Mazda MX-5 Second generation (NB)
In 1998, Mazda released the second-generation MX-5, production code NB, for the 1999 model year. The NB featured a more powerful engine and external styling cues borrowed from the third generation Mazda RX-7 model. Prices in the United States, the main market for the MX-5, started at US$19,770 (US$26,700 in 2011 adjusted for inflation
Although many parts of the interior and body were different, the most notable changes were the headlamps: the first generation's retractable headlamps no longer passed pedestrian safety tests and were replaced by fixed ones. The new car grew slightly in width compared to the earlier model; its dimensions were: length 3,945 mm (155.3 in), width 1,678 mm (66.1 in), height 1,228 mm (48.3 in) and wheelbase 2,265 mm (89.2 in). Without options, the NB weighed 1000 kg (2300 lb). The new generation was slightly more aerodynamic than the original, with a Cd figure of 0.36.
The NB continued to employ four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars at the front and rear, but the wheels, tires and brakes were significantly upgraded: anti-lock braking system was offered as an option; alloy wheels were now 14 in (360 mm) or 15 in (380 mm) in diameter and 6 in (150 mm) in width, depending on the trim package; sports models were equipped with the larger wheels and 195/50VR15 tires.
The BP-4W engine remained at 1.8 L (110 cu in) but received several minor updates. The engine compression ratio was raised from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 by adding slightly domed pistons; the intake cam was changed to a solid lifter design with a stronger cam; the intake runners in the head were straightened and the intake manifold was mounted higher up. Mazda's Variable Intake Control System was introduced, which effectively gave a long narrow intake manifold at low rpm for better swirl, changing to a short, free-flowing manifold at high rpm for maximum breathing. Power output of the new engine was quoted at 104.4 kW (140.0 bhp) with 116 lbf·ft (157 N·m) of torque.
The 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6 engine remained available in Europe and Japan. The base-model 1.8 L (110 cu in) NB could reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.8 s and had a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).
MX-5 10th Anniversary Model (1999)
In 1999, Mazda celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MX-5 with the 10th Anniversary Model, a limited edition featuring some until-then exclusive features, namely a six-speed transmission and Bilstein shock absorbers; performance figures were slightly different, with slower acceleration but higher top speed than the standard 5-speed model. The model's nickname among owners and enthusiasts was 10AM or 10AE (as in "10th Anniversary Edition"). The car had a unique sapphire blue mica (called innocent blue in Japan) paint colour with two-toned black leather and blue alcantara seats. The addition of the sixth gear resulted in different performance results, with 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.5 seconds, a tenth of a second slower than the standard 5-speed model, due to the heavier weight. However, in spite of the 10AM's greater weight, its top rated speed was higher, at 214 km/h (133 mph) instead of 210 km/h (130 mph). Combined consumption was 8.0 instead of 8.5 l/100 km (29 instead of 28 mpg).
Each car was sequentially numbered on a badge on the driver-side front quarter panel. A "Certificate of Authenticity" with the same number came with each car, signed by Mazda President James E. Miller and dated 10 February 1999. On certain markets, a gift set was also included, consisting of a 1/24 scale diecast model, two Seiko-branded wristwatches (his and hers) with matching blue faceplate and Miata logo, and metal keychain in the form of the Miata logo, all encased in a luxury blue velvet box. Despite the publicity that Mazda gave to this model, it took more than a year to sell all units, drawing criticism that too many units had been produced (another factor was the high price with an MSRP of $26,875, about $6500 more than a base model). For comparison, there were 3,500 units of the NC's 3rd Generation Limited launch model in 2005, and regular limited editions produced each year do not usually exceed 1,500 units per region. The polished wheels are notorious for corroding once the thin lacquer coating is damaged. Mazda replaced thousands of sets under warranty. There were minor differences in specification according to the market, such as no sports appearance package (front/side/back skirts, rear wing) or air conditioning for Europe.
7,500 units of the 10th Anniversary were produced, with 3,700 distributed to Europe (of which: 600 - UK, 20 - Portugal), 3,150 to North America (of which 3,000 to US and 150 to Canada), 500 to Japan and 150 to Australia. Car number 7,500 was sold in the UK.
For the 2001 model year, a facelift to the second-generation MX-5 was released. There were some minor exterior changes, with a press-release of July 18, 2000, announcing the changes as "resulting in an even sportier and more forceful look". Fog lamps, previously an option, were made standard. Some cockpit elements were changed, with the instrument panel gauges receiving a white face and red numbers. The seats were also upgraded, incorporating more support in the side bolsters and taller headrests. Added for top models (designated 'Sport' in the U.K) were 16-inch (410 mm) wheels with 205/45VR16 low-profile tires, larger brakes at the front and rear, additional chassis stiffening braces, a limited slip differential, a 6-speed manual gearbox, Bilstein suspension and leather seats. The upgraded tires and suspension allowed the new model to pull 0.91 g in lateral grip in tests by Car and Driver magazine. The body was strengthened, gaining 16% in bending rigidity and 22% in torsional rigidity. With the minimum of options, the 2001 model weighed 1,065 kg (2,350 lb).
The 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-Z3 engine was slightly modified and now featured variable valve timing on the intake camshaft. The intake and exhaust system also received a minor upgrade. These modifications resulted in a power output of 113 kW (152 bhp) (Japan, UK and Australia) or 107 kW (143 bhp) (US only). In the United States, Mazda erroneously quoted the power figure for the Japanese and Australian model in early catalogues. Car and Driver magazine and numerous owners confirmed the missing power, and Mazda offered to buy back the 2001 cars due to those misleading power claims. Owners who did not take up the buy back offer were offered an apology and free servicing for the warranty period.
2002 saw the launch of the MX5 SP. The MX-5 SP was developed and sold in Australia and its turbocharged engine produced 157 kW (211 bhp) at 6800 rpm. Only 100 of these cars were built. The SP was very expensive in comparison to a standard MX5 at the time but offered blistering performance. It has fast become a cult classic and sought after model in Australia.
In 2003 Mazda launched a campaign to target a younger group of drivers with the introduction of the Shinsen Version (SV) Miata. The Shinsen (Japanese for "Fresh and New") provided an intermediate step between the base model and the pricier LS. Equipped with most standard features on the LS, such as cruise control and aluminum brush trim. This limited production model also shared an inverted color scheme of the same year Special Edition with a titanium silver exterior and dark blue top and interior.
Also in 2003, a division of Mazda in Japan released the Roadster Coupé, with an integral hardtop roof. The body structure was reworked to incorporate the roof for a substantial increase in chassis rigidity and a weight increase of 10 kg (22 lb). Production was limited to 179 units for Japan only. This was to become one of the rarest forms of the MX-5.
Mazdaspeed MX-5 (2004–2005)
The 2004 model year saw the introduction of the official turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5, Roadster Turbo in Japan. It featured an IHI RHF5 VJ35 turbocharger equipped variant of the BP-4W engine that produced 180 bhp (134 kW) at 6000 rpm with a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler. The MAZDASPEED could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.2 seconds but had a top speed of only 203 km/h (126 mph) due to its low 6,500 rev limiter.With its upgraded suspension and wider tires, the Mazdaspeed model could pull over 0.98 g in lateral grip. Other features included upgraded 6-speed transmission and clutch assemblies, upgraded drivetrain components, Racing Hart 17 in (430 mm) alloy wheels, special interior trim. Perhaps the most obscure detail change of the MazdaSpeed overhaul of the MX-5 was the fitment of a custom, lightweight oil dipstick. The 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 was only available in Velocity Red Mica and Titanium Gray Metallic for the US-market and Velocity Red Mica for the Canadian-market while the 2005 model was available additionally in Lava Orange Mica and Black Mica in the US-market, with Canada receiving only Titanium Grey Mica. Of the 5,428 Mazdaspeed MX-5s produced during model years 2004 and 2005, 4,000 were produced in 2004; the 2005 production run was shortened to only 1428, due to a fire at the production facility. This model was also marketed in Australia as an MX-5 SE without any Mazdaspeed branding (exhaust tip excluded), featured 3.63 diff gears and was available in Sunlight Silver as well as Velocity Red Mica, Titanium Gray Metallic and Black Mica for 2005. It was also slightly detuned with only 121 kW (162 bhp). Boost pressure was 7.25 psi (0.5 bar) for Australian model vs 8.5 psi (0.6 bar) of the North American and Japanese models which is the main contributor to the power difference. The MX-5 SE has been used for both gravel and tarmac rallying in Australia, showing the versatility of these cars in racing.
Technical specifications (UK)
|Drivetrain specifications by generation (UK market)|
|Model year(s)||Model no(s).||Chassis code(s)||Engine type||Engine code||Transmission(s)||Power@rpm||Torque@rpm|
|1998–2001||1.6i||NB||1.6 L inline-4||BP-4W||5-speed MT||108 bhp (81 kW) @6,500||99 ft·lbf (134 N·m) @5,000|
|1998–2001||1.8i||NB||1.8 L inline-4||BP-4W||5 or 6-speed MT||140 bhp (100 kW) @6,500||119 ft·lbf (161 N·m) @5,000|
|2001–2005||1.6i||NB||1.6 L inline-4||BP-4W||5-speed MT||110 bhp (82 kW) @6,500||99 ft·lbf (134 N·m) @5,000|
|2001–2005||1.8i||NB||1.8 L inline-4||BP-4W||6-speed MT||146 bhp (109 kW) @6,500||124 ft·lbf (168 N·m) @5,000|