Mazda to build Spider roadster for Alfa Romeo

Mazda Fiat roadsters
18 Jan, 2013 11:00am Tom Phillips

An agreement has been reached for Mazda to build a new Alfa Romeo roadster on the next MX-5 platform

Mazda and Fiat have signed a deal that will see Mazda produce “an open-top two-seater sports car” for Alfa Romeo at its Hiroshima, Japan, plant starting from 2015.

The Alfa Romeo roadster will be a global car that’s based on the new Skyactiv S-platform currently being developed for the next-generation Mazda MX-5. It may be badged Spider, in reference to the Alfa Romeo Spider roadster built from the mid-1960s to mid-1990s.

According to the joint announcement made by the two firms, “both Mazda and Fiat [will] develop two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive.”

Both the Alfa Roadster and MX-5 have illustrious histories to plunder, with the former likely to be badged Spider. The Mazda is expected to debut next year, with the Alfa Romeo due in 2015, and feature the latest interpretation of the firm’s Kodo design language.

Although they will be built on the same production line, the two roadsters will use different engines.

The Alfa Romeo will use engines designed by Fiat – likely to be uprated versions of the current 1.4-litre turbo unit used in the Giulietta and MiTo, with the 1.75-litre turbo reserved for the forthcoming Alfa Romeo 4C that will debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Instead of the current 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated units, the Mazda is tipped to get a four-cylinder 1.3-litre turbocharged Skyactiv petrol engine, as the firm seeks to make the next MK-5 lighter than the 940kg 1989 original model.