At the heart of the 2014 MX-5 remains the highly-responsive MZR 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with an output of 167 horsepower at 7,000 rpm with 140 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Automatic-equipped models feature the same torque output but produce 158 horsepower at 6,700 rpm. The sophisticated, sturdy engine is light and compact, offers a strong performance and unmatched responsiveness for its nearly 50:50 weight distribution of the already lean roadster. With a 7,200-rpm redline (6,700 rpm in automatics) the flexible engine delivers driving exhilaration throughout the rev range. Reacting to driving commands with lightning-quick reflexes and progressive power delivery are linear keys to MX-5’s stellar driving controls.
A thrilling engine growl adds to the already intoxicating joy of the MX-5’s handling capabilities. The original 1.6-liter engine-equipped 1990 model was tuned to mimic the sound of dual-carbureted sports cars of the 1960s, and thus the classic sound has been a hallmark of the Mazda roadster.
The lightweight plastic composite intake manifold itself has been designed to transmit certain frequencies to match the original sports car tone while suppressing less ideal sounds. 2014 MX-5 models with six-speed manual transmissions are equipped with an Induction Sound Enhancer (ISE). Consisting of a series of tuned pipes and a passive resonance membrane, the ISE delivers the engine’s natural induction sound to the cowl, just ahead of the windshield, so more attractive engine sounds can be heard at a satisfying volume without resorting to simply being loud, obtrusive noise.
The MZR 2.0-liter engine is mounted front mid-ship for precise handling and balance. Utilizing an aluminum block and head for decreased weight and increased structural rigidity ultimately enhanced performance and refinement. Chain-driven double-headed camshafts and 16 valves are used for improved revving and flexibility. Variable intake valve timing betters low-end torque and high-end power. Additional engine features include a forged steel crankshaft, forged steel connecting rods with floating wrist pins, revised pistons with stronger wrist pin bosses, stiffer valve springs and an engine oil cooler.
Standard equipment is a five-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter (Sport models only). An available six-speed manual gearbox offers gear ratios close-stacked to enhance driving enjoyment. A six-speed automatic transmission adds yet another dimension to the MX-5 to fit a variety of consumer preferences. Automatic transmission-equipped models also feature steering-wheel mounted dual-paddle shifters. The upper paddle commands downshifts while the lower paddle controls upshifts, similar to a race car’s operation. For all transmissions, engine torque is coordinated with the shift sequence, resulting in smooth, seamless and faster gear changes for inspired driving.
For a more luxurious feel, the top-of-the-line Grand Touring sits on 17-inch silver aluminum alloy wheels packaged with 205/45R17 high-performance Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. Available with either a black or Spicy Mocha cloth soft top or a body-colored PRHT, the interior features the Sport’s Convenience Package as well as leather-trimmed seats with five heat settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink®, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, leatherette door trim, a Bose® seven-speaker premium surround sound audio system, silver seat back bar trim and a leather-wrapped parking brake.
Available packages for Grand Touring models are the Suspension and Premium Packages, both of which must be ordered together. The Suspension Package features Bilstein shocks, a limited slip differential and a sport-tuned suspension. The Premium Package offers an anti-theft alarm, a Bluetooth® hands-free phone system, xenon headlights, the Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry System and Sirius Satellite Radio with a four-month complimentary subscription (Sirius Satellite Radio is an available option on Sport and Club models). When fully-equipped and topped with a PRHT, the MX-5 still weighs a svelte 2,619 lbs.
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