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alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 6:41 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

On the flip side, someone should price adjust a S2000 for today- as it will show the delta of using a mass produced engine vs a custom engine.  Which matters a lot in the market.

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/8/18 8:38 a.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

On the flip side, someone should price adjust a S2000 for today- as it will show the delta of using a mass produced engine vs a custom engine.  Which matters a lot in the market.

I seem to remember the s2000 being about $40k MSRP (very similar to the pilot), which even without 15-20 years of inflation is more than the Miata.

Snrub
Snrub Reader
3/8/18 9:24 a.m.

Regarding ignition retarding on the Fiat 1.4, check out page 65 of this AAA study.  It retards the ignition way more than the other vehicles in the study, regardless of the fuel used.  http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Premium-Fuel-Phase-II-Research-Report-FINAL-2.pdf

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 9:30 a.m.
Robbie said:
alfadriver said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

On the flip side, someone should price adjust a S2000 for today- as it will show the delta of using a mass produced engine vs a custom engine.  Which matters a lot in the market.

I seem to remember the s2000 being about $40k MSRP (very similar to the pilot), which even without 15-20 years of inflation is more than the Miata.

Car and Driver's archived test says MSRP was $35,705 when it was reviewed in August 1999. That's $52,962 today. The S2000 was always  aimed at a different market. Pricing was closer to the Boxster ($41,430 MSRP in 2000) and Corvette ($38,705) than the Mazda ($20,525).

Running the Porsche, Corvette and Miata numbers through the CPI calculator shows that the 2018 version of the Boxster is $4000 less expensive, the Corvette $2000 less and the Miata is $5000 less expensive than it was in 2000. That's about 15% less - and the 2000 Miata was basically a decade-old platform at the time.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 9:39 a.m.
Snrub said:

Regarding ignition retarding on the Fiat 1.4, check out page 65 of this AAA study.  It retards the ignition way more than the other vehicles in the study, regardless of the fuel used.  http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Premium-Fuel-Phase-II-Research-Report-FINAL-2.pdf

Page 65 of the linked report is a Mustang.

But only looking at the spark advance does not tell the whole story.  Lots of factors go into that, so you need far more data than just the spark advance where Fiat runs it at,  It needs to be compared to MBT spark and/or have cylinder pressure results, like CA50 or burn rate, to tell you if the spark is poorly timed or not.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
3/8/18 9:58 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
 

That's because Mazda has done the math. Even if the 2.5T fit - it won't - it would require the entire drivetrain to get heavier. Since the entire goal of the ND was lightness lightness lightness, that's the wrong direction. They built the car that sports car enthusiasts claim to want, a true modern Elan.

Of course, if you don't like it, you can always stop by your Pontiac or Saturn dealership and pick up a Skystice. Or the latest S2000 from Honda. Oh, wait. Maybe Mazda isn't so obtuse after all...

 

That's a bit simplistic - to imply that any sports car no longer in production was a failure compared to the Miata while the latter is still being produced.  The sports car market segment is a tough one and many have failed - in terms of not making much money at it. 

The Solstice died a sudden death because GM screwed the pooch and was required to discontinue several brands to survive, The normal model cycle would have gone for another year or two before it was planned to be discontinued, possibly replaced with something else in that niche.

The S2000, brilliant engine and better styling than just about any Japanese sports car since the 240Z (though I'd agree that the current MX5 version is way better than the previous ones). Possibly no longer profitable at the end and higher spec and cost than the Miata.

I wasn't suggesting that the Miata needed to convert to a new higher power driveline, just that adding a higher powered option would attract some people that wouldn't normally be buyers. That worked for the Kappas - people that wouldn't be that interested in a naturally aspirated 170 bhp car were drawn in by the turbo version. Miatas abortive turbo was not a big enough step - something that added 50-60 bhp would have been nice - like a Flyin' Miata turbo kit, in fact!  And it needn't have been the 2.5 engine - unless the 2.0 was unable to be tuned to the level of the LNF which came in up to 290 bhp with factory fittings - I don't know the answer to that one.

I assume that Mazda concluded that the market segment for an uprated car wasn't large enough to warrant the development cost - which might have been considerable.  You'd have a much better idea on that than I would - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 10:27 a.m.

I do suspect that the S2000 was not a profitable car for Honda. I'm also amazed that a company the size of Mazda puts the engineering dollars into the Miata - AFAIK, it's the only RWD and the only longitudinal engine in their whole lineup - but when you realize it's their halo car, it makes some sense.

The 2004-05 Mazdaspeed turbo was a last minute attempt at polishing up an old platform before it was retired. Mazda put a surprising amount of money into it with a lot of unique parts - the deeper you get into one, the more you realize was changed. But OEs (the non-Italian ones, anyhow) have a very different approach to modification than you or I. For example, that 178 hp (150 rwhp) MSM had upgraded halfshafts with different CV joints and larger splines. A spline size taken from the S2000 which shares the same basic rear, by the way. Miatas don't break halfshafts at 250 rwhp, but Mazda determined that they needed it to meet their in-house reliability targets. Had they added 50-60 hp, it's quite likely the entire drivetrain would have been custom right down to the rods, and that simply wasn't going to happen.

Go back a little further and you understand why: the Mazdaspeed Protege. Engineered by Callaway, it was a disaster in a bunch of different ways. Before that car was launched, Mazda was talking to the aftermarket about the MSM but they decided that all future performance R&D would be in-house once the MSP cratered.

A turbo 2.0 ND doesn't make a lot of sense as it would be a unique engine in the company. Who knows, maybe they're working on it for the CX-5 as there's definitely packaging room. But I suspect the Miata will always have less power than the market thinks it should have, and it will continue to survive despite that because Mazda has it pretty well figured out after a quarter century. The last thing I want to see is the second coming of the RX-7 - the popular FB, the heavier FC and the super-sexy, high performance, fragile and expensive FD that killed the line.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
3/8/18 10:58 a.m.

Yeah, the FD was sure attractive. But you are right, it was like the Mitsubishi 300GT VR4 where they ate a bunch of warranty money (in the latter case due to over complication).  I was mightily tempted by an FD once, but came to my senses in time.

No question that the Miata formula has worked and longer than just about any other manufacturer (although they won't beat Morgan any time soon and Corvette is right in there for longest produced sports car).  Those two have changed engines, though; don't know whether the Miata counts as one continuous unchenged model or not.

The Mazda 3 my wife owns is a much nicer driving car than either the Ford or Volvo versions using that platform!

PS - I've always had a soft spot for a Mazda Cosmo, too - but expensive and very hard t find now!

Snrub
Snrub Reader
3/8/18 11:10 a.m.

In some ways the Miata was a spiritual successor to the FB RX-7 in terms of focus on value.  That said the FC RX-7 in S4 n/a base form was 2600lbs, not exactly heavy, but they moved the car up a bit in terms of cost.  It was a better car in every way.   Mazda has always reused run of the mill engines from volume models to keep costs down on the Miata.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 11:30 a.m.

The Miata has been through three distinct generations by this point with three distinct engines, it actually mirrors the RX-7 fairly closely. The NC was bigger, heavier, more luxurious and a better car than the NA/NB (like the FC), and the ND is the sporty Lotus that enthusiasts want - but without the power bump that the FD RX-7 got.

The base engine on the Miata has always been a staple of the line, but they've all been tuned a little differently than the econobox versions to make them more sportycar.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/8/18 11:57 a.m.
NickD said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

One thing I will give the Fiat engine credit for is, good lord, does it sound amazing.

Only when  uncorked---- like in the Fiat 500 Abarth.  The 124 Abarth I had for a week last Summer didn't sound like anything.  Getting the sport exhaust is an absolute must----as it really does sound great, but with the stock exhuast it's nothing to write home about. 

The ND Miata is  a much quicker car than it appears on paper.  Honestly, 181hp would be nice, but it doesn't really need it.   It's a damn near perfect package as it sits.   I much preferred the Mazda engine to the Fiat---- I think the Miata looks better too, but if this board has taught me anything it's that what is ugly to one person, is awesome to the next.   The Fiat does feel more "special" and upscale though--- it also has it's charms,  but as noted, the engine feels flat off boost, while the Mazda feels flexible and zingy.   

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 12:06 p.m.

Curiosity here, Joe - what makes the Fiat feel more upscale? It's the same interior other than the available Recaros and a different font on the gauges/screen. They did do a better version of the steering in 2017, but Mazda's fixed that (you may not have driven the new steering programming). You do get  a different view over the hood - if you haven't experienced it, they do look surprisingly different. There's an optical illusion that makes the Fiat hood look very long and wide.

This isn't a "how can you not tell the difference???" post, but trying to identify what can be done to make the Miata interior feel more premium without any real changes. Call it market research.

RossD
RossD MegaDork
3/8/18 12:19 p.m.

I might have to turn in my GRM/Miata card, but the current ND 2.0 liter has nothing to do with the older MZR/Duratec engines, correct?

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
3/8/18 1:09 p.m.
Snrub said:

Regarding ignition retarding on the Fiat 1.4, check out page 65 of this AAA study.  It retards the ignition way more than the other vehicles in the study, regardless of the fuel used.  http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Premium-Fuel-Phase-II-Research-Report-FINAL-2.pdf

Good engine design requires less ignition advance for best torque.

 

Chevy LS motors generally only need 20-25 degrees of timing for example.  Fast burn is efficient burn, you need to do less negative work.  Or is that "retarded" because an old bathtub chamber big block needed 40+ degrees for best torque?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/8/18 2:04 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Curiosity here, Joe - what makes the Fiat feel more upscale? It's the same interior other than the available Recaros and a different font on the gauges/screen. They did do a better version of the steering in 2017, but Mazda's fixed that (you may not have driven the new steering programming). You do get  a different view over the hood - if you haven't experienced it, they do look surprisingly different. There's an optical illusion that makes the Fiat hood look very long and wide.

This isn't a "how can you not tell the difference???" post, but trying to identify what can be done to make the Miata interior feel more premium without any real changes. Call it market research.

Keith, the 124 Abarth I drove just felt more "special".   The seats had spiffy red inserts, the gauge were red, with different script (very eyetalian),  The 124 Abarth felt more relaxed and less immediate than the ND's I've driven.  Also, park them side by side, and no one will even see the Miata.  I actually like the Miata's styling better than the "retro 124" look of the Fiat, but I"m clearly in the minority when it comes to this.

 I parked the Abarth at our booth at Road America for the big HAWK event, and it was a huge hit----- especially with middle age women.  Ladies from 40-65 just fell in love with the Fiat---- wanted to get inside, learn more about it, etc.  Also,when driving around, heads swivel to look at the Fiat--- -while the MX-5 goes ignored.  Same deal at gas stations---- everyone wants to ask questions, and talk about the Fiat.  The Miata may as well be a Civic when it comes to the attention of others.  (this has upsides and downsides)   I  would agree that the Fiat looks more macho, and mean, while the MX-5 has a more feminine / curvaceous look to it. 

Also, nearly everyone thought the Fiat cost more than it did.  It's really more of a Z4 / Merc SLK competitor than it is to a Miata---- at least with that crowd.  

After a week, and hundreds of miles of driving, I really got to like the 124 Abarth.  It's distinctive, more rare, and although the turbo motor is laggy at low rpm, it has a nice power band.  Once you get used to the power delivery, it's a fun little machine.  Oh.... and it has SCORPION logos all around.   Just in case you need to rock it out like a hurricane!  

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 2:32 p.m.

So it's more macho but it appeals to middle aged ladies and is a softer drive winkInteresting, thanks Joe. Have you spent any time driving around in an RF?

Snrub
Snrub Reader
3/8/18 2:55 p.m.
Knurled. said:

Good engine design requires less ignition advance for best torque.

 

Chevy LS motors generally only need 20-25 degrees of timing for example.  Fast burn is efficient burn, you need to do less negative work.  Or is that "retarded" because an old bathtub chamber big block needed 40+ degrees for best torque?

I meant that the Fiat 1.4L engine in the Renegade was advanced 30 degrees when tested on a 0 degree grade at 65mph and had -6 degrees of timing when exposed to a 6 degree grade @ 65mph.  The LS in the Escalade had ~+7 degrees at 0 grade and +18 degrees at 6 degree grade.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 3:00 p.m.
Snrub said:
Knurled. said:

Good engine design requires less ignition advance for best torque.

 

Chevy LS motors generally only need 20-25 degrees of timing for example.  Fast burn is efficient burn, you need to do less negative work.  Or is that "retarded" because an old bathtub chamber big block needed 40+ degrees for best torque?

I meant that the Fiat 1.4L engine in the Renegade was advanced 30 degrees when tested on a 0 degree grade at 65mph and had -6 degrees of timing when exposed to a 6 degree grade @ 65mph.  The LS in the Escalade had ~+7 degrees at 0 grade and +18 degrees at 6 degree grade.

You really can't compare engines that are so different from each other like that.  Nor do you have data why the two sets of calibrators did it that way.  Especially without also noting the engine speed and load data that goes with that observation.  Vehicle speed isn't a way to compare two different engines.

It's possible that the Fiat engine is incredibly knock limited, or there's some issue with low speed/high load auto ignition.  But, AGAIN, without relative data on the Fiat (like MBT or burn data), it's hard to pin down exactly what they are doing.  Could be many of the factors put together.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/8/18 3:12 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

So it's more macho but it appeals to middle aged ladies and is a softer drive winkInteresting, thanks Joe. Have you spent any time driving around in an RF?

Well, it LOOKS more macho.  Honestly, the NDs I've driven ride pretty softly too, and I wasn't able to drive the cars back to back, so it's hard to judge.  To me, the Mazda's steering felt more direct and alive, but that could be attributed to tires, or maybe I'm just going insane!   The middle-age female attraction to the Fiat is real though......they were going gaga over the 124.  

I haven't driven the RF.  We had one around the office for a short time, but I was in and out of town, and wasn't able to drive it.   I thought it looked great in pictures, but kind of awkward from some angles in person.  The ride height looks too tall--like it was on stilts.     Honestly I kind of wish they would have made another PRHT, instead of a targa-ish thing.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
3/8/18 3:22 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

So it's more macho but it appeals to middle aged ladies and is a softer drive winkInteresting, thanks Joe. Have you spent any time driving around in an RF?

As my wife put it, the Fiat looks like a grown up would drive it, I won't relay her comments on the ND.  Of course she hasn't liked any of my Miatas,  As to the interior, the seats are somewhat Ferrari-esque with the stitch pattern, and sitting in the two, the Fiat does feel different.  Whether that is better or worse depends on who sits in it.  To sum it up, and yes she is in the age group Joe mentioned, she would drive the Fiat, but doesn't want to ride in the ND let alone drive it.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/18 4:34 p.m.
Joe Gearin said:
Keith Tanner said:

So it's more macho but it appeals to middle aged ladies and is a softer drive winkInteresting, thanks Joe. Have you spent any time driving around in an RF?

Well, it LOOKS more macho.  Honestly, the NDs I've driven ride pretty softly too, and I wasn't able to drive the cars back to back, so it's hard to judge.  To me, the Mazda's steering felt more direct and alive, but that could be attributed to tires, or maybe I'm just going insane!   The middle-age female attraction to the Fiat is real though......they were going gaga over the 124.  

I haven't driven the RF.  We had one around the office for a short time, but I was in and out of town, and wasn't able to drive it.   I thought it looked great in pictures, but kind of awkward from some angles in person.  The ride height looks too tall--like it was on stilts.     Honestly I kind of wish they would have made another PRHT, instead of a targa-ish thing.

You should drive the RF or a 2018 soft top. Mazda tweaked the suspension and steering on those two. The RF GT has a pretty well-judged suspension, less overdamped than the soft top Club suspension that journos usually get. I haven't driven the RF Club setup yet though. GRM deserves to check out the new suspension properly, the one RF "test" that you guys did was phoned in although I'll admit that Mazda wasn't telling anyone about the chassis tweaks in the press kit.

Interesting that you think the RF has some bad angles - I find the Fiat is really, really sensitive to that. The RF actually resolves some styling elements of the soft-top Miata that didn't make sense - the car is supposed to be the RF. Based on what I've seen in showrooms, I suspect the sales numbers are going to be pretty strongly in favor of the RF. My wife thinks the Fiat looks dumb and loves the RF, but then again she's a rally navigator who thinks everything is better with an LS3 in it.

Ride height is a fixable problem and really nails the aesthetics. I can tell you that this one rides and handles better than stock too...

jstand
jstand Dork
3/8/18 4:53 p.m.
Snrub said:
Knurled. said:

Good engine design requires less ignition advance for best torque.

 

Chevy LS motors generally only need 20-25 degrees of timing for example.  Fast burn is efficient burn, you need to do less negative work.  Or is that "retarded" because an old bathtub chamber big block needed 40+ degrees for best torque?

I meant that the Fiat 1.4L engine in the Renegade was advanced 30 degrees when tested on a 0 degree grade at 65mph and had -6 degrees of timing when exposed to a 6 degree grade @ 65mph.  The LS in the Escalade had ~+7 degrees at 0 grade and +18 degrees at 6 degree grade.

I may be mistaken, but doesn't the Fiat have DOHC with adjustable variable valve timing AND variable lift (multi-air system) that can be used to independently adjust intake and exhaust operating parameters? Where the LS has a single cam with variable timing only, and the timing shift for intake and exhaust cannot be controlled independently? 

Having more options to adjust operating parameters may lead to timing changes that don't align with engines that have less flexibility with cam timing and lift.

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
3/8/18 5:01 p.m.

Running the timing at 6 degrees ATDC screams to me that it's knock limited.  Fancy controls and good chambers, etc. need a lot less timing, but that's awfully little.  Especially if we're talking about it being 36 degrees less than light throttle cruise timing at the same RPM. 

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/8/18 5:05 p.m.

I think we are armchair quarterbacking the E36 M3 out of the timing angle.

Re: Keith's photo of the rf lowered on gold wheels - I thought the gga thread was no more?

barefootskater
barefootskater Reader
3/8/18 5:06 p.m.

Am I the only one who thinks the Fiata is fugly? I'm not attracted to the ND but I find the Fiat downright repulsive from every angle. 

Back on topic. Having only ever been in an NA and NB I can only say that 181hp would be awesome in any of them.

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