Mazda MX-5 turns 20

Written By Mujianto akhmadi pratama on Friday | 2:32 AM

This week Mazda celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5, the world’s best-selling lightweight two-seat roadster.
On February 9, 1989, Mazda Motor Corporation revealed a sporty little roadster at the Chicago Auto Show.
Today, the Mazda MX-5’s popularity is unchallenged – more than 850,000 MX-5s have been sold on all continents of the world, except Antarctica – and to this day it remains the only two-seat roadster to combine the traditional front-engine, rear-drive layout, an affordable price, and the joy of driving.

The diminutive roadster holds a special place in the hearts of Mazda employees and car enthusiasts alike.
None more so than Takao Kijima, Mazda MX-5′s long-standing  program manager.
I have been involved with the Mazda MX-5 since the project was first approved in 1988 and was lucky enough to be a chassis engineer on the first model that established the MX-5 roadster’s reputation as an exciting and affordable lightweight sports car.

The first-generation Mazda MX-5 launched in October 1989 with a price tag of $29,550. Reflecting its purist intentions, it was powered by a spritely 88kW, 1.6-litre engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
Like most cars of that era, the MX-5 did not have power steering, anti-lock brakes, traction control, airbags or a CD player. Accordingly, its kerb weight was 960kg.

The facelift of the third-generation MX-5, reflects the high levels of safety and technology expected of 21st century cars. It has all those features missing from the first generation, including an iPod jack, cruise control, and even a hardtop roof which folds in 12 seconds.

The MX-5’s 2.0-litre engine is capable of revving to 7,500 rpm and makes 118 kW of power. It can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. And where the original sported 14-inch alloy wheels, the 2010 model wears visually arresting 17-inch alloy wheels.
It’s fair to say the Mazda MX-5 has matured into a class act that has proven impossible to match.


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