Mazda is the automaker most responsible for the sports-car revolution of the 1990s, and the MX-5 Miata continues to provide driving entertainment at a moderate price. For 2005, Mazda's rear-wheel-drive two-seat sports car remains available in base and LS trim levels, and a six-speed-manual transmission can be installed.
Performance-minded roadster fans now have a stronger choice, though. During the 2004 model year, Mazda introduced a high-performance Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata with a turbocharged engine that generates 178 horsepower rather than the usual 142 hp. Offered only with a six-speed-manual transmission, the Mazdaspeed model rides on 17-inch tires and has a body that's been lowered by 7 millimeters.
The company says more than 1,000 parts were modified to create the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata. A Bosch torque-sensing limited-slip differential is installed.
A new Grand Touring edition of the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata arrived for the 2005 model year and features leather upholstery rather than the cloth seating of the base model. Mazdaspeed is the in-house performance arm of Mazda.
The Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata exhibits an amalgamation of curves that are offset by few straight lines. The manual-folding fabric top has a glass back window with a defogger. A wind-blocker panel is included.
The sport-tuned fully independent suspension in the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata includes shorter springs with increased rates, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, and Mazdaspeed-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers. A rear-deck spoiler, an under-spoiler and a large exhaust tip are standard. Fog lamps are recessed into the front under-spoiler. A $1,500 detachable hardtop is optional.
Cloth bucket seats are used in the regular Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata, while leather upholstery is installed in the Grand Touring edition. A black vinyl top is standard, and a black cloth roof is available on the Grand Touring model. Because the car is only 4 feet tall, occupants have to drop down into the seats. The driver faces a simple dashboard, and all the controls and gauges are within easy reach. Standard equipment includes a 225-watt Bose six-speaker AM/FM radio with an in-dash six-CD changer. Sirius Satellite Radio can be installed.
Under the Hood
Beneath the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata's hood sits a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 178 hp at 6,000 rpm and 166 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine teams with a six-speed-manual transmission.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Second-generation front airbags include a key-operated deactivation switch for the passenger side.