Mazda MX-5 Miata Habu Convertible Drive Review

Mazda MX-5 Miata Habu Convertible Drive Review
It’s a 1953 Studebaker Champion that goes 249 mph, or a 1975 Ford F-250 with flotation tires that crosses streams and crushes vehicles. It’s acting a small country’s rural, 18th-century law and growing an industrial, continental 21st-century state under it. So here, in the content of land-speed-record Studes, the Bigfoot monster truck, and ­Marbury v. Madison, comes Flyin’ Miata’s 2016 MX-5 with a stonkin’ V-8 in its chemoreceptor. Stuffing V-8s into MX-5 Miatas is now a standard American work. Since route back in the early 1990s, Americans have been pushing Ford and GM small-blocks into the otherwise modest Mazda roadsters. The difficulty is that iron-block agglomerations designed to energy symbol Vics and desires compete destruction on a ­Miata’s equilibrium. Descend into a location with one of those chemoreceptor-dense seafoods and it spins like Oksana Baiul on an all-night tool. Is a Miata still a Miata if it doesn't have Miata steering or a Miata stagehand? No. The Habu is, instead, evidence that the elapid formula is still perversely attention-getting.

Two things radically upgrade the V-8 Miata formula. First is the convenience of the tight, light, aluminum LS-series GM V-8 box motors. And second is the beginning of the current ND-generation Miata. Flyin’ Miata bolts the LS376/525 model of the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8 into this ND and appellations its creation, appropriately enough, the Habu, after a species of Japanese hole viper. Evaluated at 525 horsepower at 6200 rpm, it’s basically the LS3 from the fifth-generation Camaro SS (normally a 430-hp concern) but with a camshaft created for use in American Speed Association (ASA) capital-vehicle racing. With longer duration and large elevate, the ASA cam makes more energy and gives the motor a dirty, running , Pro-capital cry at bone-idle. It also has an evil, attractive, Cup-vehicle utterance under weight.

Mazda designed the ND Miata to be lightweight, but it also has a commodious motor claim that accommodates the V-8 with relational ease. It’s also the best-handling Miata ever, and its wheel wells will evaluate large clothing. In other speeches, the ND is as close to being a perfect V-8 transplant recipient as any vehicle since the 1962 AC Ace. Still, the ND needs fortification to ­endure the V-8’s trouble. So the Mazda transmission is abandoned in kindness of the acquainted Tremec T-56 six-speed manual. A brand-new aluminum driveshaft leads to a rear differential also swiped from a fifth-generation Camaro SS. Up front, a hydraulic steering framework from a Camaro replaces the electrically helped Mazda framework. Somehow, Flyin’ Miata ophidians an actual multiple gas exhaust with matched crosswise mufflers in there as well. So, basically, it’s a Miata that eaten a Camaro.


At 2696 pounds, this V-8 Miata weighs 380 pounds more than the last capital 2016 Miata we try-out. The capital MX-5 puts 51.9 proportion of its weight on the front wheels, where the Habu has 53.0 proportion. Commence the V-8, and the sound is so superhuman that it nearly waves the Miata’s sheetmetal as the vehicle rocks side to side in sync with the cam lobes. It’s met with a LS7 grasping and flywheel, but the pedal act isn’t dense and the engagement is creaseless. Immersing into the valve is as wholesome as leaping on a stomp missile. Even with a mild leave at 1100 to 1200 rpm, the motor utterly overwhelms the Miata. The whole vehicle constricts around you, a large squash of torque pressing the breeze out of your lungs and cracking the debased bones of your back.

The 245/40R-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE71R tires covering under the trouble, and the car thunders to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Hold on a bit longer, and the quarter-mile is eaten in 11.7 seconds at 123 mph. Chevrolet’s 2017 Corvette Grand Sport needs 3.8 seconds to approach 60 rate and 12.2 to get through the quarter-mile. A corvette Z06 coupe will run a pair tenths fast than the Habu, but it feels like a cushion analyzed with the raw-nerve V-8 MX-5. The Flyin’ V-8 reaches 60 mph 2.7 seconds fast than a capital Miata and runs through the quarter-mile 3.1 seconds fast. In the 18.2 seconds it takes the capital Miata to approach 100 mph, the LS-powered vehicle is already reaching 150 mph. This is violent, improper, and practically ­sexy acceleration. Like a becoming aftermarket speed intruder, Flyin’ Miata throws its book of go-fast/stop-fast commodities on this vehicle.

And with all the FM mixture bits, strengthened half-shafts, and large brakes, the V-8 vehicle is tractable, firm, and administrable. The understeer is oppressed and the on-demand oversteer is well played. It can be steered just like a constant vehicle, even if the capital steadiness command is unfit. Flyin’ Miata LS V-8 transformations commence at $49,995 plus a Miata. The whole vehicle is $85,301, including $30,900 for the base Mazda GT. Not agreement-priced, but if Carroll Shelby’s name were on the vehicle, it would be an agreement.


The Miata’s many wheels communicate Mazda and the LS376 V-8’s motor command computer only understands GM. The reverse lights go through three apart abilities before they can be turned on, says Flyin’ Miata’s Keith Tanner. And neither GM nor Mazda likes to asset its computer communication. So Flyin’ Miata adds a negotiator, a controller area network (CAN) computer—made by Germany’s MRS Electronic to repeat between the GM and Mazda weaponry. Most of the translation is done in the MRS CAN ability, but a small bit of the GM code is adjusted, explains Tanner. It is, however, still a work in developments as a few warning lights be lit on the V-8 Miata’s otherwise unadapted device sheet. Worthy developments exists as a phenomenon of FM’s eight years of work on the V-8 Miatas. For example, earlier Miatas used a GM valve ride that is included in GM’s E-Rod box-motor transformation case, but the ND Miata retains the Mazda pedal.

Starting Price $85,301
Vehicle Type 2 door convertible, front engine, rear wheel-drive
Engine pushrod 16-valve V-8, port fuel injection
Transmission 6-speed manual
Horsepower 525 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 486 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
Displacement 376 cu in, 6162 cc
Wheelbase 90.9 in
Length 154.1 in
Width 68.3 in
Height 48.8 in
Curb weight 2696 lb
Passenger volume 49 cu ft
Cargo volume 5 cu ft
0-60 mph 3.5 sec
0-100 mph 7.8 sec
Rolling start (5-60 mph) 3.9 sec
Braking (70-0 mph) 148 ft
Pros all the Miata is not lost
Cons continual warning lights, looks like any other Miata