Mazda introduced the 4th-generation Miata at the New York International Auto Show today, alongside an anniversary edition model of the current third generation car.
The next gen car, internally “ND”, was previewed in bare chassis form only… and it’s a very interesting chassis.
Before going further, it would be worthwhile to review the work done for the NC chassis as part of your reading. In our post earlier this week, we presented our gallery of a cutaway NC Miata form 2006, showing the complete chassis in detail along with the engine, transmission, and suspension. The gallery of images in that post show the extraordinary lengths Mazda took to keep the NC generation as light as possible.
Now on to the next generation, or “ND”. Our 800-pixel image is below, or you can open a 2756-pixel image in another window to better understand the details. The ND generation takes weight saving measures to even greater length. Note the reference to remove as much as 220 pounds from the current car’s weight!
The press release is below with general details, but thanks to Mazda releasing this single image several months before the car is due to go into production, we can understand the most important updates in detail. First, clearly, the chassis is indeed all-new, rather than a slight rework, as the NA and NB generations were.
Starting up front, you’ll notice electric power steering. This saves horsepower and weight, and also allows a manufacturer to tune in different steering weights if needed. No word on Mazda’s intentions here, and Mazda is certainly aware that an extra measure of tuning will be necessary to preserve the Miata’s legendary steering feel and precision. We have no doubt that will be the case. The suspension is again a double a-arm coil-over. Note the aluminum upper and lower arms as well as the upright. And also note the 4-lug hubs, instead of 5. Mazda has determined that only 4 were necessary given the overall weight of the car. Same for the bearings hub – note that it attaches to the back of the hub with only 3 bolts. And the upper shock mount – 3 bolts. All part of Mazda’s typical “gram strategy” methodology for reducing weight to the minimum, while accounting for the required structural integrity.
Looking at the engine, we know from the press release that like the chassis it is a SkyActive engine. Look at the very long intake manifold runners. While not shown here, the long and intricate SkyActive exhaust headers are part of the engineering as well. We don’t yet know what size this engine is, rumor has two engines (1.5 and 2.0) present. If it is a 2 liter, hopefully the power will be in the 200 HP range in order to keep ahead of the BRZ/86/FR-S triplets (which the current car cannot do).
Looking further we see the Miata-typical link between the transmission and rear differential. It appears to be aluminum again, along with the differential itself. The rear subframe and suspension are entirely new, and again keeps weight to a minimum. Note the aluminum upright, although the suspension links themselves are hollow steel tubing. And take note of the much-appreciated coilovers. Handling is clearly a priority here, an area where the current car has fallen seriously behind. Even with a sport suspension option it is soft and has excessive body roll.
So this is what we have from Mazda today, and it’s clearly a major step in the right direction. The release schedule for the new car has not yet been announced by Mazda, although it’s believed to be in 2015. The new chassis will also be shared by Alfa, although Alfa will use their own engine and will use the car to restart a major presence in North America. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the two cars in road tests, and we should be seeing those in a year from now.
Mazda Press Release follows:
Innovate in order to preserve
The New York International Auto Show 2014 is the world premiere of the next-generation
Mazda MX-5’s bare chassis. Although it is still in the development stage, this chassis with
its front-midship-engine layout and rear-wheel-drive configuration, shows the direction of
the new model. The principals of keeping of the vehicle lightweight, 50:50 front-rear weight
distribution and low yaw inertia moment stay the same, but there is plenty that Mazda is
planning to change.
Times have changed drastically during the MX-5’s 25-year history. Each successive model
of the past three generations has seen slight increases in size and weight in response to
social requirements as people’s awareness of safety and the environment increase. But
today, demands for safety and environmental performance are exponentially higher.
However, Mazda firmly believes that even while meeting these demands, the fun of being
one with the car—the exhilaration felt by any driver on any kind of road, which to Mazda is
the fundamental attribute of the lightweight sports car—must be maintained. To do this,
Mazda considers it essential to realize a different kind of innovation that goes way beyond
mere product refinement. This is clearly summed up by the maxim that indicates the
direction of the next model— Innovate in order to preserve.
It goes without say that incorporating SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY was essential to meet
stringent environmental and safety performance requirements while keeping the model
lightweight. But beyond simple technological enhancements, Mazda also aimed to further
increase the car’s appeal to human sensitivity—in other words, to realize the ultimate in
Jinba Ittai exhilaration and satisfaction.
The coming model is entirely all new and incorporate all the latest advancements in
Mazda’s SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. The bare chassis on display shows that while
realizing the most compact configuration of any generation of the MX-5, the engine is
located closer to the vehicle’s center and the vehicle’s center of gravity is lower than that
of any generation to date. In addition, the development team has set a goal of reducing
weight by more than 100kg while still achieving the highest standards of body rigidity and
collision safety performance.
Yet while the technology changes and progresses, Mazda has an unwavering
determination to keep the MX-5 faithful to its roots—to offer the driver the unrivalled
pleasure of feeling completely at one with the car. To achieve this with the new
SKYACTIV-CHASSIS, engineers are painstakingly researching the optimum position for
the driver as one of the development goals of ‘Innovate in order to preserve.’ In this way
Mazda is aiming to further evolve its signature Jinba Ittai driving experience and surpass
the car’s heritage.
One look at the bare chassis fires the mind’s eye to imagine what the new MX-5 will be like,
as well as anticipate the extraordinary driving pleasure and ‘lots of fun’ this new lightweight
sports car will bring into the owner’s life.
With a new Miata (finally) on the way for 2015, it’s time to go back to 2005 when Mazda revealed the 3rd-generation Miata to members of the press. We were there, and thrilled to find a cutaway Miata, with all the details large and small opened for our eyes.
Several cutaway cars, chassis, and engines were available for photography.
Take special note of all the weight-savings measures designed into this car. Mazda went to extraordinary lengths to keep the weight down, while increasing strength and keeping costs in line. This is known by Mazda as a “gram strategy”, where each piece is weighed down to the gram, and every gram has to be justified. This is even more amazing when you consider that the MX-5 doesn’t share chassis parts with any other product.
Enjoy our gallery of images. And, Mazda take note: let’s see it again for the Miata ND next year.
Faced with an increasingly competitive and healthy market, and with updates to two older car models a year away, Dodge has had to innovate a new approach to sales. And this one is unique: lease a 2014 model today, and in a year get the newly updated 2015 model at the same lease price.
This deal is both unique and advantageous to the customers. And just in time for tax time!
Chrysler Press Release follows:
Dodge Brand Offers ‘Double-Up’ Program on 2014 Dodge Charger and Challenger
- Get a 2014 Charger or Challenger now; trade to a 2015 Charger or Challenger and keep the same payment
- Innovative, industry-exclusive lease program offered through end of August 2014
- No additional down payment required on eligible 2015 models
- Flexibility to choose a Charger or Challenger now and switch to the other model later
- Augmented reality App coming in May; experience 2015 Charger and Challenger on tablets and mobile devices
New 2015 Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger muscle cars are coming later this year, but there is no need to wait to get into one of these performance icons.The Dodge brand has crafted the “Double-Up” program for Charger and Challenger enthusiasts. Eligible customers can lease a 2014 Charger or Challenger for 12 months, and leave the dealership with a guarantee that when they return in a year and follow program rules they will have the same lease payment on a new 2015 Charger or Challenger.
Customers can take advantage of this innovative program now through the end of August 2014.
“If you have your eye on a new Challenger or Charger, there’s no need to wait for the new models to arrive,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand President and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC. “The Dodge Double-Up program lets you drive today’s Charger or Challenger and trade to the 2015 with no increase in payment. This is our way of thanking our loyal Charger and Challenger customers, and extending this offer to any new customers longing to get into one of these iconic muscle cars.”
Both the Charger and Challenger were strong sales performers during 2013. Last year, the Charger recorded its best annual sales since 2007, while the Challenger posted its best annual sales ever.
Under this new “Double-Up” program, eligible customers may enter into a 12-month lease for a 2014 Charger (excluding Charger SE and Charger SRT) or a 2014 Challenger (excluding Challenger SRT).
When their 12-month lease is up these eligible customers who follow program rules are guaranteed the same lease payment on a 36-month lease, with no additional down payment, on select all-new 2015 Charger or Challenger models. Customers may lease any 2015 Charger (excluding Charger SE and Charger SRT) and any 2015 Challenger (excluding Challenger SRT). If customers choose to purchase the 2015 model, they will receive $1,000 bonus cash toward the purchase of the vehicle.
Customers must use the same Dodge dealership for both transactions, lease through Chrysler Capital and follow program rules for eligibility. Customers interested in this offer should see their Dodge dealer for program terms and conditions and further information.
In addition to revealing the 2015 Dodge Charger and 2015 Dodge Challenger this week at the New York Auto Show (NYAS), the brand has created a “Dodge 2015 Experience,” which provides consumers a unique browser-based 360-degree sneak preview of the new vehicles before they are available in dealer showrooms.
Dodge enthusiasts attending the New York Auto Show, and those visiting Dodge dealerships afterwards, will have the opportunity to check out the “Dodge 2015 Experience” on iPads programmed with 2015 Charger and Challenger photos, videos and 360-degree exterior and interior views.
They will also get the first peek at the upcoming three-dimensional augmented reality App coming in May. The App will allow consumers to experience the 2015 vehicles through their own tablets or mobile devices. Users can change the vehicle color and wheels, take 360-degree tours of the inside and outside of the new vehicles and drive their Chargers or Challengers on a virtual track.
About Dodge Brand
The Dodge brand is tearing into its centennial year with a keen eye focused on the future and a desire to create vehicles customers want to drive and are proud to park in their driveways. With 100 years of history, Dodge is building on the technological advancements of the ’30s and ’40s, design evolution of the ’50s, the racing heritage of the ’60s, the horsepower of the ’70s, the efficiency of the ’80s and unbelievable styling of the ’90s as it paves the road to its future. New for 2014, Dodge is kind of a big deal with its new 2014 Dodge Durango with a new eight-speed transmission that delivers up to 25 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, a new 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment center and best-in-class power, towing and driving range, in addition to its class-exclusive technology. The new Durango joins a stable that includes the new 2014 Dodge Dart, with its breakthrough 2.4-liter 184-horsepower Tigershark engine, and the celebrated 2014 Dodge Avenger. Both earned 2014 Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Also new for 2014, Dodge is bringing back the legendary throwback Shaker hood and offering special 100th anniversary editions of the Charger and Challenger with unique exteriors and interiors to celebrate the centennial. Completing the 2014 Dodge lineup are the Journey with its new Crossroad model and the 30th Anniversary Grand Caravan. The Dodge lineup features five vehicles with best-in-class power, seven vehicles that deliver 25 mpg or higher, three vehicles that deliver 31 mpg or higher and three vehicles that offer seating for seven.
Another gray and bleak day in Austin – this spring is just not happening.
But that didn’t prevent a good showing at the monthly Cars and Coffee™ event in Austin TX. Here’s our gallery of 51 images, adding to the roughly ~thousand that we’ve taken at the Austin Cars and Coffee events so far.
We’ve seen numerous RB engine swaps into Datsun Zs and Silvias over the years: it’s as popular a swap as the supply of RB engines (and empty Skyline GT-R engine compartments) will allow. Given the DNA and evolutionary path of those cars, an RB swap there is now a known science. But the G37s has no evolutionary roots in those cars, so this is something entirely new and entirely different. And it’s also a hybrid of an RB30 iron block, an RB26 DOHC head, and an RB25 gearbox.
This was not an easy swap, but perseverance got it to a successful completion. While the swap and electronics were one thing, along with issues such as a throttle body, transmission spacer, throttle and clutch pedals, driveshaft, final drive ratio, surge tank, and many more – ultimately the engine tuning was the worst speedbump along the long road to completion. So like many other swaps, success was not at all easy and not a given. Kudos to the owner for being so open.
The swap has been extensively documented on My37.com, along with the full specs, and we’ve got some sample pictures and videos below. Follow the full thread for the complete story – it’s a great read!
Later 25PSI tune (with obligatory flame)
In a special edition of the monthly Cars and Coffee event today in Austin, TX. This was the second special edition of Cars and Coffee Austin this year, the first being the Esotico Italiano car show featuring Valentino Balboni.
Mike Brewer of The Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealer was the special guest. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and between the rain and a wind chill of well under 50 degrees, Mike probably thought he was home in Britain.
Nonetheless, he graciously talked to attendees and owners and showed us the “special relationship” car enthusiasts have around the world.
Discovery was filming material for a future show, so unlike the regular monthly Cars and Coffee show, the displays today were intended to be limited to muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. Read more
Infiniti continues to tease us with their Eau Rouge prototype – a GT-R powered all wheel drive sports sedan. Their latest video features Sebastian Vettel driving a prototype.
But it also shows us a bit more about the car – including an IS-F like extension to the front fenders:
These differ slightly from the show car, which used a two-piece extension. This probably saves time, since a large number of test cars would have to be built for various purposes.
You’ll also note that the rear fenders use a simple bolt-on flair, rather than the integrated flair of the show car. In other words, the show car used an entirely new fender while this car just uses flares to cover the wider tires. This suggests that like the IS-F, the rear tires will be just slightly wider than production, while the fronts will be considerably wider (255 on the show car), along with the track. And that front and rear fenders will be new, while the door sheet metal remains unchanged.
And these seats, previously not seen before, show us something about the support that Infiniti believes drivers will need in this 560hp monster:
But, caution, this is a prototype and much works remains to be done.
The video almost seems more like a commercial for an available product than it does a proving ground video. We’d almost wonder if they are still selling the idea to us, and if the decision to build the car has actually been made. But we believe it has, and that the program is nearing production.
Infiniti Press Release follows:
Infiniti brings 560hp Q50 Eau Rouge prototype to life
Apr. 4, 2014
- Sebastian Vettel tests running prototype in his role as Infiniti’s Director of Performance
- Full schedule of prototype testing and evaluation continues
Hong Kong – Infiniti is pressing ahead with the evaluation of the Q50 Eau Rouge high-performance vehicle and will show footage of the testing of a prototype version, at the hands of Infiniti’s Director of Performance Sebastian Vettel, at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show.
The four time Formula One world champion tested the 560hp high performance sports sedan at the Millbrook Proving Ground automotive testing facility, UK, putting the prototype through a challenging series of performance, handling and precision driving evaluations. Vettel’s invaluable feedback will be engineered into the next stages of the prototype’s extensive development program – testing components, packaging and viability.
Further information regarding the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge running prototype will be released on press day at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show on April 20.
Need for Speed premiered this weekend in North America and it’s actually doing very well financially. The movie tells the story of a street racer who is framed for the death of a fellow racer, and who has to enter a secret race against some of the top racers in the country in order to prove his innocence. But first our hero has to drive across the country in only 44 hours to get to the start – avoiding (or out-running)_ cops and adversaries along the way. The movie stars Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, and Imogen Potts. Michael Keaton also has a role as the race organizer.
If this sounds like the popular video game series, that’s because it was taken from that series. And like that series, the driving is video game-like. And that’s just the start of the issues that driving enthusiasts around the country have written about.
There are already several reviews about this basically brainless car race across the country. All are negative, overwhelmingly so. But we think it’s ok as simple escapism, as long as you suspend the rules of physics, logic, and good scriptwriting. So we’ll add our own comments and observations.
In order to enjoy this film:
- ignore the impossible and ridiculous physics (huge jumps across a hundred feet, a pickup by a helicopter to get across a canyon)
- ignore the ridiculous starring car (a Mustang with typically too many fake scoops and other crap stuck on)
- ignore the 100+ foot jump, flying over other cars up in the air. It’s impossible, and the landing of the stunt car is of course cut short just before the front end crunches on landing
- ignore the BS homage to Carroll Shelby which claims things he never actually did (more snake oil in the heritage – suggesting he personally had anything to do with the creation of the current Shelby Mustang other than collecting a fat licensing fee).
Speaking of which, here’s our hero car. You’ll notice right off the array of fake scoops – none of which aids the aerodynamics or performance. Fake scoops are popular with a certain subset of Mustang enthusiasts… probably the same ones who at a pre-teen age dream about getting a license some day. And the Mustang rides on ridiculously over-sized rims – not to contains ridiculously over-sized brakes but just for appearance. Here is the Mustang being chased by the police – a 900 HP Mustang can’t pull away from a 230 HP Crown Vic – who would have thought?
And then there is the signature jump – up a curb, over about 100 feet, and landing at a very alarming angle. Not even a full-blown X Games car could make this jump.
And then there are the “supercars” for the third and last race in the film: out of 6, 5 are fake prop cars built for the film (only the Saleen S7 is real, and it doesn’t crash). Most look pretty bad and all but our hero’s car come to a CGI-enhanced end. Look at the fiberglass roofline of the “Lamborghini Sesto Elemento” below.
What else is wrong?
- the first race is nonsensical – muscle cars do not handle. Don’t argue, it’s ridiculous to think any of the lumps shown could actually handle
- the Shelby has the aerodynamics of a brick… even with 900 horsepower it’s not going to get to 230 MPH, and even if it somehow did it’d be nose-up
- the Shelby didn’t do 230 on the test track… any car would be lucky to do half that on that particular track
- the number of flat-spotted tires in this film almost certainly set a new record. Somebody somewhere has hundreds of otherwise perfect tires to sell.
- how can you drive across the country at these kinds of speeds without a radar detector, or a single radar trap? Or was there a time warp back to 1973?
- speaking of which, 44 hours across the country is nothing these days… the record is 31 hours, give or take depending on the route.
- and, BTW, what is your breath like after 44 hours in a car? Yes, that’s when the first big kiss takes place. Yuck.
- how is it that cop cars can run with a 900 HP Mustang?
- there is 1 – and only 1 – seatbelt in the entire film… on the passenger side of the Mustang and it’s only used twice. Otherwise there isn’t a single seatbelt used in the film thru jumps, crashes, chases, etc.
Further laughs: I have to wonder if Aaron Paul can actually really drive a car… his stunt Mustang in actuality has an automatic and you can hear it when he shifts to get the car moving.
Background press releases say that the cast took stunt driving lessons.. bu that doesn’t make any of them capable or enthusiasts in real life.
Surprise #1: the cops in California are reasonably depicted, which was unusual because most are depicted as “Southern” types that aren’t too smart and have a giant gumball on top of their car, aka numerous Burt Reynolds films. That’s only true for radar cops.
Surprise #2: after the release of the protagonist from jail (for the 2nd time), his British girlfriend is waiting for him in a 2015 Mustang. Nice to see it, and it looks sharp and shapely.
Ford Motor Company provided a lot of support to the film… what were they thinking? Is this how they want their products depicted… or may be it is?
So just sit back and enjoy the ride, despite the critics (and our) opinion. It’s not meant to be a great work of art. And enjoy our gallery of images.
What a coincidence… in October 2012, Jay Leno visited the Nissan Design Studio in Japan. We saw a silhouette of the next Nissan Z in that design studio, and that silhouette was significantly different from today’s Z – it looked like a 240Z. The proportions of which may suggest a different platform going forward. And the talk in the video by Jay was of the 240Z and of getting back to that ideal.
And it now that same studio has produced the Nissan IDx concept, a thinly veiled Datsun 510 type of car. Which as we know has been approved for production in a couple of years.
So here’s some speculation (with no basis from anything announced): since the IDx is apparently built on a new lightweight rear wheel drive platform (vs. the existing and much heavier FM platform used by everything from the current 370Z to the Infiniti G50 and up to the larger Infinitis), will that same platform also be used for a future lightweight Z? The Z could stand to lose more than a few pounds and this new platform would provide the means of doing that.
All speculation for now. But congratulations to Nissan for going ahead with the IDx, and we look forward to seeing it in a few years. Along with several more exiting Nissans coming up including the next GT-R and at some point the next Z.
Jay likes what he sees in this prototype, and of course he even gets to drive it – on the streets no less!
Central Texas has seen the coldest winter in our memory this year, and this morning’s high of only 40 degrees is about 30 degrees less than it should be for this time of the year. In our 18 years here we’ve never seen a winter like this one.
But that didn’t stop the organizers of Cars and Coffee Austin, or the participants. A large and hardy group came out with their cars and to view – despite the cold. With hot coffee for sale (and hot chocolate too), and a drone flying overhead, the show went on.
It’s tough to name a “best vehicle” in Cars and Coffee.. .there are so many. What we look for is creativity, a labor of love, uniqueness, and something that is driven to the show – not flat-bedded. If we were asked to name the star of the show this month, we’d have to award it to this restored Chevrolet pickup. An excellent and very thorough restoration job. And our apologies to the owner, in the cold we neglected to get the year of the truck.
Our full gallery is below – enjoy!