January 1, 2004
Mazda shows turbocharged Miata, Mazda6 wagon and hatchback
Los Angeles, California – Two new versions of the Mazda6 were unveiled at the L.A. auto show this week: the new Mazda6 Sport Wagon and 5-Door hatchback models. The new turbocharged Mazdaspeed Miata was also shown to the North American public for the first time.
The Sport Wagon appeals to the driver who needs room for gear or children but simply cannot give up the driving dynamics of a true, authentic sports sedan, said Jim Sailer, Mazda6 vehicle line manager.
Mazda6 wagon concept shown
In terms of styling, the Sport Wagon and the 5-Door differ from the sedan only from the B-pillar back. The 5-Door’s roof line slopes gradually to the rear decklid. Opening the liftgate of the 5-Door reveals a covered cargo compartment with 22.0 cubic feet of space, nearly 50 percent more than that of the sedan. Oddly shaped items, which would not fit through normal trunk openings, can slide through. The rear seats fold with the touch of a button and there is no need to remove the head restraints. With the rear seats folded, cargo space expands to 58.7 cubic feet. Cargo tie-downs and two hidden compartments in the side panels allow drivers more options for stowage.
In the Sport Wagon, the second-row seats fold with the touch of a lever located near the tailgate with no need to remove the head rests for a near-flat load floor. Tie-downs, a retractable cargo cover shade and a barrier-type net that raises from the floor and attaches to the roof interior all come standard. The rear compartment offers 33.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats up and 60.4 cubic feet with them folded, which is in the same league as some small SUVs.
Sport Wagons come equipped with a 220-horsepower V6 engine, and unlike most wagons, a five-speed manual transmission is standard (five-speed Sport Shift A/T with manual shift mode available). The 5-Door, like the sedan, comes with either a 160 horsepower I-4 (available with five-speed manual or four-speed Sport Shift A/T with manual shift mode) or the 220-horsepower V6 (available with five-speed manual or five-speed Sport Shift A/T with manual shift mode).
The new Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata was also unveiled in L.A. after having been shown briefly at the industry-only 2003 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in November.
Fitted with a ball-bearing single-scroll turbocharger with 7.25 psi maximum boost and an air-to-air intercooler, the 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine now makes 178 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm, 25 and 33 percent more respectively than the normally aspirated Miata. To handle the extra power from the turbocharging system, the engine block is modified to accommodate the oil line for the turbo, the cooling system receives an increased radiator core volume with increased coolant capacity, the six-speed manual transmission, clutch and pressure plate, driveshaft and differential all have been optimized, and a Denso tube-fin air-to-air intercooler added. The piston shapes have also been modified to increase displacement volume in the cylinders and handle the extra fuel-air mixture provided by the turbocharger.
Other features include a short-throw, six-speed gearbox with improved gear durability and a sport-tuned and lowered suspension. The Miata chassis was lowered by 7 mm in ride height through the use of shorter springs with increased spring rates. Bilstein dampers soak up vibration while larger front and rear stabilizer bars and a front strut tower brace increase chassis rigidity and improve road-holding capability.
The exterior, available in either “Velocity Red Mica” or “Titanium Gray Metallic” sports smoked headlamps and a unique front under-spoiler with recessed fog lamps. At the rear is a rear under-spoiler, deck spoiler and large exhaust tip with a Mazdaspeed logo.
The interior features black cloth seats with red centers, red door inserts, and a black leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake with red stitching. Silver instrument panel gauges show Mazdaspeed logos as do the foot pedals, stainless steel scuff plates, floor mats and body-coloured rear view mirror cap. Standard audio is a 225-watt six-speaker Bose sound system with six-disc CD changer and speed-sensing automatic volume control. A black cloth soft top with black leather bucket seats and red stitching are optional with the Grand Touring Package – the only factory option available.
In the U.S., the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata comes fully equipped priced at U.S.$25,500 with cloth interior and U.S.$26,200 with leather. Canadian prices weren’t announced.