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- Striking new styling
- 100kg in weight savings
- Smallest MX-5 ever
- More powerful, direct-injected engine
- Could be cheaper in Australia
- Arriving mid-to-late 2015
The new MX-5 will be fitter, faster and better equipped to fight the Toyota 86 for the throne of cut-price, rear-drive sports car when it arrives in Australia early next year.
Just unveiled in the USA, the new MX-5 scores brand new styling, a new engine and gearboxes, and a significantly updated chassis.
Mazda’s engineers have torn 100kg out of the new, fourth-gen MX-5 compared to the old model - and made it smaller, culminating in the most compact generation MX-5 ever.
Mazda Austalia has also hinted the sports hero’s price could fall when the car lands in Australia next year, recently telling MOTOR it’s looking closely at how to make the car more affordable.
Mazda is keeping its corporate lips sealed on power and torque outputs, but expect an increase from the MX-5’s new direct-injected, four-cylinder unit.
Weight savings come from a lighter folding roof, as well as new aluminium bonnet, bootlid, front guards and front/rear bar reinforcements, while Mazda has also employed its “gram strategy” to kill any unnecessary weight.
The engine has been moved closer to the vehicle’s centre for a 50/50 weight split and lowered centre of gravity. Grip will be modest, as per MX-5 tradition, thanks to 195/50 rubber strapped to stock 16-inch wheels, while the steering moves to a new electrically-assisted rack and pinion.
As well as grafting on the new corporate “Kodo” design language, Mazda’s stylists have moved the MX-5’s cabin rearward and lowered the passenger hip point for a more squat, long-bonnet look.
The MX-5 scores a new interior, with the classic small steering wheel and a giant, centrally-mounted tacho behind it, as well as headrest speakers and reduced wind buffeting with the roof down.
MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto said the MX-5 had grown fat and large over the years due to increased safety and emissions requirements, but that his engineering team has tried to return to the original car’s principles of driver enjoyment and lightness.
“We continued to enhance the model’s driving pleasure while meeting increasingly pressing customer demands for comfort, safety and environmental performance,” said Yamamoto.
“In developing the fourth-generation MX-5, we returned to the original aims of the first generation that had restore the culture of the lightweight sports car and then took on the challenge of embodying the fundamental pleasure of driving an open-top lightweight sports car in a product suited to today’s needs.”
“Mazda firmly believes the fun of being one with the car … must be maintained.”
And he’s aware of the pressure of stuffing it up, adding, “I am both profoundly appreciative and keenly aware of the great responsibility I bear.”
The fourth-generation MX-5 will be called the Roadster in Japan and Miata in the USA.
Keep an eye on our live coverage where we’ll keep you posted on new MX-5 details and pics as we get them.
Meanwhile for more from the new MX-5 world premiere, follow editor Dylan Campbell on MOTOR’s new Live feed as he reports live from the USA.