Sources at official Mazda distributor Bermaz have confirmed that the new Mazda CX-9 and the Mazda MX-5 RF will be coming to Malaysia, either at the end of the year or early 2017. This will provide the company with a full, up-to-date lineup after the launch of the CX-3 late last year, and the commencement of sales of the facelifted BT-50 pick-up in March.

Although both models are niche offerings, the seven-seater CX-9 will likely be the more important of the two, taking over from the now nine-year-old first-generation model. Shorn of the Ford-derived architecture, the new car will utilise a turbocharged engine – the 250 hp/420 Nm SkyActiv-G 2.5T – which should provide a significant saving in fuel and road tax over the old 3.7 litre naturally-aspirated V6.

Mazda MX-5 RF 11

The MX-5 RF, on the other hand, is a variant of the new ND roadster, with the manually-operated soft-top substituted for a electric folding metal targa top. At a push of a button, the rear buttresses lift to receive the top roof panels and rear window, and it can do this at speeds of up to 10 km/h.

More importantly for enthusiasts who have lamented the fact that the MX-5 is currently sold here only as an automatic, Bermaz claims that the RF will arrive with a six-speed manual gearbox option, mated to the 158 hp/200 Nm 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G naturally-aspirated petrol engine. Whether that transmission will be offered on the regular soft-top MX-5, however, remains to be seen.

GALLERY: New Mazda CX-9