There’s a new Mazda MX-5, known more colloquially as the “Miata,” on the block. The latest generation of the beloved roadster is set to arrive in late 2015.
A quarter-century after its introduction, the frisky little drop-top has been steadily improved. It’s gotten bigger and faster. But how much faster?
Mazda decided to find out, heading to race track in Spain and pitting a first-generation MX-5 against the latest model and filming the excitement. A pair of endurance racers were recruited: Jade Paveley to pilot the 1990 Miata; and Owen Mildenhall to helm the new MX-5.
The earliest Miata managed only 116 horsepower. With a larger engine, the new MX-5 cranks out 155. At a race track in Spain, Mazda’s thinking was that such a power differential translates into 4 seconds, so that’s how much of a head start Paveley got.
Would she be able to hold her lead?
Jade Paveley gets the older, slower Miata -- but a 4-second head start. Will she be able to drive the little roadster well enough to maintain her lead?
Owen Mildenhall got behind the wheel of the much-improved MX-5. But will better handling, better suspension, and more horsepower be enough? Driving skill can still win races, and Paveley has a head start!
Paveley will put the pedal down for a full 4 seconds before her competition can get off the start line.
But finally away -- and picking up speed fast. The graphic in the upper-right-hand corner shows how far apart the two cars are on the track.
The 2015 MX-5 is a much better race car. Years of racing have led Mazda to make numerous improvements. By all rights, the new MX-5 should catch up.
But this very well-preserved example of the first-gen car is no slouch. And with a good driver at the controls, it can be a lot quicker than its limited power would indicate.
Notice a big difference between the original model and the new car: the pop-up headlights went away over a decade ago.
And Jade can't hold off the pass at the finish. Mildenhall has the extra horsepower and he uses it at just the right moment.
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