Mazda begins production of upgraded Mazda MX-5 at Hiroshima site

Article by Anita Panait, on July 12, 2012

Mazda has started producing an upgraded version of the Mazda MX-5 at its Hiroshima assembly plant in Japan. The upgraded Mazda MX-5, both its Roadster Coupe and soft-top variants, boast of having improved safety features and better driving characteristics, complemented by enhancements in interior and exterior.

Interior improvements include upgraded panel décor with matching steering wheel spokes that surely enhance the cabin ambience. Exterior improvements, meanwhile, include a new, more aggressive front bumper design especially developed to improve MX-5’s aerodynamic performance.

MX-5 buyers could now opt for their units to get the new Dolphin Grey Mica paint finish.  Mazda made sure to improve the responsiveness of the MX-5 to driver inputs by modifying the throttle pedal actuation on manual transmission models. This increases the feeling of linear acceleration and gives the driver superior control when accelerating from lower speeds.

Mazda also modified the car’s vacuum brake-booster to optimise brake return control, which is needed when the driver brakes while entering a curve.  The MX-5’s new acceleration control goes to work when the driver takes his foot off the brake and steps on the accelerator.

These two new upgrades on the MX-5 allow more controllable, smoother and faster braking and acceleration. This also allows drivers of the upgraded MX-5 to live through Mazda’s legendary Jinba Ittai ‘horse and rider as one’ driving experience. Aside from the upgraded MX-5’s better looks, aerodynamics and handling, the sportscar also features a system that regards pedestrian safety.

Mazda fitted the MX-5 with the new ‘active bonnet’ pedestrian protection system, which automatically raises the trailing edge of the bonnet if it detects pedestrian impact. The MX-5, regarded as the world’s best-selling open-top sportscar, will be rolled out in the United Kingdom later this year.

The latest version of the Mazda MX-5 has been updated and face-lifted to allow its imposing front end to match the dynamism of the roadster. Its response has been improved both in terms of acceleration and braking. These improvements could be well felt when the roadster is braking into curves or springing out of them. This means the new Mazda MX-5 is a greater and more responsive performer when negotiating winding roads.

These are all thanks to the efforts of the carmaker’s technology experts who toiled to refine the acceleration management program of the roadster’s manual versions. This resulted to greater acceleration control as well as better linear response to input even at lower speeds. The MX-5’s vacuum brake booster was particularly optimized while the brake return control was dramatically improved. Moreover engineers also refined the roadster’s front-rear load distribution, thereby improving the handling capability of the MX-5.

Aside from boasting of better acceleration and braking responses, the face-lifted version of the Mazda MX-5 comes with advanced pedestrian safety features. These new features should allow the new Mazda MX-5 to become all ready for the stiffer pedestrian safety standards in the European Union. For instance, the new Mazda roadster comes with a new active bonnet system that – in the event of an impending impact with a pedestrian -- automatically raises the hood to enlarge crumple zone, thereby diminishing or mitigating the amount of collision force and reducing severity of injuries especially on the head. For better leg protection, Mazda reinforced the lower section of the roadster front bumper.

These new safety features didn’t prevent Mazda and its designers to also revise the front end of the new MX-5 by making its grille look deeper and employing a new bumper design. These visual tweaks lend the new MX-5 a lower yet wider stance and a more aggressive front end. In addition, the new Mazda MX-5 now comes with new fog lamp bezels as well as new chin spoiler.

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