Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept

Mazda-MX-5_Superlight

Mazda-MX-5_Superlight

Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept is an answer to the world of automobiles and individual mobility moving towards energy efficiency, environmental compatibility and uncompromised safety – along with dynamic attributes and driving fun. In its efforts to offer pure driving enjoyment, while meeting its ecological and social responsibilities, Mazda has been focusing on weight reduction as a core base technology. For 20 years, reducing weight has been a tradition with the Mazda MX-5. It provided the inspiration for the radical design of Mazda’s latest show car and its radical interpretation of the cult roadster. This year Mazda celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first Mazda MX-5 roadster, which laid the cornerstone for its Zoom-Zoom brand philosophy – reason enough for Mazda designers to create a fully-drivable show car, the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept. There are no plans to build this car, but it demonstrates how individual mobility can be maintained in a way that uses fewer natural resources. Mazda’s European R+D centre in Oberursel has created a show car that represents the essence of Mazda’s fun-to-drive aspect. Based on the brand icon Mazda MX-5 Roadster, the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept is a pure, uncompromising two-seat sports car meant to be affordable to just about anyone. The main challenge for the design team in creating this roadster was “to evolve the MX-5, developed to perfection during the last 20 years, to a higher and extreme level,” says Project Lead Designer Hasip Girgin. The result of their efforts is a roadster show car with an exciting design that is especially lightweight and distilled down to the very basics of sporty driving, that still manages to provide modern safety technologies. In an increasingly digitalized world, it creates a linear, direct bond between man and machine. Its conceptual purity means even better driving dynamics and fuel efficiency, which is accomplished by keeping the vehicle below the 1000 kg threshold. As a show car for lightweight construction and driving enjoyment, the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept is the ideal ambassador for Mazda’s brand values.

Exterior Design

“I’ve dreamed of building a Mazda MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time,” says Peter Birtwhistle, Mazda Motor Europe’s Chief Designer, referring to the project. “Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for it. We show how lightweight a car today can be.”

His design team reduced the MX-5 down to its core attributes to create a pure roadster. Development of the production model MX-5 focussed on the bond between driver and co-pilot to the roadster, the car’s driving dynamics and its open-top experience. The goal of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept was to strengthen these bonds even further. By doing this without a windshield, the retractable top and its frame, designers achieved an important step in this direction. As the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept, the allweather production roadster has mutated into a driving machine that lets sports car enthusiasts enjoy the natural surroundings unfiltered and tangible. Not only does the wind blow unimpeded during driving, pilot and co-pilot can also experience the sounds, smells and temperature changes of their immediate surroundings. And finally, the show car’s intense bond between the driver and the technology of the vehicle gives it a unique closeness that can only be found in stronger form in the cockpit of a race car.

Mazda designers created special roll-over bars, not only because they are very sporty-looking, but also to contribute to aerodynamic efficiency. These also make it clear that roll-over protection is important in this concept. And they prevent wind turbulence around the heads of the passengers, from whom the law would require the wearing of helmets while driving.

By removing equipment not vital to driving, and by replacing vital things with components that support the unique concept of the vehicle, designers sharpened the character of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept.

Because there is no windshield, for instance, there is obviously no need for wipers. The roadster show car’s completely open design makes the need for outer door handles, side windows and their openers unnecessary. A single, filigree aluminium, wide-angle mirror gives a good view of the road behind. It’s placed inside an extension of the bonnet. Front and rear lights are the same as those of the production model with additional LED lamps at the front, and brake lights at the back of each roll-over bar, which contribute to the roadster’s sporty look.

The lack of a windshield required an extension of the original aluminium bonnet into the cabin. The attached sheet here is made of lightweight carbon fibre and provides a hood for the dashboard frame.

This also changed the proportions of the body’s design, making the front of the car longer and the passengers seem like they are sitting further back towards the rear-drive axle, all of which is enhanced by the massive roll-over bars and their aerodynamic cladding. The Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept translates the dramatic proportions of historical race cars into a very modern form.

Interior Design

The purity in design of the exterior also characterizes the interior design, which does not have aesthetics as ultimate goal, but was conceived to contribute to reducing vehicle weight. Driver and passenger of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept are greeted by racing bucket seats made of ultra-lightweight carbon fibre. They are slide adjustable and upholstered with the same saddle coloured leather as the armrests, the steering wheel, and the lightweight aluminium shift lever and hand brake. Colour-coordinated four-point seatbelts hold the driver and passenger firmly in their seats.

The bonnet extension into the passenger cell provides a canopy for the dashboard, which makes the dashboard look smaller than the production Mazda MX-5. Made of lightweight plastic reinforced with fibreglass, it contains the same instruments as the production Mazda MX-5. These are held in place by a dashboard frame made of lightweight carbon fibre. Like a purebred race car, the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept has an ignition button in the centre of the dashboard, along with two emergency kill buttons for immediate fuel and electricity cut-off.

Supplying air and climate control to the open passenger compartment is only possible in limited form, so the show car has no air conditioning and no fans. Air-flow is increased when the roadster accelerates, and only small air vents are needed. The interior is made without any trim. Sound insulation mats and rugs do not meet the requirements of a purist roadster like this and are not used at all.

Also made of ultra-lightweight carbon fibre is the “floating-design” centre console with iPod® adaptor and the triangular reinforcements in the trimless doors. Driver and passenger can rest their arms here while driving.

Driving Dynamics

The Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept is fully-drivable, but there are no plans to produce it in the near future. Under the bonnet is the cultivated and frugal MZR 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine paired to the production roadster’s five-speed manual transmission. It develops 93 kW/126 PS of maximum power at 6,500 rpm. For an appealing engine sound, there’s a Mazdaspeed cold-air intake made of polished and powder-coated aluminium and a Mazdaspeed exhaust system, both of them specific to the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept. These systems deliver more intake air-flow, and less exhaust-gas back pressure.

The engine sound is designed to suggest an engine with much higher displacement than the concept actually has. During charge cycles, a high-resonance bubbling sound in the muffler delivers the exciting sporty sound you expect from a very powerful engine.

The show car is designed to provide improved driving dynamics as well, and uses a four-piston, fixedcalliper brake system with perforated discs that, because of their size required an increase in track of 50 mm. A specially tuned chassis with a Bilstein® B16 coil-over suspension and Eibach® stabilisers give the body of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept a ground clearance that is 30 mm lower than the production Mazda MX-5. Its sporty hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion steering system is the same as that of the regular roadster. Its linear steering, coupled to a precise-shifting five-speed manual transmission with short shift travel, have contributed to the character of the world’s most successful roadster for years.

Also from the production model are the roadster’s 205/45 R17 original-equipment tyres and alloy wheels from the 2.0-litre version, which are some of the lightest on the market today at less than 8 kg.

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Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept to debut at IAA

mazda-mx5

Mazda MX-5 is a superb roadster not because of what it has, but because of what it hasn’t! It is plain simple with no unnecessary electronic stuffs or luxury goods. and that makes it very brilliant to drive and yet quit affordable. Now Mazda apparently got a bit carried away as it reveals a stripped-out version of the car called Superlight concept, which comes with… nothing!
Superlight, as its name suggests focuses even more on simplicity. It has no roof, no door handles, it doesn’t even come with a windscreen! But, it has rollbars like those of classic race cars, and it has sport seats, rear diffuser and bigger wheels. Hopefully Mazda gives it a powerful engine to perfect the recipe!
However it’s still a concept which is set for debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and it is still unknown whether Mazda will put it into production. Recently they unveiled a 20th anniversary special edition for Japan, now this Superlight which is designed in Germany can be the European equivalent!

Mazda MX-5 is a superb roadster not because of what it has, but because of what it hasn’t! It is plain simple with no unnecessary electronic stuffs or luxury goods. and that makes it very brilliant to drive and yet quit affordable. Now Mazda apparently got a bit carried away as it reveals a stripped-out version of the car called Superlight concept, which comes with… nothing!

Superlight, as its name suggests focuses even more on simplicity. It has no roof, no door handles, it doesn’t even come with a windscreen! But, it has rollbars like those of classic race cars, and it has sport seats, rear diffuser and bigger wheels. Hopefully Mazda gives it a powerful engine to perfect the recipe!

However it’s still a concept which is set for debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and it is still unknown whether Mazda will put it into production. Recently they unveiled a 20th anniversary special edition for Japan, now this Superlight which is designed in Germany can be the European equivalent!

Mazda 3 i-stop (2010)

Mazda3-i-stop

Mazda3-i-stop

The Mazda stand at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show is greener than ever before. One way Mazda achieved this is to develop unique idle-stop technology that shuts down the engine when stopped in traffic jams and similar situations as a way to reduce fuel consumption.

The Mazda 3 will be powered by the MZR 2.0L DISI engine with green idle-stop technology – Mazda’s unique i-stop system. Developed solely by Mazda, it is the world’s only idle-stop system that restarts the engine using the remaining energy in the pistons (with a quick help of the starter motor) by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder and igniting it to force the piston down. The benefit of combining a DISI engine with i-stop (originally called SISS: Smart Idle Stop System) is that the system restarts the engine about twice as fast, and quieter, than conventional idle-stop systems.

Combining these two Mazda proprietary technologies and further measures like aerodynamic modifications, help the new Mazda 3 achieve approximately 14 percent lower fuel consumption (combined) than the previous Mazda 3.

When the driver stops the vehicle (red light, traffic jam) the engine stops automatically and sets itself to be ready for a prompt restart. As soon as the driver presses the clutch, the engine initiates the restart procedure automatically. This is a totally neutral operation for the driver.

// // Mazda 3 i-stop Green Technology

When stopped at a traffic light or in a traffic jam, shutting off the idling engine can reduce fuel consumption by approximately 5 percent according to European city driving-mode tests. However, the drawback with conventional idle-stop systems is that they rely solely on the use of an electric motor to restart the engine. As such, they require a relatively long amount of time to achieve combustion in the engine when it restarts. In real-world driving, this means a lag between the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed down and the car begins to move, as well as vibration and noise.

The i-stop system for the new Mazda 3 leverages the DISI engine’s direct-injection potential for improving fuel economy, restarting the engine quickly and quietly by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder and igniting it to force the piston down and set the crank in motion. The engine is controlled with precision to make this happen:

Special engine requirements

In order to use combustion energy from the initial stage of restarting the engine, and to start the engine quickly, the following three conditions must be satisfied while the engine is stopped. (1) The engine must be able to inject fuel directly into the combustion chamber and ignite it; (2) an adequate amount of clean air must exist in the combustion chamber of the cylinder where the fuel is to be ignited; and (3) the computer control system must be able to determine which cylinder to fire immediately after starting the engine. The i-stop system, therefore, must use a direct-injection engine that can deliver fuel to the combustion chamber at high pressure, and that can easily ignite that fuel. Mazda’s MZR 2.0-litre DISI petrol is the ideal engine to achieve this.

Controlling piston position

The pistons are stopped in the appropriate position when the engine is stopped, an adequate amount of air is held within the combustion chamber, and the combustion chamber is properly scavenged to reduce the amount of unburned petrol. To this end, piston position is controlled by applying current to the engine’s generator while the engine is being shut down. In doing so, it operates much like an electric motor, while using the signal from the crank angle sensor that monitors piston position as control feedback to stop the piston in the appointed position within its expansion stroke.

Special valve and crankshaft balance control

To scavenge the combustion chamber, the new Mazda 3 i-stop system momentarily opens the throttle valve slightly during the shut down process. (The throttle valve is normally closed when shutting off the engine.) Regular crank angle sensors are only able to determine forward rotation, which leaves them unable to monitor reverse rotation or to determine the correct piston position. Mazda’s i-stop employs a crank angle sensor that is able to monitor crank rotation in both directions, enabling it to accurately determine the correct piston position. To maintain the proper crankshaft balance when the engine is stopped, it is rotated slightly in the reverse direction.

Faster restart + lower fuel consumption

These measures make it possible to properly inject fuel when the engine is restarted and control ignition advance, thereby allowing combustion energy to be used while the engine is stopped and to restart the engine in 0.35 seconds, roughly half the time required by conventional idle-stop systems. While Mazda’s new i-stop system employs combustion energy to restart the engine, it is assisted by the starter for only the first few turns of the crank. This achieves the optimum balance between maximizing fuel savings while minimizing the amount of time required to restart the engine. As a result, it allows i-stop to reduce fuel consumption beyond what would be possible using combustion energy alone to restart the engine.

Driver support communication system

On the new Mazda 3 powered by the MZR 2.0 DISI engine, the i-stop system supports the driver by allowing visual confirmation of engine operation in relation to driving style. There is an i-stop on/off switch on the dashboard, and the driver cluster contains a light that displays “i-stop” when the system shuts down the engine in front traffic lights, for instance. When deactivated, an amber light shows that the i-stop system is not on.

Ensuring reliable operation

The new Mazda 3 i-stop system (only available with the MZR 2.0-litre DISI petrol) is equipped with an auxiliary battery that powers the system in the event that the main battery isn’t properly charged or some similar problem occurs. This added control measure ensures that the driver can use the system naturally, without giving it a second thought. In addition, the system does not shut off the engine if the car is stopped on a road with an extremely steep grade, (greater than 14 percent incline).

Mazda CX-7 2010

Mazda CX-7

Mazda CX-7

The facelift version of Mazda’s popular sports crossover SUV, the Mazda CX-7, features the premiere of its first diesel variant. After a successful launch in North America in 2006, sales were expanded to include Japan and Europe in 2007. Two years later, total sales have surpassed 165,000 units (as of December 2008) and the Mazda CX-7 has won more than 10 global automobile awards.

In developing the facelift CX-7, Mazda focused on delivering a car that is even more representative of the Mazda brand. It has an enhanced balance of styling, dynamics and affordability for even more global appeal, and stays true to Mazda’s ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom’ plan, which aims to harmonize driving pleasure with environmental and safety features.

To address strong demand in Europe for a clean-running diesel with high fuel-efficiency, the Mazda CX-7 SUV facelift has a next-generation MZR-CD 2.2-litre turbo diesel including a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system designed exclusively for the European market. It delivers a generous 400 Nm of torque to the road using Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system and joins the already well-known, high performance 2.3 litre DISI Turbo petrol engine in the line-up. And for the first time ever, Mazda’s sports crossover SUV gets a Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) system and an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) for even more active safety.

// // “I believe the new Mazda CX-7 is ideally positioned to compete around the world as a sustainable crossover SUV that’s a joy to own and to drive,” says Programme Manager Masashi Otsuka. “It moves away from the North American development and marketing focus of the current CX-7 and creates a true global model. Consequently, it was vital to adopt better powertrain technologies – for example a diesel engine – and raise interior and exterior quality in ways that reflect the tastes of customers around the world, thereby giving the facelifted Mazda CX-7 a competitive position in diverse markets.”

Design – Refined for a Clearer Premium Identity

The exterior design of the facelift is based on the athletic styling of the original Mazda CX-7, pushing further the sports crossover SUV design, while incorporating enhancements that more clearly communicate a premium identity and give it a more refined character. The Mazda CX-7 facelift’s new front end, detailing and high build quality on the outside take the original model’s advanced and emotional styling to the next level, while new materials and forms on the inside give the cabin a more premium look and feel.

Exterior Design

The new lower front grille of the CX-7 facelift has a larger five-point design that more clearly communicates the Mazda brand, and harmonizes it with the latest models in the line-up. The grille is framed by a stylish silver look, detailing that expresses a premium identity. It also provides a larger opening area that contributes to superior cooling performance, which is of particular value to the newly-introduce 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine. Other enhancements to the fascia include a new design for the front fog lamp bezels, which creates a strong visual flow and lends a sense of fine craftsmanship.

Silhouette and rear end

On the sides, newly adopted chrome-plated garnish (depending on grade) along the bottom of the doors highlights the vehicle’s sporty silhouette. At the rear, the Mazda CX-7 facelift has a new chrome bar on the tailgate handle, while a new and larger rear roof spoiler (depending on grade) complements the design revisions at rear end.

Colours and wheels

A line-up of seven body colours is available with the Mazda CX-7 facelift (depending on market), all of them chosen to compliment the vehicle’s sporty and strong exterior. These include three new colours: Aluminium Metallic, Stormy Blue Mica and Sparkling Black Mica. Mazda has carried forward the two original model’s popular black and sand beige interior colour packages. The facelifted Mazda CX-7 features newly designed 18-inch aluminium wheels and, for the first time to the line-up, new 19-inch aluminium wheels (both depending on grade), which further highlight the new Mazda CX-7’s power and refinement.

Interior Design – Quality Detailing

The enhanced premium look on the outside is continued on the inside of the vehicle with quality detailing that delivers a sporty yet highly refined cabin. The Mazda CX-7 cockpit has a new steering wheel with a sporty, premium design. Integrated steering wheel switches allow the driver to operate controls without having to look away from the road. A new design for the blackout meters of the metre cluster features newly-introduced blue-ring illumination, white pointers and three-dimensional dials that produce a heightened sense of quality.

Dashboard and centre panel updates

The vehicle’s unique double-roof instrument panel is modified as well. The upper roof is no longer straight but has a gently undulating shape. This was adopted so designers could install the new Multi Information Display (MID) positioned in the centre and to the right of the driver for easy reading. Piano black or metallic edges are added to the centre panel to convey a sense of refinement.

Materials and trim

The Mazda CX-7 facelift interior was developed with new materials placed at various locations around the cabin to give an even more premium look and feel. The rings on the side air conditioner vents are specially plated with anti-glare chrome. New front and rear door armrests are introduced as well, which incorporate soft pads for enhanced quality feel and more comfort than before. The armrest lid of the centre console is made of thick, high-resilience urethane, which has a texture combining softness and firmness for durability and comfort. With high grades, it also has a newly added soft pad.

Equipment – Advanced Functionality

Advanced equipment is introduced to the Mazda CX-7 facelift that provides even more functionality to the driver and passengers, and makes Mazda’s sports crossover SUV easy and fun to use on a daily basis. Like Mazda’s new-generation Mazda6 and Mazda3, the updated Mazda CX-7 has a new human-machine interface (HMI) that encompasses advanced driver functionality and contributes to greater driving confidence, mainly due to its Multi Information Display.

New Multi Information Display (MID) – optimised driver information

To provide the driver with necessary information in an optimal way, a new Multi Information Display (MID) is introduced with enhanced capabilities, and positioned at the top of the centre console under the shadow of the top roof of the dashboard to be easily read. It shows current driving information like fuel consumption, maintenance indicators, rear view camera and navigation – a separate display showing audio and climate-control information, and a warning lamp area below this with a seatbelt warning and airbag cut-off indicator. There are two types of liquid crystal displays (LCD) available for the MID: a high-brightness, high-resolution 4.1-inch colour type, and a 3.5-inch monochrome dot matrix type. These are the same types as available for the all-new Mazda3.

Rear view camera and new compact navigation system with high resolution display

Some versions of the CX-7 are equipped with a rear camera that makes backing up easier. The camera’s pictures are shown on the 4.1 inch colour TFT display being standard on those vehicles a compact navigation system (depending on grade) is also newly introduced to the Mazda CX-7 facelift that displays a map on the colour TFT display located in the MID as described above. It is operated by switches on the steering wheel and, combined with the high legibility of the display, makes operation and visual confirmation of readouts safe and easy while driving. The development team also focused on upgrading the basic functions and adopted a map database system stored on a compact SD card for more practicality.

New Bluetooth®-compatible audio player system

Mazda’s facelifted sports crossover SUV also has Bluetooth® wireless connection technology for mobile phones for the first time (depending on grade), which may be operated hands-free while driving. The system is more than that, however. It also provides a wireless connection between Bluetooth® -compatible portable audio players and the Mazda CX-7 audio system. Music playback from the audio player can be controlled by switches located on the audio panel or the steering wheel while driving. Additionally there’s an AUX jack located at the front of the centre console so that music on non-Bluetooth® -compatible portable audio players may also be enjoyed using the vehicle’s factory-fitted audio system.

New driver seat memory function and power-adjustable passenger seat

The driver seat of the Mazda CX-7 facelift is designed to provide the optimum driving position for all types of people, and is now power-adjustable with a three-position memory function (depending on grade). The passenger seat on high grade models is power adjustable now.

Powertrains – New Clean-Running 2.2-litre Turbo Diesel

In response to growing environmental concerns and increasingly stringent emission regulations in Europe, the CX-7 facelift engine line-up delivers a newly evolved combination of sporty, refined driving performance, with superb fuel efficiency and environmental performance. For the first time, a new, powerful and low-emission 2.2-litre common-rail diesel engine, developed especially for Europe joins the 2.3-litre DISI turbo petrol.

New MZR-CD 2.2 diesel – high torque with 7.5 litre/100 km (combined) fuel consumption

The next-generation MZR-CD 2.2-litre inline four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo diesel joins the line-up of the facelifted Mazda CX-7. It delivers generous maximum torque of 400 Nm at a low 2,000 rpm and maximum output of 127 kW/173 PS at 3,500 rpm.

The engine’s 2.2-litre displacement, combined with turbocharger and common-rail direct injection with a high injection pressure of 200 MPa, realizes high power and torque with low emissions. Newly optimized intercooler efficiency further promotes strong and linear performance.

Cost-saving 2.2 litre DOHC turbocharged common-rail diesel

To keep customers costs low when driving, the DOHC-valve system is chain driven which allows a maintenance-free operation.

Balancer shaft and lower block for less engine noise

A front-chain-drive cassette-type balancer significantly reduces NVH. Employing this balancer improves booming noise, and produces a linear relationship between the accelerator pedal position and the engine sound, contributing to the fun-to-drive feeling.

Advanced diesel particulate filter from Mazda

Together with the 2.2 litre DOHC turbocharged common-rail diesel, a newly-developed diesel particulate filter made of a ceramic material with high thermal resistance – including Mazda’s independently developed catalyst – is introduced. In addition to oxygen in the exhaust gases, this catalyst uses oxygen stored in the base material, to improve the combustion of soot emissions. This optimises the time needed for the generation of the filter (shortened by 1/3) and realises excellent emissions, without sacrificing performance for driving fun.

With the new turbo diesel under the bonnet, the Mazda CX-7 facelift sprints from 0-100 km/h in 11.3 seconds with a top speed of 200 km/h. And new to the CX-7 line-up with the MZR-CD 2.2-litre diesel is a selective catalyst reduction (SCR) system, the first ever on a Mazda vehicle that converts NOx into harmless nitrogen and water using a urea additive.

High performance MZR 2.3 DISI Turbo petrol engine

The Mazda CX-7 facelift engine line-up retains the acclaimed inline four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve 2.3-litre DISI Turbo petrol. It produces high maximum output of 191kW/260 PS at 5,500 rpm and 380 Nm of maximum torque at 3,000 rpm.

Advanced catalyst technology

As in the Mazda 3, CX-7 facelift models with the MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo engine feature Mazda’s exclusive underfloor single-nanocatalyst. It employs single-nanotechnology, which can control even smaller particles than nanotechnology. Due to this advanced technology, the amount of precious metal used in the catalyst has been reduced by approximately 73 percent compared to the current model. The total weight of precious metal per unit has been cut from 0.89 grams to 0.24 grams. This new Mazda technology helps limit the use of rare natural resources and contributes to preserving the environment.

Chassis – Enhanced Handling and Ride Quality

Mazda pioneered the sports crossover SUV sub-segment when it launched the original Mazda CX-7 as a practical but sporty utility vehicle. The facelift model enhances this aspect with a significant increase in body rigidity and suspension updates. Coupled to Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, this delivers even better handling stability and ride comfort for an even more premium driving experience befitting Mazda’s flagship SUV.

Body shell – a 5 percent increase in torsional rigidity

Mazda engineers added body reinforcements to the Mazda CX-7 facelift for a five percent increase in torsional stiffness, which translates into even better handling stability and a higher-quality ride. To minimize the weight increase that resulted from the addition of some of these reinforcements, Mazda used weld bonds, which are relatively light joints where spot welds are supplemented by adhesive between the welded parts. And the increased body rigidity further enhances quietness by softening the tone of road noise before it reaches the cabin.

Suspension – excellent straight-ahead stability and ride comfort

Tuned to suit the power characteristics of each engine, the suspension system of the Mazda CX-7 facelift employs MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link suspension system in the rear. New dampers are introduced with larger oil-flow openings to achieve smoother suspension strokes and improve stability and ride comfort. At the same time, the increased body rigidity helps enable supple suspension movement and greater firmness.

Mazda’s Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system – superior traction

Like the original model, the European version of the Mazda CX-7 facelift comes standard with Mazda’s Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system that helps prevent wheel spin on slippery surfaces and delivers excellent traction on dry surfaces. The vehicle’s system control module distributes torque between the front and rear axles using an electronically-controlled active-torque coupling mounted in front of the rear differential. The system automatically distributes power between the axles (100/0 percent to 50/50 percent front/rear) for just the right amount of torque in every driving situation.

Steering system – Electro-hydraulic power assisted steering standard for 2.2-litre diesel

Electro-hydraulic power assisted steering (EHPAS) in vehicles with the MZR-CD 2.2 engine ensures a precise, positive steering feel by employing hydraulic pressure provided by a pump that is driven by an electric motor. Precise control over the degree of steering assistance in accordance with the speed of the vehicle, and the speed at which the steering wheel is turned, helps to minimize unnecessary fuel consumption, making the 2.2-litre turbo diesel even more frugal. Vehicles with the MZR 2.3 DISI Turbo engine are equipped with hydraulic power assisted steering that is also tuned to deliver optimal steering assist depending on vehicle speed.

Safety – New Rear Vehicle Monitoring and Emergency Stop Signal

The Mazda CX-7 facelift is not only in line with Mazda’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom Strategy for environmental performance, but for safety as well. Two newly introduced elements enhance the active safety package of Mazda’s sports crossover SUV.

Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) system

The Mazda CX-7 receives Mazda’s Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) system for the first time. It has radar sensors in the rear bumper that detect a vehicle approaching from behind when the vehicle is moving at a speed of 60 km/h or faster. The 24 GHz radar sensors have a range of 50 m behind the vehicle and are not affected by bad weather. If a car is detected approaching from the left or right rear lanes or driving in the blind spot next to the vehicle, the system alerts the driver by turning on a warning indicator in the door mirror on the relevant side. If the driver then activates a turn signal, the indicator in the door mirror flashes and a warning buzzer sounds to prevent the driver from changing lanes.

Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)

A new ESS system is introduced with the CX-7 facelift. When the Mazda CX-7 is travelling faster than 50 km/h and the driver brakes sharply, the ESS system automatically flashes the hazard warning lights rapidly to alert following vehicles of the emergency situation.

2010 Mazda Speed3

maz3_geneva09_hi_004With its winning combination of pleasing looks, high-end features, and fun-to-drive dynamics, the present Mazda3 continues to win comparison tests despite being on the market mostly unchanged since 2004. Even so, going on five years is a long time in the car world, and now Mazda is readying its all-new, 2010 Mazda3 to keep the compact fresh. Official photos of the new Mazda3 sedan hit the Web recently, stirring up a lot of excitement, but lacking any specs or additional info many enthusiasts were left wondering — what about a new 2010 MazdaSpeed3?

Wonder no more, because the Hiroshima automaker’s latest road-rocket has been spotted out in the open testing on Germany’s famed Nurburgring, wearing just a minimum of camo. The first new MazdaSpeed model since 2007, this also marks a debut of sorts for the new 3’s hatchback bodywork. More so than the sedan, this hatch resembles the current Mazda3 five-door, particularly in profile, although through all the black tape the car’s new, smiling grille, angular headlights, and prominent wheel arches can be clearly seen, along with a rising beltline and revised side detailing. Of course, as part of the ‘Speed3 treatment this particular Mazda hatch has also been kicked up a notch, including the addition of a body kit, dual-exhaust, rear diffuser, new wheels, a slightly larger rear wing, and a new, bulging hood.

Oh, yeah, about that hood — instead of the current model’s prominent lower air-intake, Mazda has decided to go the route of its Mini and Subaru rivals by adding a seriously large hood scoop, which appears functional and hints at some serious forced induction within. While details are still unknown, word is the new MazdaSpeed3 will offer a larger 2.5L four-cylinder under the hood, and if the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 includes a turbo version of this mill, expect a significant improvement on the present car’s 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. This would give what is already one of the power leaders in the hot-hatch segment even more brawn, and no doubt improve on the current model’s 0-to-60 mph time of 6.0 sec. Still up in the air is if the new MazdaSpeed3 will move from a front drive to AWD, but the smart money is on it staying front drive like its high-end Ford Focus RS cousin.

The new, 2010 Mazda3 sedan will make its public debut at the Los Angeles auto show this November, but whether the MazdaSpeed3 joins it or is held back for a later show — possibly Detroit — remains to be seen. Subaru and Mitsubishi have recently upped their games with a more powerful WRX and new Lancer Ralliart, respectively, but if the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 continues its tradition of offering serious go-fast ability for a relatively low price (2008 models start at just $23,410), Mazda should stay a major player for at least another five years.

2010 Mazda3 Sport GT Review

mazda3Smile! The new 2010 Mazda3 Sport GT says hello! This compact yet dynamic performer now hits the road with a big fat grin. “The increasingly-ferocious competition pushes automakers to develop uniquely-styled visages in order to help their vehicles stand out from the rest”, says Kunihiko Kurisu, Chief Designer of the new Mazda3.

He’s serious. Just look at the Nissan cube’s bulldog nose or Chevrolet’s Transformers-derived Camaro. And what about Kia, which is literally selling its Soul?

Up until recently, manufacturers were all too happy to exploit the retro theme. Now, here they are, undertaking a revolution in automotive anthropomorphism!

This is no joke, folks…

Major cosmetic surgery
Despite such an extensive makeover, the designers of the Mazda3 were able to keep its popular silhouette unchanged. You can easily recognize the lines of the old model, which made quite a splash when it replaced the venerable Protegé in 2003. This racy, almost European look continues to set the beloved Mazda apart from its top rivals, particularly the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Of course, it all starts up front with that broad new smile. Sure, the eccentric styling took many fans by surprise when the first few samples of this new generation rolled off the assembly lines, but they’ve since gotten used to it and, today, they smile back anytime they come across one.

The marketing gurus at Mazda claim that the new design language of the 3 will eventually be applied to the entire product lineup. The new MX-5 and RX-8 have already received the treatment, although the results are not quite as smoothly executed. After all, no design truly is universal.

Familiar powertrains
The Mazda3 family still comes in two specific body styles: a four-door sedan for conservative buyers and a five-door hatchback called Sport that uses a sleek profile to win over young customers.

How Mazda blew it with the 2009 Mazda6

2009-mazda6-side

The manual-equipped four-cylinder Mazda6 impresses most, but then that’s no surprise. I’m one of those jaded auto journos who prefers manuals to automatics.
The snappy six-speed manual is perfectly matched to the 170-hp 2.5L MZR inline-four. The shifter is well positioned and has a nicely weighted feel and crisp action. In terms of lever actuation, it might be the best in the economy group, but I’ll go one step further. I prefer it over BMW’s current crop of latex-sheathed manuals.
I would like a little more clutch effort — but that’s just me being Piloti-wearing punk again. Actual engagement is light and easy, no rough spots or jerkiness (pay attention, Subaru). In fact, the only real misstep, albeit tiny, is the odd tachometer setup. Mazda chose to put seven hash marks between the tach numbers, which means rpms are ticked off in increments of 142.9. Weird. There’s also no redline, other than a bolding of the aforementioned marks after 6000 rpm because all the big numbers on the gauges are already red. Of course, these are all details 99.9 percent of the Mazda6-driving public will miss because only about 3 percent of last-gen Mazda6 buyers checked the manual option. What a shame.
With the CX-9’s 3.7L V-6, the 2009 Mazda6 is now the class leader in displacement, horsepower, and torque. She feels it, too — zipping away from stoplights with tire-chirping glee. I tried inducing torque steer and found it possible only if I cranked the wheel to near lock and floored it.
Kudos and chocolate-covered granola bars to Mazda engineers for also giving the V-6 Mazda6 a proper automatic. I’m not saying the six-speed is all that — since sampling the sensual treats of dual-clutch transmissions, I can’t look at plain-jane automatics the same way — but at least Mazda’s autobox manually shifts as God, inertia, and motorsport intended: forward for downshifts, back for upshifts. This alone puts it worlds apart from the automatics of Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford Fusion — which offer nothing in the way of manual driving fun.
It isn’t perfect, mind you. In manual mode, it won’t always serve up the downshift you demand — its computer logic no doubt choosing transmission and engine longevity over your need for zinging, engine-braked corner entry. But you’ll never be looking for giddyup — particularly if you find yourself zipping around unfamiliar roads. Just pop it into the very tractable third gear and worry about the road ahead.
Though it receives revised dampers, stabilizer bars, and springs to account for a roughly 200-lb increase over the I-4 model, it’s easy to tell that the V-6 Mazda6 is heavier. Sometimes that’s a good thing; it rides smoother and less nervously over broken pavement. Other times, not so good; while bombing down a set of Malibu twisties, I found the brakes going away. They never faded on the four-banger.
Brakes notwithstanding, there is clearly a lot to like about the Mazda6. So what’s the problem then?
The five-speed auto, four-cylinder-equipped Mazda6 I drove last.
You see, last month, Ron Kiino and I spearheaded a little four-cylinder family sedan shootout. And by little I mean we corraled together 10 of the top players in the segment for one massive test. This Mazda6 would’ve fit right in.
In fact, its looks would’ve put it near the top of the heap, what with its bold front-end styling that borrows so heavily from the RX-8 and CX-9.
The slick, upmarket interior also would’ve put it ahead of the button-crazy Accord and soporific Camry, possibly in a dead heat with the sumptuous Sonata and refined Passat.
In terms of output, the Mazda6’s 170-hp, 2.5L four wouldn’t have matched the Passat’s 200 turbocharged horses, but with fuel economy of 22/30 — it would’ve been better than the average of our group of gas-sippers.
In fact, taken as a complete package and given our bias toward fine-driving, high-content vehicles, I think the 2009 Mazda6 might’ve won our little shootout. Oh, well, guess we’ll never know.
Pity Mazda’s biggest mistake with the Mazda6 was not getting it into our hot hands soon enough.

The manual-equipped four-cylinder Mazda6 impresses most, but then that’s no surprise. I’m one of those jaded auto journos who prefers manuals to automatics.

The snappy six-speed manual is perfectly matched to the 170-hp 2.5L MZR inline-four. The shifter is well positioned and has a nicely weighted feel and crisp action. In terms of lever actuation, it might be the best in the economy group, but I’ll go one step further. I prefer it over BMW’s current crop of latex-sheathed manuals.

I would like a little more clutch effort — but that’s just me being Piloti-wearing punk again. Actual engagement is light and easy, no rough spots or jerkiness (pay attention, Subaru). In fact, the only real misstep, albeit tiny, is the odd tachometer setup. Mazda chose to put seven hash marks between the tach numbers, which means rpms are ticked off in increments of 142.9. Weird. There’s also no redline, other than a bolding of the aforementioned marks after 6000 rpm because all the big numbers on the gauges are already red. Of course, these are all details 99.9 percent of the Mazda6-driving public will miss because only about 3 percent of last-gen Mazda6 buyers checked the manual option. What a shame.

With the CX-9’s 3.7L V-6, the 2009 Mazda6 is now the class leader in displacement, horsepower, and torque. She feels it, too — zipping away from stoplights with tire-chirping glee. I tried inducing torque steer and found it possible only if I cranked the wheel to near lock and floored it.

Kudos and chocolate-covered granola bars to Mazda engineers for also giving the V-6 Mazda6 a proper automatic. I’m not saying the six-speed is all that — since sampling the sensual treats of dual-clutch transmissions, I can’t look at plain-jane automatics the same way — but at least Mazda’s autobox manually shifts as God, inertia, and motorsport intended: forward for downshifts, back for upshifts. This alone puts it worlds apart from the automatics of Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford Fusion — which offer nothing in the way of manual driving fun.

It isn’t perfect, mind you. In manual mode, it won’t always serve up the downshift you demand — its computer logic no doubt choosing transmission and engine longevity over your need for zinging, engine-braked corner entry. But you’ll never be looking for giddyup — particularly if you find yourself zipping around unfamiliar roads. Just pop it into the very tractable third gear and worry about the road ahead.

Though it receives revised dampers, stabilizer bars, and springs to account for a roughly 200-lb increase over the I-4 model, it’s easy to tell that the V-6 Mazda6 is heavier. Sometimes that’s a good thing; it rides smoother and less nervously over broken pavement. Other times, not so good; while bombing down a set of Malibu twisties, I found the brakes going away. They never faded on the four-banger.

Brakes notwithstanding, there is clearly a lot to like about the Mazda6. So what’s the problem then?

The five-speed auto, four-cylinder-equipped Mazda6 I drove last.

You see, last month, Ron Kiino and I spearheaded a little four-cylinder family sedan shootout. And by little I mean we corraled together 10 of the top players in the segment for one massive test. This Mazda6 would’ve fit right in.

In fact, its looks would’ve put it near the top of the heap, what with its bold front-end styling that borrows so heavily from the RX-8 and CX-9.

The slick, upmarket interior also would’ve put it ahead of the button-crazy Accord and soporific Camry, possibly in a dead heat with the sumptuous Sonata and refined Passat.

In terms of output, the Mazda6’s 170-hp, 2.5L four wouldn’t have matched the Passat’s 200 turbocharged horses, but with fuel economy of 22/30 — it would’ve been better than the average of our group of gas-sippers.

In fact, taken as a complete package and given our bias toward fine-driving, high-content vehicles, I think the 2009 Mazda6 might’ve won our little shootout. Oh, well, guess we’ll never know.

Pity Mazda’s biggest mistake with the Mazda6 was not getting it into our hot hands soon enough.