Read Also: The History Of The Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)
The Mazda Miata MX-5 NB was the continuation of Mazda’s counterpart to the classic British roadsters but without the all too familiar breakdowns that the NB’s British equivalents suffered from. The second-generation model is known as the “NB”. It is small, nimble, light, and fun to drive.
The Mazda Miata MX-5 NB
From 1998 to 2005, the Mazda MX-5 (NB), which is the second generation of the Mazda MX-5, was produced. The retractable headlights were removed. However, it still maintained the front mid-engine, RWD roadster feel. Mazda released the second-generation MX-5, production code NB, in February 1998.
The retractable headlights from the first generation failed to pass the updated safety requirements and thusly were replaced by fixed headlights. Aerodynamics were improved, and a retractable wind deflector was added as well as a glass rear window with defogger for the convertible top.
The original BP-4W 1.8 L engine stayed. However, it was updated. The addition of domed pistons increased the engine compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 9.5:1. The intake cam was updated to a solid lifter design using a stronger cam, while the intake manifold was mounted higher, and the intake runners in the head were straightened. The new engine’s power output was touted to be 104.4 kW with 157 Nm of torque. In Europe and Japan, the 1.6 L B6 engine was available. The base-model 1.8 L NB could reach 62 mph in 7.8 s and reached a top speed of 130 mph.
With a maximum top speed of 127 mph and a curb weight of 2205 lbs, the MX 5 Miata NB has a naturally-aspirated 1.8 L inline-4 engine. The engine produces a maximum power of 140 hp at 6500 rpm and a maximum torque of 119 lb-ft at 4500 rpm. It’s RWD and has a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The Miata has a double wishbones suspension, coil springs, anti-roll bar front suspension. In the way of stopping power, the NB had a 1.8 braking system, which includes vented discs at the front and discs at the rear.
Mazda marked the anniversary of the MX-5 in 1999. It was a limited edition model exhibiting exclusive features. The 6-speed manual transmission was the most prominent of these features; however, it also had Bilstein shock absorbers and a Torsen limited-slip differential. It had faster acceleration and an increased top speed compared to the standard 5-speed model. Furthermore, the car was released in an unusual sapphire blue mica option, called innocent blue in Japan. Only 7,500 units of the anniversary edition were manufactured, however, despite all the publicity, it took more than a year to move all units.
For the 2001 model year, the Mazda Miata MX-5 NB received a facelift. The fog lights were standardized. The rear turn signals lamps were made clear instead of amber, while the instrument panel gauges changed from black and blue to white face and red numbers. And, for top models, larger brakes were also added, a 6-speed manual transmission, a limited-slip differential, along with leather seats and a Bilstein suspension. The body was reinforced, increasing bending rigidity by 16% and torsional rigidity by 22%.
There was also a rare limited run in 2003, of SCCA-special club sports cars. The holy grail of NB, though it lacked air conditioning, power steering, and a stereo, it made up for it in being even lighter and offering even better handling.
The year 2004 marked the unveiling of the turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5. It had been given an IHI RHF5 VJ35 turbocharger BP-4W inline 4-cylinder engine that generated 133 kW at 6,000 rpm and 226 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. The Mazdaspeed could reach 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, and its top speed was 127 mph. It also featured upgraded drivetrain components and upgraded 6-speed transmission and clutch assemblies. Due to a fire at the manufacturing facility, only 1,428 of the 2005 model year were manufactured. Surprisingly, when it was released, it sat in dealer lots. It was found lacking in horsepower and the price tag was seen as being too high by petrolheads. On the other hand, today, the Mazdaspeed model is highly sought after. Due to their low numbers, owning one of them today is a coveted privilege among Miata enthusiasts.
The Mazda MX-5 NB averages out at the price of $4,010 — $19,500. Prices are highly dependant on the model year and seller. I have seen prices as low as $3,900, but it seems to be a rarity to find one still in good condition at that price point.
The MX-5 had a recent facelift, in 2002, but the body and chassis remained largely the same as it was when introduced in 1989. However, the car still is adequate safety-wise to gain a four-star rating. Given that it is a two-seater, the car was not tested with child restraints fitted. The Mazda Miata NB was the only Miata to undergo EuroNCAP crash testing by in 2002. Frontal and side-impact safety were both rated 4 stars. The safety features are pretty basic, driver and passenger air-bags and antilock brakes. Many cars have been fitted with roll bars behind the seats, which offer some minimal additional protection in case of a roll-over accident.
Overall, the Mazda Miata MX-5 NB is a good vehicle. It’s a bit more powerful than its predecessor, and when it comes to affordable roadsters, it is hard to find one that beats it. Although its decedent is more powerful, all that power comes with a price tag. Miata clubs can be found in most places. Additional resources can be found by checking out Miata.net.