The world’s most popular roadster, the Mazda MX-5, has a whole new look. After 25 years and over 947,00 sales worldwide, the new fourth-generation 2014 Mazda MX-5 (known as the Mazda Miata in the US) has finally been revealed. Shorter, lower and wider than the current model, the new drop top has shed over 100kg in weight and will debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.
The MX-5 will go on sale in the UK early in 2015 at a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000, that's similar to the outgoing car.
Unveiled at synchronized events in Spain, Japan and North America, the new MX-5 has been penned using the same Kodo design language as both the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6. Unlike the saloons, which have softer lines, the MX-5 has an added depth of aggression, with sharp cascading lines and flared panels. Narrow LED headlights rest under pronounced front haunches, while deep-set daytime running lights give the car a prominent front end.
Round the back, bulging arches spill over the rear wheels, with the rising shoulder line which kicks up at rear of the cockpit giving a bolder stance.
The latest iteration of the MX-5 bucks the trend of new models gaining ever-increasing proportions. In comparison to the past three generations, this latest MX-5 has the smallest footprint of the lot, measuring in at 105mm shorter, 20mm lower but 10mm wider than the outgoing model. The wheelbase has also been reduced by 15mm as well as front and rear overhangs cut by 90mm.
The cabin is a more familiar story. Most features and tech have been lifted straight from the Mazda 3, so the floating infotainment system and swivel wheel control are nothing new, but it's still a beautifully finished and driver-focused cabin. The bonnet has been lowered, and the A-pillars and windscreen have been moved rearward and made thinner to give a better view of the road ahead. Headrest speakers are a new feature, however.
Underpinning the fourth-generation MX-5 will be a whole host of new SKYACTIV technology, which was revealed earlier in the year at the New York Motor Show. The backbone of the new model is a lightweight SKYACTIV-chassis which contributes considerably to the 100kg weight saving.
Soft-top models are expected to weigh less than 1,050kg. The new running gear has also allowed Mazda to position the engine behind the front axle and closer to the car’s centre than ever before. All of these factors lower the centre and gravity, which should improve handling.
New lightweight but rigid suspension will also be fitted, which features a double-wishbone setup at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. The brakes are also new and have been uprated to produce greater stopping power.
Engines options remain unconfirmed at this stage but we understand 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines featuring the latest SKYACTIV technology will be offered – developing around 130bhp and 165bhp respectively. We do know a six-speed manual gearbox will fitted as standard, with an auto available as an option.
Rumors have also been circulating that Mazda is considering fitting the MX-5 with a diesel engine for the first time, but as yet nothing has been confirmed. It’s a similar situation with a potent high-performance version of the MX-5, however, Mazda’s primary focus at the moment revolves around weight saving and reducing CO2 emissions.
Following its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the new MX-5 should arrive in the UK during the first quarter of 2015. Prices are expected to hover around the current model’s entry-level £20,000 asking price.
Watch the live reveal of the MX-5 as it happened here...
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