Tag Archives: Mazda MX-5 Miata

2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 Convertible

Curvy F-Type’s V8 growls, but for a price, eh guv …

I’m not here to tell you how to spend your hard-earned bonuses or stock options but if you yearn for power, prestige, and eye-popping styling the folks at Jaguar have a V8 powered suggestion.

Its aging F-Type is a triple threat on the above and one look will tell you the eye doctor would prefer you put on blinders. The tested Caldera Red F-Type P450 Convertible displays sinuous lines and haunches that either remind you of its namesake or make you blush.

The P450 is new for 2022 as Jag, a longtime Brit-built performance prestige brand, decided to turn its tail on conventional wisdom and drop its turbocharged 4- and 6-cylinder engines.

Nope, just good ol’ throaty V8 power here to push the rear-drive sports car up to, and well beyond highway speeds. Car and Driver magazine says this model will clip off 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph. Pretty darned quick, eh guv?

And if you prefer more burble and pop when you tromp the accelerator or back off for a tight corner, there’s a button on the console to acoustically boost the exhaust note, or when off, slightly calm it. The neighbors agree that’s the setting they prefer.

The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with aluminum block and heads will create 444 horsepower and a 428 torque rating when fed premium petrol, accounting for its impressive acceleration via a fine 8-speed automatic. But, and you knew one was coming, you COULD get 575 horsepower and raise a royal ruckus by moving up to the top-level F-Type R model.

That requires selling a bit more stock though. The tested F-Type P450 lists at $74,150 while an AWD P450 Dynamic tips the scales at $84,275. The R? Well, in either coupe or convertible (both available in all trims) it begins just short of $110,000.

Being a short-wheelbase, rear-drive two-seater the F-Type handles well, with keen cornering and a sporty flair, but without full-on sports car steering feedback. The electric power steering assist seems to ease steering effort, yet it’s still fun to toss into tight turns and chop off the apexes along a winding country road. A Dynamic drive mode also firms steering effort and suspension feel.

Its racy 20-inch Pirelli P Zero performance tires add grip on warm days, but six of the seven test days I dealt with cool, wet, and windy conditions, even enjoying our first trace of snow one day. That’s not great for traction, so all-weather tires would help if driving in the northern climes after mid-October.

Watch Mark’s video: 2022 Jaguar F Type P450 Convertible review by Mark Savage – YouTube

The big tires and the sport suspension that Jaguar uses here with control arms up front and a multi-link in back deliver an overly firm ride, which is not bad on the freeway, where I spent much of my time. But around town, the expansion joints and pot holes shake the Jag a bit.

Braking is fine though and painting the calipers red only adds $550 to the bottom line.

Exterior styling speaks for itself and the interior is attractive, but feels cramped due to an extremely wide center console. Plus the F-Type, first introduced in 2013, hasn’t changed all that much in here beyond adding some additional electronics.

This tester wore black leather all around with red stitching in the seats, along the dash and in the door panels. Looks sharp and feels fine too, but that console pressed pretty tight to a driver’s right leg and could become a bother over a long haul.

Trim is a smoked chrome that somewhat resembles carbon fiber and the steering wheel hub, door control inserts and air vents are a satin chrome.

An overly tall instrument gauge binnacle feels like it limits the driver’s front view, at least for short drivers. Meanwhile the info screen mid-dash is wide enough, but narrow top to bottom, so seems smaller than it is. Functionality was ok for the touchscreen, but a few items, like the map, weren’t intuitive initially.

Seats are extremely supportive with aggressive side bolsters and were upgraded Windsor leather performance models, so added $1,650 to the cost. Making them 12-way power numbers that also were heated and cooled tacked on $1,800 more.

Not a fan of how one must press in the large temperature control knobs, which are great for temp control, but then must be adjusted for the heated and cooled seats with a further click or three. Additionally, the fan noise for heating and cooling the seats was overwrought, sort of like turning on a small food processor just behind your seat.

The info screen is wide, but narrow.

I should note too that this model already had added a $2,000 luxury package that upgraded leather once and included premium overhead lighting and illuminated the kick plates. The overhead lights above the mirrors needed just the slightest touch to turn on, much needed at night in a black cockpit.

Standard safety equipment is well represented, but does not include a blind-spot assist or rear traffic monitor. That costs $550 extra but seems it should be standard like the parking sensors, lane-keep assist, and emergency braking. Smart cruise control also wasn’t standard, which I found out abruptly on the freeway as I closed in quickly on slow moving trucks even though cruise was engaged.

The test car went with a tan cloth top. I think I’d prefer black.

Pluses included a wireless charger and power tilt/telescope steering wheel, although it was not a flat-bottom wheel which would have increased knee room and helped lighten up the closeness of the interior. Also the wheel isn’t heated, an oversight in our climate.

The tan cloth ($650 extra) power top functions well and is easily engaged via a console button. Note that there is a fair amount of noise that still infiltrates the top, whereas a hard-top convertible, such as with Mazda’s MX-5 (Miata), would normally be quieter. Road noise from the tires also was considerable, so a highway drive is not conducive to easy conversation with a significant other or friend.

A few drawbacks to consider. Naturally there’s little cargo room, this being a convertible and all. Just 7 cubic feet of trunk space and not all flat space either, so a couple small overnight backs or briefcases would fit, but certainly not golf clubs.

Sun visors are absolutely miniscule too and oddly the push-button entry and fob add $500, which seems petty when a car lists at $75 grand.

Gas mileage is respectable for a V8-powered sports car, the EPA rating it at 17 mpg city and 24 highway. But I managed 25.4 mpg in about 80% highway driving, and yes, this drinks premium. But premium gas prices are not a concern once you’ve liquidated your holdings.

A look at the stylish door trim as it blends to the dash.

With all the add-ons the test car revved up to $84,350, which puts this in a price class with such hot rods at Chevy’s new rear-engine Corvette and Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayenne sportsters. All of those have a lower entry fee. Heck, the Corvette could be loaded and pack more power for the Jag’s out-the-door price.

Penny or pound pinchers should note that at least two or three great options exist. The Toyota GR Supra and Nissan Z Performance that I’ve tested would suffice and save a buyer tens of thousands of dollars as they start in the low $40,000 range. You give up some power and prestige, but blimey, you save serious coin.

Quad pipes gives the V8 a throaty sound.

For even less Mazda’s Miata with a power hardtop convertible is a fun drive, just not as bleeping powerful.

Such choices mostly depend on whether you’re a king or a commoner.

FAST STATS: 2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 Convertible

Hits: Stylish 2-seat convertible w/power top, excellent power, balanced handling, good brakes, nice throaty V8 sound. Good supportive seats, heated/cooled seats, wireless charger, big temp dials, power tilt/telescope wheel, solid safety systems.

Misses: Over firm ride, tight cockpit due to wide console, considerable road noise, no heated steering wheel and no flat-bottom wheel, no smart cruise control, narrow info screen, heated/cooled seat fans quite noisy, little cargo room, miniscule sun visors, blind-spot warning system costs extra, and prefers premium fuel.

The leaping Jag logo jumps along the F-Type’s sides.

Made in: Castle Bromwich, U.K.

Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8, 444 hp/428 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 3,953 lbs.

Wheelbase: 103.2 in.

Length: 176 in.

Cargo: 7.0 cu.ft.

A snazzy Jag head graces the grille!

MPG: 17/24

MPG: 25.4 (tested)

Base Price: $74,150 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $69,895

Major Options:

Interior luxury package (leather upgrade, premium cabin lighting, illuminated kick plates), $2,000

Blind-spot assist/rear traffic monitor, $550

12-way power heat/cool seats, $1,800

Ebony Windsor leather performance seats, $1,650

Black exterior pack, $1,100

Meridian surround sound system w/770 watts, $900

Beige power top, $650

Red brake calipers, $550

Keyless entry, $500

Auto-dimming heated power door mirrors, $400

Air quality sensor, $100

Test vehicle: $84,350

Sources: Jaguar, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

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#Jaguar F-Type

2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0

Sporty Supra 2.0 a fun, less costly sports car …  

Back in the day, and it wasn’t all that long ago, Toyota marketed its sporty Celica and MR2 models as affordable sporty cars with the emphasis on affordable and sporty.

Moderate cost, moderately sporty performance and more than moderately sexy styling made these fun second cars for the family. Mom or dad could zip back and forth to work in a roadster or fastback that got good mileage, had some pep and still keep socking away retirement money or college tuition funds for the kids.

Those days have passed.

Last year after an 18 year absence Toyota brought back the Supra, the upscale Celica descendent, but for monied buyers. Supra 3.0 starts about $51,000 and can run up to nearly $60 grand. A bit rich for folks looking for fun wheels, but not a second mortgage. It must be said though, that performance was top-shelf.

Now comes the Supra 2.0 for 2021 and instead of a 335-horse turbo I6, it carries a somewhat milder twin-scroll turbo 2.0-liter I4 that makes a respectable 255 horsepower, but still a prodigious amount of torque. That’s rated at 295 lb.-ft. and it comes on quickly when you tromp the accelerator. Both engines are built in conjunction with BMW.

Top speed, says Car and Driver magazine, is 155 mph, and 0 to 60 mph flits by in 4.7 seconds. A Sport mode button helps the less powerful Supra reach such numbers and the fact that this model is about 200 lbs. lighter than its upscale cousin is another plus.

In addition to excellent highway ramp speed and getaway power, the tightly wound I4 delivers a fine exhaust tone. It doesn’t have the playful crackle of the 3.0-version, but it makes a driver feel he or she has plenty of gusto pushing the rear-drive speedster down the highway or away from a stoplight.

See Mark’s video review: https://youtu.be/OtZj7mDOWS0

Ah, but it also gets good fuel economy and the 2.0 debuts at about a $7,000 discount, and both it and the 3.0 are less costly than their BMW counterparts.

That’s not to say that $43,985 is cheap, but the difference helps whittle down a monthly car payment.

Cool too that the Supra 2.0 looks just the same as the 3.0, which is spectacular, exhibiting more curves than a Kardashian, and touting a better reputation. Just like the Supra 3.0, this more real-worldly powered unit handles like a racer on its 18-inch ZR-rated Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Grip is exceptional and tossing the car into tight corners and clipping off apexes along twisting roads is a pleasure. As my kids used to say, Cool Beans!

What isn’t a pleasure, as in the higher-horse model is the ride. Those performance tires coupled with Supra’s tiny 97.2-inch wheelbase delivers a ride that is jiggly at best and sometimes downright rough. City streets with all their potholes and burgeoning expansion joint cracks can turn the cockpit into the automotive version of bull riding. Ugh! Even Mazda’s small MX-5 Miata has a more comfortable ride.

But if looks and performance are enough, then the Supra 2.0 is a bargain.

My shocking Nitro Yellow test car started at $43,985, including delivery, and just added that eye-melting color for $425 and a safety and tech package for $3,485 to push it to $47,895. That’s still a stretch as opposed to the Miata, but the Supra packs more punch, just not a removable roof panel.

So what do you lose with the 2.0 vs. the pricier 3.0 model?

Not much that matters if you’re not taking your Supra on a racetrack. Tires are 18-inchers vs. 19 on the top-end model. Front brake rotors are smaller and there are just single piston calipers up front vs. multi-piston calipers on the Supra 3.0. Again, that’s fine around town and in normal braking, whereas the fancier brakes will last longer and remain more consistent on the race track.

Seats are manual in the tested Supra 2.0, but powered in the horsier version. The 3.0 also features adaptive suspension dampers and an electronically controlled limited slip differential. Those are absent here.

Both include the same smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that couples well to either power plant. No manual tranny is available here. Rats!

Inside, the yellow test car featured handsome black Alcantara leather and suede seating surfaces, the cushions including red and gray stitching to enliven their look a bit. There’s a carbon fiber console and gloss black trim on the doors’ armrests and the center stack wrapping down around the console. Satin silver trims the dash and air vents. Door release handles are satiny too.

The steering wheel is a manual tilt/telescope model, but I wish this wheel was flat-bottomed to create more knee room when entering and exiting. Such wheels also look racier. Plus a heated steering wheel would make the Supra more comfy in winter.

The dash layout is fine and the 12-speaker, 500-watt JBL sound system comes as part of that one big option package. It sounds great at stoplights, but after that it’s hard to hear as there’s a lot of road and tire noise in the Supra. That includes the rustle and clatter of sand, rocks and road gunk that chatters under the vehicle, especially noticeable at slower side-street speeds.

There was also no wireless phone charger here, while the pricier 3.0 version includes one.

Seats are wonderfully shaped, as race seats should be, with tremendous side support for the back and hips. Neither seat is powered, nor do they include heating, while both are on the 3.0 Premium model.

I found the cockpit comfortable and roomy enough while still feeling compact and sporty. One downside to the car’s slinky looks though is large A-pillars that somewhat obstruct side frontal views.

But otherwise safety is well represented due to the option package mentioned earlier. It includes dynamic radar cruise control, a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors with emergency braking.

The package also includes an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation. The screen is really thin though and I found it hard to use while driving and sometimes hard to see in bright sun. There’s a redundant rotary touchpad control to adjust the screen, but those are always difficult to manage unless the car is stationary.

How’s cargo space under the big rear hatch? Not great, but you wouldn’t expect to carry much more than a couple overnight bags or groceries there, right? The Supra has 10.2 cu.ft, of cargo capacity.

Gas mileage was surprising considering how hard I ran this on the highway and up and down entry ramps. I managed a stellar 32 mpg whereas I’d averaged just 23.4 mpg in the Supra 3.0 a year ago. The EPA rates Supra 2.0 at 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. About 60% of my drives were on the highway. Sadly the small turbo I4 requests 91 octane fuel.

For my money, which it would be, I’d go for this light and lively Supra over the powerful 3.0. It’s still a load of fun and the look is just as sexy too.

FAST STATS: 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0

Hits: Stellar looks, strong acceleration, sporty handling, good traction, supportive seats, lower cost than Supra 3.0.

Misses: Rough small car ride, noisy interior (tire and road grit), small radio screen, hard to hear radio over road noise, no wireless charger, no flat-bottom or heated wheel, no heated seats, and no manual transmission available.

Made in: Graz, Austria

Engine: 2.0-liter I4, turbo, 255 hp

Transmission: 8-speed, automatic

Weight: 3,181 lbs.

Wheelbase: 97.2 in.

Length: 172.5 in.

Cargo: 10.2 cu.ft.

MPG: 25/32

MPG: 32.0 (tested)

Base Price: $43,395 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $30,985

Options:

Nitro yellow paint, $495

Safety & Tech package (dynamic cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors w/emergency braking, 8.8-inch touchscreen w/nav, 12-speaker 500-watt JBL audio system w/amp, touchpad rotary control, wireless Apple Car Play, speed limit info, Supra connected services), $3,485

Test vehicle: $47,895

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

Miata still sets a high bar for sports car marketmiata

When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Mazda’s designers and brain trust have shown great wisdom to follow that axiom with the Miata sports car.

For 25 years now the MX-5 Miata has made its mark by NOT changing much. There have been tiny body styling tweaks and interior tucks and thankfully the horsepower grew from 116 originally to 167 today. But Miata has remained true to its original design and purpose, being a lightweight, superb handling sports car with enough pep to put a perpetual smile on a driver’s face.

Soon Mazda will unveil a new Miata, and we’ll hope the designers still don’t break what isn’t broken. But for now we can relish in the fun and modest price tag the current model embodies.

Two years have passed since I last drove a Miata and reading back over that review I couldn’t find anything I’d disagree with from the most current drive. Here’s my latest synopsis.

miata1The “true red” test car was the mid-level Club model with a black power hardtop. That means it’s a convertible, but the hardtop keeps it quieter inside than the standard cloth top. Naturally you pay more, but Miata is still a value-minded roadster. The base Sport model with soft top lists at $24,515 with delivery and the tested Club with hardtop was $29,460, with delivery. Moving up to the Grand Touring hardtop pushes the sticker to $31,345. Continue reading 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club