2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata begins US-bound production with 1,000 Launch Edition examples

The next generation of the iconic roadster inches towards landfall in North America with today's announcement and official pricing info.

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US-bound 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata production kicks off today. Mazda/PR Newswire

Update: Mazda has revised its pricing announcement, restating the MX-5 Launch Edition's starting price as $30,495. We've updated the article to reflect the new information.

The next generation of my favorite roadster gets one step closer to my greasy mitts with the automaker's announcement that production of the North America-bound left-hand drive 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata began today.

Those wanting to be among the first behind the wheel should look to pre-order the 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition, a designation bestowed upon the first 1,000 fourth-generation (ND) roadsters to reach the US market. Launch Edition roadsters are all Grand Touring models swathed in the same Soul Red paint that that we saw on the 25th Anniversary edition of the third-generation (NC) MX-5, paired in a unique combination with Sport Tan leather interiors.

Each of the 1,000 will also feature unique Launch Edition badging, Advanced Keyless entry and more. The only choice you'll have when choosing your Launch Edition will be between six-speed manual or automatic transmissions for $30,495 and $31,570, respectively. I trust you'll make the right (ahem, manual) choice before plunking down a $500 reservation deposit at LongLiveTheRoadster.com.

Fully loaded Launch Editions are all well and good, but if you're like me, you prefer your roadsters simple. At the entry point of the 2016 MX-5 Miata lineup is the Sport trim level ($24,915) that comes standard with LED headlights and tail lights, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata debuted last year and has been slowly inching towards production. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Stepping up to the MX-5 Club trim level adds 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels wrapped in 205/45R17 tires, aerodynamic styling upgrades, a limited-slip differential, Bilstein shocks and shock-tower brace in the "Performance" column. Under "Amenities," you'll see the 7-inch Mazda Connect tech package that we've seen on the Mazda3, with a nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers. The Club model's MSRP also gets a bump up to $28,600.

For the even more performance-minded, Mazda tells us that the MX-5 Club is "available with a package that equips it with forged, lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brake rotors and calipers with painted front and rear calipers, functional aerodynamic side sill extensions and rear bumper skirt." We've no word on how much that will add to the bottom line.

At the top of the heap (for those too slow to grab a Launch Edition) is the MX-5 Grand Touring model with its stylish 17-inch bright alloy wheels, leather-trimmed heated seats, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive headlights and more.

The nine-speaker Bose audio rig and the Mazda Connect touchscreen infotainment become standard features at this trim level, along with Mazda's i-ActivSense driver aid package, which adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a lane-departure warning to the roadster's bag of tricks. Why you'd need blind-spot monitoring on a car meant to be driven topless is beyond me, but we'll figure that out when the MX-5 Grand Touring reaches the States at an MSRP of $30,065.

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The fourth-generation MX-5 will reach dealerships starting late summer 2015. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

All models at all trim levels will feature the MX-5's 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder, making 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, mated with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic option is available as a $1,075 option that includes advanced keyless entry and start. (Manual-equipped Miatas can add keyless entry and start for $130.)

According to Mazda, "MX-5s are expected arrive in dealers starting late summer...Customers who take delivery of an MX-5 Launch Edition also will receive a Mazda-branded Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker in a customized gift box, along with select items from Mazda's upcoming Heritage Collection apparel line." Sweet.

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