Mazda has pulled the covers off the next generation of its much-loved two-seat roadster – the 2016 Mazda MX-5. Over 940,000 units of its predecessors have been sold as of July 2014 – making the MX-5 the best-selling roadster of all time – and the new car will surely want to continue their legacy.
This ND MX-5 measures 3,915 mm long, 1,730 mm wide and 1,235 mm high, 105 mm shorter, 10 mm wider and 10 mm lower than the outgoing NC, with the 2,315 mm wheelbase some 14 mm shorter. The reduced dimensions partly explain the over 100 kg weight loss (which should make the new car weigh fairly close to the original NA’s 940 kg) despite the higher feature count and “outstanding rigidity and crashworthiness.”
Looks interesting, doesn’t it? The ND features a reinterpretation of Mazda’s Kodo design language. At the front, there are small almond-shaped headlamps and a large grille lower down. Like the 3 and 6, the roadster’s lines flow above the front wheel arches and sweeps downwards towards the rear wheels.
A distinctive character line begins below the door handles and rises over the rear wheel arches before dropping down and terminating at the tail lamps, which have a prominent round light can. The rear number plate recess is located on the lower bumper for the first time on an MX-5. The result is a unique, fluid design, if a little polarising – the office is split on whether it actually looks good.
The interior is less divisive. All the basic ingredients are there – simple bucket seats, a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, a stubby gearlever and a manual handbrake. The top portion of the door cards are body-coloured, fulfilling Mazda’s intention of an interior design that “melts away the boundaries between the inside and outside of the car.”
Like the 2, the new MX-5 features a cockpit-like design around the driver with twin round air vents, while the passenger side of the dashboard is minimalistic with three knobs for controlling the air-conditioning and a simple horizontal centre air vent. Also on show is Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system, and owners of the 1989 original will no doubt be pleased to find similar headrest-mounted speakers on the new car.
Under the skin, the construction uses the company’s latest SkyActiv technology which has also assisted in reducing weight without resorting to expensive materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre. There’s double wishbone suspension at the front and a multilink setup at the rear, and Mazda claims that the weight balance is perfectly 50:50. The steering is now electrically-assisted.
The engine is a naturally-aspirated (yes!) SkyActiv-G direct-injected petrol engine of unspecified capacity, sending power through a six-speed SkyActiv-MT manual transmission to the rear wheels – new technology, same basic formula. No output figures have been released so far.
So here you have it – a new Mazda MX-5 that promises to be as good to drive as its forebears. What do you think? Us, we can’t wait to try it out!