2016 Mazda MX-5: Price And Features For Australia

This week Mazda launches the car that Australian motoring enthusiasts have long been waiting for: the fourth-generation MX-5.

Australian customers will have a choice of both Roadster and Roadster GT specifications, with either a 1.5 litre or 2.0 litre naturally aspirated four cylinder engine.

A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic will also be available, and drive, as always, will flow to the rear wheels.

Starting from $31,990 for a 1.5 litre manual roadster, the new MX-5 is substantially cheaper than before – over $15,000 less expensive than the outgoing NC MX-5, to be specific.

Yet while the new range opener is less expensive, it is also dramatically lighter at just 1009kg for the entry-level 1.5 litre Roadster manual. Power goes down to 96kW for the 1.5, but with less mass to motivate it’s not to the detriment of the MX-5.

Entry into the 2.0 litre manual roadster starts at $34,490. Want an auto? It’ll cost a $2000 premium for the optional six-speed slushbox.

At a shade over one tonne the new MX-5 is some 91kg lighter than its predecessor, and despite the added equipment is only 69Kg heavier than the original that debuted in 1989.

Compared to that original the new car is shorter tip-to-tail, wider, with a longer wheelbase. Overall height is the same as the original – after 25 years of evolution, the MX-5 remains trim and slim.

MECHANICAL

The entry-level 1.5 litre SkyActiv four-cylinder engine produces 96kW of power at 7000rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4800rpm.

Similar to the engine found in the Mazda2, the engine in the MX-5 has been turned 90-degrees to run longitudinally to send power the rear wheels.

2.0 litre MX-5s produce 118kW of power at 6000rpm, with 200Nm of torque at 4600rpm.

A six speed manual or optional six-speed automatic are available. Manual models feature a ‘directly connected’ gearbox with a more compact design.

And Mazda’s approach to lightweighting has been extensive. Even the gearbox’s aluminium casing has been designed with variable thickness walls to minimise the amount of material used without compromising strength.

The result is a gearbox that is 7kg lighter than the previous unit. Manual cars are also paired with a limited slip differential, while no LSD option exists for auto-equipped cars.

A smaller ring gear is matched to the torque output of the gearbox and makes the differential housing smaller and lighter. The diff matched to the 1.5 litre engine saves 10kg over the NC 2.0 litre, while the new 2.0 litre uses a 7kg lighter diff.

Fuel consumption for 1.5 litre cars is 6.1 l/100km for the manual or 6.4 l/100km for the automatic. The 2.0 litre engine records 6.9 l/100km with a manual transmission or 7.1 l/100km for the auto.

The new MX-5 rides on an all-new double wishbone front suspension, with a multilink rear suspension. Geometry has been revised, aluminium features prominently and the dampers are now directly mounted to the hub supports for better body control.

The damper mounting, meanwhile, is designed to increase tyre grip regardless of damper stroke.

Rear suspension uses lateral force from the tyres to increase toe-in, offering greater stability under high cornering G-forces.

SAFETY

With an open top, the safety structure of the MX-5 needed to be different from the rest of Mazda’s range.

There’s an increased amount of varying grades of high-strength, and high-tensile steels used in the body and chassis construction, while some impact absorbing elements are now formed from high-strength aluminium.

As expected in something with an open top, the A pillars are reinforced, with strengthened side sills connected by seatback bars above the rear crossmember.

Fitting with the strong but light ethos, aluminum is also used for the bonnet, boot lid, front guards, seatback bars and bulkhead panel, as well as in the roof mechanism itself.

In the event of an impact, dual front airbags and seat-mounted side impact airbags work alongside seatbelt pretensioners with load limiting, as well as a seat and door trim design engineered to minimise occupant damage.

Pedestrians are protected by an active bonnet that pops up when an impact is detected.

FEATURES

While the folding plastic-shell hardtop of the previous MX-5 has been discontinued, the new model features a manually-operated cloth roof that requires less effort, and can be deployed or stowed from within the cabin.

Roadster models feature cloth seating trim, while GT models gain heated leather seats in either black with red stitching or tan with beige stitching. Both models feature a leather multi-function steering wheel and gear knob.

Taller drivers benefit from more space made available by setting the cabin further rearward.

Further weight savings are to be found in the lightweight seats, with featherweight urethane pads and metal springs being used in its constructruction. Newly developed net material provides backrest support, and even the adjusting levers are made as slim as possible to cut every gram possible.

The three-dial analog instrument cluster features a centrally mounted tacho, plus digital trip computer display.

16-inch alloy wheels features on 1.5 litre model with 17-inch alloys on 2.0 litre models, available in gunmetal or silver according to model grade (see below)

1.5l MX-5 Roadster

16“ alloy wheels (silver) 195/50 tyres

Body coloured mirrors housings

LED headlamps

Cloth soft-top

Black cloth seat trim

manual air-conditioning

Cruise control

Trip computer

Leather-wrapped steering wheel, handbrake handle and gear shift knob

Audio system with AM/FM tuner and six speakers, AUX & USB

Bluetooth phone and audio

Steering wheel audio controls

Advanced keyless push button engine start

LSD (MT only)

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

1.5l MX-5 Roadster GT (in addition to Roadster)

16“ alloy wheels (gunmetal) 195/50 tyres

Headlamps auto on/off

Piano black mirrors (heated)

LED daytime running lamps

Rain-sensing wipers

Black or tan leather seat trim

Seat warmers

Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

Climate control air-conditioning

7-inch MZD Connect touchscreen display with Internet radio integration: Pandora, Stitcher and Aha.

Multi-function commander control

Bose audio with nine speakers

Satellite navigation

Advanced keyless entry

2.0l MX-5 Roadster (in addition to 1.5l Roadster)

17“ alloy wheels (gunmetal), 205/45 tyres

LED daytime running lamps

2.0; MX-5 GT Roadster (in addition to 1.5l GT Roadster)

17“ alloy wheels (bright), 205/45 tyres

PRICING

1.5l Roadster manual $31,990

1.5l Roadster automatic $33,990

1.5l Roadster GT manual $37,990

1.5l Roadster GT automatic $39,990

2.0l Roadster manual $34,490

2.0l Roadster automatic $36,490

2.0l Roadster GT manual $39,550

2.0l Roadster GT automatic $41,550

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