2016 Mazda MX-5
For as long as we’ve been testing cars, we’ve yet to come across one that brings as much pure driving joy for the dollar spent as the Mazda Miata roadster. And even though it’s now officially the MX-5, and more and more sophistication has crept into the design over three generations, the all-new 4th gen, 2016 MX-5 keeps the good times rollin’.
It’s hard not to have a good time behind the wheel of the 2016 Mazda MX-5. As while this 4th iteration roadster may no longer look as far back, or be as basic, the pure sports car spirit of the original 1990 Miata is fully intact.
Like most recent Mazda’s, a significant effort is made to take the weight out, despite adding in more creature comforts. Weight is down 150-lbs. to 2,332.
And as before, there’s just enough go from the engine to make things fun, though now it’s the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter I4 at 155-horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, and it feels just as good as we remember. A 6-speed auto is available as well, but please only if you must.
At our test track, the MX-5 hops off the line better than ever. And while it’s easy to pine for more power, we’re actually quite happy with the engine’s output. It took 6.8–seconds to reach 60 on a slick track, and 15.4 to complete the ¼ at 89 miles-per-hour.
When it comes to cone work, the first thing you notice is the new electric power steering. Turn in is still razor sharp and precise, there’s just a very light feel to it now, maybe too light. The car itself however, feels far more solid overall. Still, it’s just as entertaining as ever tossing it around with playful amounts of oversteer.
The suspension remains double-wishbone front and multilink rear, but this time around, Club trim includes the sport suspension with Bilstein dampers and a shock tower brace; as well as a limited slip rear.
Averaging 60 MPH stopping distance of just 111–feet means the braking is done with the same no-nonsense efficiency as the rest of the car.
The leaner, meaner MX-5 has a much more modern look of course. It also sits lower, and is a hair wider.
The face is still friendly, but the rest of the car is a little edgier, almost BMW-like, with its Euro-esque sculpted rear. Both head and tail lights are full LEDs with LED DRLs of course.
Club trim adds a sharper-looking front air dam and black side mirrors; while the Brembo/BBS package really spices things up with painted calipers, side sill extensions, rear bumper skirt, and of course 17-inch forged BBS wheels.
True to tradition, a manual soft top is standard, folding and latching easily right from the driver’s seat. No word yet on whether an optional hardtop will return.
Inside, available features abound, fully displayed here in Club trim, like a dash top 7-inch screen. Touch controls are limited to when you’re sitting still. This Commander Controller is use when moving. Push button start is standard. But the remainder of the interior, from round air vents to big analog gauges is as clean and simple as ever.
Most importantly, the shifter falls readily to hand as always, and we quickly felt right at home. More comfortable seats with extra adjustments are always welcome, and they still hold you tight as well.
As for complaints, we understand the need of the Commander Controller, but its console placement is too far back for easy use, and we could use a little more girth to the steering wheel.
Mazda says that the MX-5’s trunk is smaller, but we actually found it more useful than before.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the manual are 27-City, 34-Highway, and 30-Combined. Even better are the numbers for the automatic at 27-City, 36-Highway, and 30-Combined. And they both share a great Energy Impact Score of 11.0-barrels of oil used and 4.9-tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Prices have increased, now starting at $25,735 for Sport trim; this Club, at $29,420, and top shelf Grand Touring at $30,885. Still, no one else offers this much roadster fun for the dollar.
So, back to where we started. Even with all the improvements, Mazda has not compromised that great Miata persona. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 does indeed deliver a lot more than just sports car basics, but those basics are still what this little roadster gets exactly right.
- Engine: 2.0 liter I4
- Horsepower: 155
- Torque: 148 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 89 mph
- EPA: 27 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 11.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 4.9 tons/yr
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph