compartments have been increased in size, and new storage features such as instrument panel pockets have been added.

For better rearward vision, a glass rear window with heated-wire rear defogger is standard on all models.

Powertrain

The 1.8-litre DOHC and the 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engines are available in the new Mazda MX-5. Output and torque for both engines have been improved through enhancements to the intake and exhaust systems, resulting in smooth engine rewing from low to high speeds and responsive acceleration. Features such as a straight intake port, a variable-inertia exhaust system (1.8-litre) and a dual exhaust manifold are incorporated. The engine has been "tuned" for more pleasing sounds and a Torsen-type limited-slip differential is standard on the 1 .8┬Člitre model.

Chassis

The front and rear double wishbone suspension system has been further refined, enhancing the car's stability while providing a fundamental advance in driving pleasure. In particular, it has been tuned for better handling precision as well as enhanced stability and confidence when driving at high speeds. The resulting linear response and road-hugging performance provide a significant improvement in cornering capabilities. These improvements are realised with modified front suspension geometry, longer wheel travel at the rear, modified mounting configuration for the coil springs and dampers and numerous other design changes. For quicker more responsive handling, steering lock-to-Iock is just 2.6 turns.

Body

Mazda's Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System provides the MX-5 with enhanced rigidity and safety. By making the body structure more rigid, torsion and vibration caused by external forces are reduced for better handling stability. As a result of a variety of modifications, such as additional reinforcements at precisely the locations where they are most effective, body rigidity has been increased with only a minimal increase in weight. As before, an aluminium bonnet reduces mass up front, further enhancing the MX-5's retuned suspension and steering.

Active Safety Features

Superb handling performance, which makes the driver feel at one with the car, is the basis for the MX-5's active safety features. The excellent field of vision and the easier-to-operate arrangement of switches on the dash also help to enhance driving pleasure.

Passive Safety Features

The MX-5 meets the new impact safety standards (offset front impact and side impact) planned for implementation in Europe this autumn.

The new MX-5 also incorporate safety features such as a highly rigid body structure, safety belts with a direct-clamp mechanism and pretensioners and dual SRS airbags.

Source: Mazda

Gallery: Mazda MX-5 (1998)