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BUILDING THE PERFECT FEAST

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Aug 18, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

BUILDING THE PERFECT FEAST By Roy Nakano

The lengths that Mazda went through to perfect this car will even make Adrian Monk raise an eyebrow. For 2007, Mazda introduces the Power Retractable Hardtop. It's the quickest retractable hardtop on the planet - 12 seconds from top up to top down, and vice versa. The fact that the trunk space is unimpeded by the top deserves lots of kudos.

The car was already one of the most well-balanced sports cars on the market. For its latest offering, the MX-5 has a new engine that's 42 pounds lighter. They went through the trouble to move the engine 5.3 inches rearward for a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. As expected, the convertible cloth top is a one-hand, easy-fold design. Unexpectedly, no tonneau cover is needed, since the top is beautifully integrated when it's folded down. And with the top down, the MX-5 reveals a fresh-looking interior.

MX-5 and MX-5 Power Retractable Top To keep the car at its sporting best, lightweight aluminum is used for the hood, decklid, transmission-to-differential power plant frame, and suspension components. To further lighten the load, both the driveshaft and front stabilizer bar are hollow. Even the rearview mirror was redesigned to save 94 grams in weight. Mazda claims it tested 59 variations of exhaust notes. The claim is believable. The latest MX-5 exhibits one of the best sounds ever to come out of a four-cylinder engine.

The new 2.0-liter aluminum engine packs 170 horsepower - a 20 percent increase from the outgoing model. The engine uses molybdenum-coated pistons. The power is transmitted through a quick-revving ultra-lightweight flywheel to a six-speed short-throw manual transmission. The automatic version features six forward speeds and steering wheel-mounted fingertip shifters. Even with the automatic, the car offers a high level of spirited performance. For styling, Mazda took the honorable route and paid homage to the original Miata. The new Miata looks more like the original than the model it replaced. It's a smart design that wears well even in its second year. The first MX5 was already a very good design, and it seems Mazda has been perfecting it even more with each subsequent generation.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Perfection, further perfected. For more information about Mazda products, go to www.mazda.com.

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Mazda MX-5 Miata Power Retractable Hardtop Grand Touring Price Base: $26,360 As tested: $28,670 (Suspension Package M/T, Premium Package #2) Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT (MZR) Horsepower: 166 @ 6700 rpm (6AT; 163 @ 6700) Torque: 140 @ 5000 rpm EPA-estimated miles per gallon (city/highway): 24/30 Transmission: Six-speed manual (optional 6-speed automatic with available sequential-shifting manumatic mode on all models except Sport) Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Brakes Front: Power-assisted ventilated 11.4-inch disc brakes Rear: Power-assisted solid 11-inch solid disc brakes Suspension Front: Independent double wishbone with stabilizer bar Rear: Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar Dimensions Length: 157.3 inches Height: 49.4 inches Width: 67.7 inches Curb weight: 2,573 pounds

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