Most of our time here on the Integrity Exports blog is spent covering the most recent developments from the big three Japanese automakers – Toyota, Nissan and Honda. We might get a story or two per week about Subaru, Suzuki, Mitsubishi or Mazda (and Daihatsu once in a blue moon), but there simply aren’t that many interesting news-breaks to write about. So, you can imagine our exhilaration when we heard about not one, but TWO very important developments this week for our favorite Japanese underdog, Mazda.
Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept Coming to Tokyo
First and foremost, Mazda has confirmed the reveal of a brand new concept at next month’s 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. It will be the Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept, CNG standing for Compressed Natural Gas.
Apparently, Mazda is aware of a rising consumer desire for compressed natural gas vehicles, especially in European markets. Just a few weeks ago they showed us a hybrid version of the all new Mazda3 for Japan-only, and this CNG version is the next in line for low-emissions driving… The dual-fuel gas and CNG powertrain will allow for a 20% reduction in emissions compared to the regular gas-powered Mazda3.
Fortunately for the tight-pocketed Japanese marque, their regular Skyactiv-G gas engine only requires minor adjustments to handle the high compression ratio needed to utilize CNG fuel — and the Skyactiv engines run at high compression ratios anyway. This means that there shouldn’t be too much price increase from either the manufacturer’s or the customer’s standpoint. However, while we know that the Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept will definitely be show-ready by the end of November, we don’t know when it’ll make the leap to production, or where it’ll be sold.
Mazda MX-5 GT Jota Officially Unveiled
While we’re waiting for the next-gen Miata / MX-5 coming in 2014, Mazda has officially unveiled a production version of the Mazda MX-5 GT Concept they showed off at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car was so well-received at the festival that Mazda decided to take things to the next level – they hired Le Mans race team, Jota Sport, to take over the roadster’s development and testing. One year later, we have an upgraded Miata available with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine capable of 203bhp, which is almost 50bhp more than the 2.0L in the normal MX-5.
In addition to the more powerful engine, the GT upgrade will showcase a new top, new carbon fiber diffusers, a sports exhaust, and alloy wheels, all on top of a completely re-tuned suspension and several aesthetic changes.
Unfortunately, the augmented MX-5 GT would be too powerful for normal road use, so Jota Sport is offering the GT as a kit add-on. According to Auto Express, the kit costs about £11,500 (~$18,500) more than the base MX-5 price of £18,495 (~$30,000), which isn’t exactly economical. But! It comes with a three year warranty. We have no idea if the kit will be available anywhere outside Europe.
We’re not complaining though… This new kit allows the MX-5 to go from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds, which is an incredible 1.5 seconds under the standard Miata. Together with the aesthetic improvements, it should satisfy any desperate roadster enthusiasts until late next year when the next-gen Mazda MX-5, which is being co-developed with Alfa Romeo, will be revealed. But is it really worth the money when there are similar cars like Litchfield’s Subaru BRZ upgrade that packs a bigger punch and is a more rounded package?