It’s smaller and lighter, but the new fourth-gen MX-5 debuts a 1.5-litre version set to slash the cult car’s entry price.
It has been confirmed the forthcoming MX-5, codenamed ‘ND’, will offer a choice of either 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines when it locally goes on sale come third quarter this year.
In its most basic 1.5-litre six-speed manual spec, the MX-5 is expected to hit showrooms between $35K-$37K, slashing around $10K off the entry point compared with the outgoing third-generation NC.
The direct-injected 1.5-litre engine is related to that of the Mazda2, but is said to have its own block, head and crankshaft. It also gains 15kW and nine newton metres over the city car, producing 96kW at 7000rpm and 150Nm at 4,800rpm.
At 3915mm long, 1730mm wide, 1235mm high and with a 2315mm wheelbase, the fourth-gen two-seater is not only the most diminutive MX-5 to date, the base 1.5-litre is extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at 1000kg, saving over 100kg compared with its forebear.
While that ‘magic tonne’ figure, spread perfectly 50:50 between front and rears axles, is quoted for the most basic soft-top variant (sat on 16-inch wheels), it remains to be seen how the 2.0-litre engine or the options of a hard-top or auto transmission affect more richly specified variants.
Much of Mazda’s self-coined ‘gram strategy’ weight saving is due to extensive use of aluminium in the car’s construction, which includes the bonnet, bootlid, front guards, soft-top header panel, bumper reinforcements, as well as key suspension components.
Mazda has yet to confirm the outputs of the direct-injected 2.0-litre engine short of confirming it “produces even more torque” than the 118kW and 188Nm unit that currently resides in the outgoing MX-5 range.
Pricing and spec of the much anticipated 2.0-litre version will be announced closer to the MX-5’s Australian launch just after mid-year.