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First of the new Mazda MX-5 models have arrived at the Port of San Diego


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Hundreds of brand-new Soul Red 2016 Mazda MX-5 roadsters arrived this week at the Port of San Diego, the first shipment of the completely redesigned Miata to arrive in the United States, according to Mazda North America.

After processing at the port, the cars will begin shipment to dealers across the U.S., where they should arrive within the next few weeks to be sold to retail customers, Mazda said.

The first boatload arrived on the Phoenix Leader auto transport ship, coming from Japan.

Prices of this fourth generation of the Miata will start at $24,915 for the entry-level Sport trim. It also will be offered in Club ($28,600) and Grand Touring ($30,065) trim levels.

The ones that arrived this week are the exclusive Launch Edition ($30,495), all in Soul Red with a Sport Tan leather interior. They are all in the top-end Grand Touring trim, and are limited to 1,000 units. Most if not all have already been sold.

?The MX-5 Launch Edition will give enthusiasts the opportunity to take ownership of one of the very first, very exclusive, 2016 MX-5s to arrive in the U.S.,? said Jim O?Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations.

?Along with the privilege of exclusivity and being among the first 1,000 to take delivery, owners will be able to enjoy our latest entertainment, safety and luxury technologies ? many of which are unique among sports cars. And of course, they?ll be the first to experience the exhilaration of being behind the wheel of one of the last true lightweight, driver-focused sports cars available today.?

Customers were able to begin putting $500 deposits on the Launch Edition models on May 5.

Among its other features are 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, automatic climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, the Mazda Connect Infotainment System with navigation, a Bose nine-speaker audio system, i-ActiveSense safety technologies (including blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam control) and more.

These first buyers also will get a Mazda-branded Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker in a gift box, along with select items from Mazda?s Heritage Collection apparel line.

Well-established as one of the most-appreciated cars of all time, the Miata gets new life for 2016 after earlier speculation that Mazda might discontinue the car because of waning interest in small sports cars.

It?s clearly the best Miata yet. With the redesign, the car is lighter, sleeker and better-looking than ever, which could very well lead to a whole new generation of consumers embracing the iconic two-seater.

The basic design and architecture will be shared with Fiat, which will use it to produce its own new roadster.

Mazda?s version weighs about 220 pounds less than the 2015 model?s 2,480-pound base curb weight.

The Japanese automaker unveiled the new generation last fall at simultaneous events in California, Japan and Spain in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Miata, which first arrived in 1989.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine, with an expected 155 horsepower and 148 foot-pounds of torque.

A six-speed manual gearbox will be standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission will be available at all levels for $1,045 extra.

EPA ratings are 27 mpg city/34 highway/30 combined when equipped with the manual transmission, and 27 city/36 highway/30 combined with the automatic.

The car will have ventilated disc brakes in the front, and solid discs in the rear. The front will have a double-wishbone suspension; the rear, a multi-link setup.

It will be equipped with Mazda?s Skyactiv technology, which uses lightweight materials and other innovations to create vehicles that are extremely fuel efficient and solidly built.

The new model will have a front-mid-ship engine/rear-wheel-drive configuration that achieves an ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution.

Sport versions come with 16-inch alloy wheels and features such as cruise control, LED headlights and taillights, Bluetooth phone pairing and audio streaming, leather-wrapped shift knob, power door locks, a single USB input and cruise control.

The Club version adds 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels with 205/45R17 tires, front air dam and trunk-mounted rear lip spoiler, piano-black seatback bars and exterior mirror caps, Mazda Connect with a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system and commander control knob, and an AM/FM/HD/satellite radio with the nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers.

A limited-slip rear differential, Bilstein shocks and shock-tower braces are standard with the manual transmission.

The Club also is available with a $3,400 package that brings forged lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brake rotors and calipers with painted front and rear calipers, aerodynamic side-sill extensions and a rear bumper skirt.

With the Grand Touring model comes with 17-inch bright alloy wheels, leather-trimmed heated seats, automatic climate control, the Bose audio system with headrest speakers, AM/FM/HD/XM radio, Mazda Connect, universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive headlights.

It also has Mazda?s i-ActivSense safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.