Never one to give up on a good thing, Mazda Motors has a new addition to its 1995 lineup, the Millenia.It's an outgrowth of the canceled Amati program, which Mazda had proposed as a new and separate luxury-car division.So the Millenia is a highly styled quality sedan with a high degree of technical innovation in its top-of-the-line S model.The Millenia S is powered by Mazda's unique Miller-cycle engine, a powerplant that offers more power, better fuel economy and reduced emissions than an engine with less piston displacement. The Millenia and the Millenia with Leather models are powered by Mazda's 2.5-liter (152-cubic inch) four- cam 24-valve V6, which is good for 170 horsepower.The Millenia is offered at three price levels, ranging from $25,995 to $31,400.]The basic styling theme and general dimensions are the same, with minor differences in items such as gear ratios, track widths and curb weights.The Miller-cycle engine has 2.3 liters (138 cubic inches) of displacement and develops 210 horsepower and 210 foot-pounds of torque. Obviously, it's a far more interesting development than the 2.5-liter, and was in the Millenia S that Tom Roush, head of Tom Roush Lincoln-Mercury-Mazda, provided for a test car.The car spoke of class the minute you opened the door, with a leather interior, a full complement of power accessories and comfortable driver/passenger room both front and back.These days, there really isn't much difference in operating a domestic automobile and an import. So all levers, switches, stalks and other controls were right where one expected to find them.The power seating lets you find virtually any driving position. And a very advanced power/tilt system that raised or lowered the steering column in infinite degrees lets you position the wheel wherever you want it. This is a convenience accessory that domestic manufacturers would do well to incorporate.Driving the S was like driving any better-class automobile. There was nothing to learn; you just get in and go. But when you begin giving that Miller-cycle engine the throttle, you start going a whole lot better than many expensive sedans.The Miller cycle is the creation of an American engineer named Ralph H. Miller, who devised in the 1940s a system to increase an engine's operating efficiency.An oversimplification of his principle is that the intake valves close after a piston has gone past bottom dead center and is about 20 percent into its upward compression cycle.A combination of a lower compression ratio and the forced feeding of a high-intensity, relatively cool air charge from a Lysholm screw-type supercharger produces high thermal efficiency without heat- related detonation (knocking). The result is high horsepower and torque from smaller amounts of engine displacement.The V6 in the test car was extremely smooth and quiet. At idle, you virtually couldn't tell the engine was running.There was a ton of acceleration, with top speed estima ted at 142 mph. The four-speed automatic, the only transmission available, is totally integrated with the engine for almost imperceptible gear changes.The ride leaned just a touch toward the firm side to enhance the front-drive control through fast corners. The suspension, however, was balanced between firm and soft to where there virtually was no vibration in the passenger compartment over uneven pavement.While there's lots of power, the S isn't meant to be a banzai road runner. It operated best in a swift, easy mode surrounded by all the accouterments expected in a luxury automobile.The Millenia S is geared toward an upscale buyer. It adds a touch of the unique to Mazda's line of four-door automobiles, and its Miller-cycle engine may reflect the future. 1995 Mazda Millenia SBase price: $31,400.As tested: $33,450.Type: Front engine, front drive, five-passenger luxury sedan.Engine: 2.3 liters, supercharged DOHC, 24 valves, fuel- injected , 210 hor sepower, 210 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: Four- speed automatic.Mileage: 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway.Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 8.0 seconds.Top speed: 142 mph (estimated)Wheelbase: 108.3 inches.Length: 189.8 inches.Width: 69.7 inches.Height: 54.9 inches.Curb weight: 3,391 pounds.Options: BOSE audio system with CD changer, 4-Seasons package with heated front seats, heavy-duty wiper motor, large capacity washer tank, washer fluid indicator light, protection package with alloy wheel locks and floor mats.
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