- Exterior changes too subtle.
- Cramped interior, as always.
- Stiffer suspension means harsher ride.
- Top is manually operated.
- Limited numbers available.
Press Coverage :
Car enthusiasts in North America received a special gift for the holidays as the MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata made its official debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show today. Shown briefly at the industry-only 2003 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in November 2003, the vehicle was seen for the first time by the general public in Los Angeles. Bound to reinvigorate the roadster marketplace with a new level of performance and style at an unbeatable price point, MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata comes fully equipped priced at $25,500 with cloth interior and $26,200 with leather, thousands less than a BMW Z4 and with nearly the same horsepower.
Fitted with a ball-bearing single-scroll turbocharger with 7.25 psi maximum boost and an air-to-air intercooler, the 1.8-liter, 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.
Keeping the MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata cool as its turbocharged engine blazes are two additional oil cooler plate pieces, allowing the oil more time to cool before it recycles through the engine. Harder rubber is also used for the engine and differential mountings to account for increased torque and avoid flexing and wearing due to more extreme temperature changes under the hood.
These precise engine modifications, combined with a short-throw, six-speed gearbox with improved gear durability and MazdaSpeed sport-tuned and lowered suspension, makes for an amazingly quick and agile car. The already-able Miata chassis gets dropped 7mm in ride height through the use of red-painted, shorter springs with increased spring rates. Silver-painted, MazdaSpeed-tuned Bilstein dampers soak up vibration while larger front and rear stabilizer bars and a silver-painted front strut tower brace increase chassis rigidity and improve road-holding capability.
Mazda engineers meticulously tuned the suspension to get the most out of the turbocharged powerplant, deftly handling the brute power sent through the Bosch torque-sensing limited slip differential to the 17-inch Racing Hart aluminum alloy wheels shod with Toyo Proxes R28 205/40R17 80W high-performance tires (the first time a Miata has been offered with a 17-inch wheel and tire package). MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata also receives a quicker steering ratio since the rack stroke was reduced more than 7mm from Miata’s. All four corners receive silver-painted brake calipers and ABS.
The exterior, colored in either Velocity Red Mica or Titanium Gray Metallic and subtly tattooed with MazdaSpeed and MX-5 badging, sports smoked headlamps and a unique front under-spoiler with recessed fog lamps. From the back, a rear under-spoiler, rear deck spoiler and large exhaust tip with MazdaSpeed logo is the last image most other cars on the road will see.
When raised, a black vinyl soft top covers 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 showcase the MazdaSpeed logo as do the foot pedals, stainless steel scuff plates, floor mats and body-colored rear view mirror cap. A unique curl-fit finish adorns the center stack panel and shift panel. 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.
As with all MazdaSpeed vehicles, special attention to detail permeates throughout, including a red wrinkle finish with turbo logo on the valve cover and an anodized aluminum oil cap with MazdaSpeed logo.
Even with the addition of a turbocharger and much more, MazdaSpeed vehicles carry the same factory-backed warranty as all Mazda vehicles. The 2004 MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata is covered by a comprehensive four-year/50,000-mile warranty that covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. In addition, the 2004 MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata is covered by a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
2001-2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata
1,839 cc / 142 hp / 125 lb-ft / 2387-2447 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.7 sec.