The Mazda Miata (also known as the Mazda MX-5 in Europe, and Eunos Roadster in Japan) is a small, convertible 2-seater sports car made by Mazda of Japan. The Miata's design was inspired by the Lotus Elan, a 1960's roadster that was one of the best handling sports cars in its day. The Miata was intended as a return to the basics of sports car design.

After decades of cars that were heavier, more powerful, and more technological, the Miata was a deliberate step back. Items such as turbochargers, electronic controls, power accessories and aerodynamic wings were deliberately left out. The idea was to let the driving experience speak for itself.

The Miata consists of a 1.6 or 1.8 liter engine coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission (automatic transmissions are available too, though rare). 6-speed transmissions are available with some special editions. This driveline sends power through the rear wheels, and is mounted in a conventional, but very light, unibody shell. Miatas also incorporate a unique trusswork which connects the engine to the rear axle, minimizing flex and creating a tight, responsive feel.

With a perfect 50:50 balance (which is achieved with an average weight driver and a 2/3 full gas tank), the car has a very neutral handling, which makes it easy to drive for the beginner, and fun for the advanced driver. Inducing oversteer is not hard and well controllable.

Production on the Miata began in 1989, and has been one of the most successful sports cars ever produced. In fact, on February 13, 2002, the Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster was named the world's best-selling sports car by the Guinness Book of Records. More than 600,000 of the popular sports car have been produced since it was introduced in 1989. Quite a bit of this success can be tributed to the fact that one doesn't need a race track to enjoy the Miata, but that it offers fun for almost everyone, everyday.

Generation 2

In 1997, Mazda released an updated design to the Miata. This model is known as NB (referring to the model number printed on the model plate) or Mark 2 (The First MX-5 is known as NA or Mark 1). It featured a more powerful engine and borrowed styling cues from the aggressive RX-7. The most notable changes are the headlights: The first model's retractable headlights have been exchanged for fixed ones.

Generation 2.5

In 2001, a facelift to the NB, the NBFL was released. There were some minor design changes, the design got a bit more edgy, and some cockpit elements were changed, as were the seats. The 1.8 liter engine was slightly modified and now featured variable valve timing, which according to Mazda's specifications increased power by 6 HP. The 6-speed transmission has become standard for the top NBFL model, as well as 16" rims and larger brakes.

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