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Holy Moly! It’s the New Mazda MX-5!

Holy Moly! It’s the New Mazda MX-5!

003-2016-mazda-mx5-miata-1“This is the best cheap sportscar around.” If ever there was such a thing as automotive cliches, this would be the biggest and fattest cliche around. Mention the name MX-5 ,(or Miata, if you’re American. I’m not, so I’m sticking to its European name) and everyone knows. You may not get gasps of excitement, or be considered an automotive god, but you get the respect of every petrol head in the room. It is a car with a massive cult following. Some appreciate it, some would love to own one, others live and breathe them.

Mazda knows this, and each and every iteration of the MX-5 since the original has had an incremental design change and mechanical tweaks, to make the newer version better than the model that went before it, whilst at the same time maintaining the character of the original.



So what is new here? Well, first is the design. It is following Mazda’s current design language, known simply as KODO. What is KODO? Well, according to the Mazda website,  it is “the muscular beauty one sees when an animal pounces”. Quite.

Basically, for us normal folk who don’t have a degree in Japanese art, their designs are meant to be more muscular and more aggressive looking than previous Mazdas. Their cars also have this new signature grille, which was first revealed on the Mazda6 in 2012, which further adds to the aggressive aesthetic.

On the MX-5, Mazda’s designers have mixed the principles from the KODO design language with the raw simplicity of the original MX-5 to produce a car which, to my eyes at least, is quite the looker. It is 10mm wider than the car it replace  but is 105mm shorter than before too. It has also shed 100 kg off the previous model’s weight.


Engines will either be a 1.5 l producing 140bhp or a 2.0 producing 180bhp. Not a massive amount of power, but remember it is very light, and it has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution. I think I would still go for the 2.0 l though, because you know, POWER.

Inside, things have taken a monumental leap forward. The previous generation car had an interior reminiscent of a Casio calculator. This one is more minimalist, and with the right colour leather, classier. All the buttons have been removed and in their place is a large screen controlled with a rotary knob near the handbrake. Behind the rather lovely steering wheel are 3 conventional dials, which are clear and easy to read.


Looking for a fun little roadster? Look no further.



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The New Audi TT; Is It New?

The New Audi TT; Is It New?

Audi tt front

One of the highlights of the Geneva Motor Show was, or was meant to be, the 2014 Audi TT, the third generation of this iconic sportscar.  I say meant to be, because while many were expecting another triumph of design as the A5, the R8, the original TT and the A7 were, this new TT is just, on the exterior at least, just generic Audi parts bin.

The exterior design is not a special, or an especially good-looking thing. It has got some fiddly-looking LED lights, the now standard Audi trapezoidal grille, an overall face that is rather forgetful.You might even mistake it for the original from some angles. The profile view of the car is that distinctive shape we have come to associate with the TT, and the rear looks like a freshened up version of the original TT’s rear end. I am also inclined to say that the tail lights remind me very much of the Peugeot 407 Coupe.

While the exterior is a bit of the let down, the interior is a different story entirely. Audi are making strides in the interior department, and the new TT is the greatest stride they have made so far. First up, there is no central infotainment screen. There is very little in the way of buttons. As soon as you step inside, you are greeted with a sporty-looking steering wheel, behind which there is a large screen  behind the steering wheel which we will come to later, three air vents, with a digital read-out of the air-conditioning temperature in the middle of the air vents, a few toggle switches below the vents, and that’s about it.

Audi TT CoupThe beautiful thing about this car is that there is no central screen on the dashboard. Instead, there is a massive TFT screen behind the steering wheel including information like your speed, revs, fuel level and so on, but also incorporates the navigation and infotainment screens, all controlled via the rotary dial found on the central armrest. This, in theory at least, keeps the driver looking forward. Whether or not this will prove to be more of a distraction on the road remains to be seen, however in principle, this sounds like a grand idea.

Apart from this new take on interior design, the rest of the cabin is beautifully appointed. Leather is of top quality, with gorgeous quilted stitching, and the entire cabin is dotted with intricate aluminium inserts, making the overall appearance very elegant indeed. Yet, at the same time, it is a successful mix of sporty and elegant.

Now how about the internals? The new car is 50 kg lighter than before, despite having a longer wheelbase. From launch, there will be a choice of three four-cylinder petrol engines, producing between 227 and 306 bhp. The more powerful version will be the TTS version and claims a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed pegged at 155 mph. There will also be a 181 bhp 2.0 litre diesel engine, if you are into that sort of thing. Gearboxes will be either the 6-speed manual or Audi’s 6-speed dual clutch.


While the exterior is not as dramatic as an RCZ, the interior puts every one of its rivals about five years behind. The engine choices also sound very promising, especially with Audi’s dual clutch gearbox. Judging by the specs of this new car, the nickname “hairdresser’s car” will no longer apply to this Audi.