The Mazda MX-5. It’s still the ultimate sun-loving, value-packed roadster that’s untouchable this side of a Porsche Boxster. The rear-drive, two-seat MX-5 is an icon and, frankly, fans cringe that it’ll be messed up, such is its consistent excellence.
Mazda’s SkyActiv philosophy should keep standards up, by bringing the 2014 roadster’s weight down. Mazda’s ethos is to optimise every component, from chassis architecture to drivetrains, to boost efficiency and driveability. That will translate into 1.6- and 2.0-litre petrol engines with natural aspiration; SkyActiv values a high compression ratio and fast throttle response above turbocharging. Expect the first 200bhp-plus MX-5, as the power war has made the current MX-5’s modest outputs untenable.
Since its 1989 debut, the MX-5’s design has been pure and pretty. For the fourth-generation, the crisp lines of Mazda’s Kodo ‘soul of motion’ design language will be brought to bear, but don’t expect the look to get too aggressive. Mazda will continue to offer both canvas and folding hard-top roofs.
In other news, the MX-5 will be twinned with Alfa Romeo’s new Spider. The Italians are taking the MX-5’s chassis and plumbing in their own 1750cc engine from the 4C; its 237bhp will throw down the gauntlet to Mazda in 2015. Both cars will be built on Mazda’s Hiroshima line, but the Mazda will hit market first; expect a debut in 2014.
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