New Alfa Romeo Spider and Mazda MX-5 spied

24 Sep, 2013 3:37pm Jonathan Burn

A test mule, which will form the basis for the new Alfa Romeo Spider and Mazda MX-5, has been spotted testing in North America

These are the first pictures of what will be new Mazda MX-5 and Alfa Romeo Spider, after a test mule, which will underpin both models was spotted testing in Michigan.

Alfa Romeo and Mazda signed a deal earlier this year where Mazda would build the new Alfa Romeo roadster on the next MX-5 platform.

New Alfa Romeo Spider due in 2015

2014 Mazda MX-5 release date and price

This test mule is likely to be using the 1750TB engine from the Alfa 4C, which could find its way under the bonnet of the new Spider. The 1.75-litre four-cylinder engine develops 237bhp and as Alfa engineers are aiming for a sub 1000kg kerbweight, the Spider could have similar performance figures to the 4C.

Power is transmitted through a dual-clutch ‘TCT’ paddleshift gearbox, meaning 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.

Alfa will also offer the Spider with alternative engine options for those who don’t want all that performance. The 1.4-litre TB MultiAir engine from the Giulietta in two forms of tune – 119bhp and 168bhp – is also suspected to be available. These variants are likely to be fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Mazda, meanwhile, is considering fitting the MX-5 with a diesel engine for the first time, but a new 130bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine featuring SkyActive technology, is expected to be the pick of the bunch.

A six-speed manual will be fitted as standard, with the possibility of automatic paddle shift option. Like Alfa Romeo, Mazda is hopeful of achieving a sub 1000kg kerbweight, meaning a substantial weight reduction of around 150kg will be necessary. This should bring it just shy of the original 940kg kerbweight of the MX-5 when it was introduced in 1989.

A hot version of the MX-5, which would rival the Alfa Spider with the 1750TB engine isn’t likely. Mazda’s primary focus at the moment is all about weight saving and reducing CO2 emissions via the SkyActive technology.

Prices for both the MX-5 and Alfa Spider are expected to start from around £20,000, with the Mazda likely to be a little cheaper keeping with the brand's ethos of value for money. Both cars are still in the early stages of development and production won't start until 2015 at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant in Japan.

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Really looking forward to seeing the production models from this joint venture, however a word of advice to Mazda - bin the idea of a diesel MX5.

I'd go for a diesel. They make a much better public road engine than petrol. Remember, these are hairdresser pose mobiles, not track optimised racers.

MX-5 not a track car? Well I guess you must be the hairdresser in question.

I'm genuinely excited about this and if it looks anything like the 4C I'd seriously consider the Alfa, I'd be looking at a new car around 2015-16.

Errr what? Ever heard of the BRSCC MX5 Championship? If you haven't then you obviously have not driven an MX5 because in the hands of a proper driver it is much more than just a a small sports car to pose in.

I guess you have one TonyandGuy!! There is still is and probably for a long time one big problem, do you want to hear a tractor when your stopped at the traffic lights with the roof down?!

A diesel MX5? That would nearly be as bad as an electric MX5.

The "back to basics" sports car dubbed the MX5 will now be turbocharged - precisely the thing it was lauded for avoiding all those years ago in the turbo-mad 80s.
Oh the irony...

I have read the above article a couple of times and can see no mention of the next-generation MX-5 having a turbocharged engine.
Indeed, in developing the SkyActive-G petrol engine, Mazda specifically chose not to follow the path taken by the likes of Ford with their small capacity, turbocharged EcoBoost engine family...

Oh good - that'll teach me to skim read!
130bhp from a n/a 1.6 is quite a nice figure, the same as a 1990 Rover 416 GTi ;)

Actually, as something of an Alfista - I have had nine Alfas - the new Alfa Spider with the 168bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir engine sounds even more interesting...

Agreed, definitely worth a test drive.
It may sound silly, but I somehow "trust" Alfa to make a 'blown engine. I feel like their engineers would value revs and soundtrack more than most. Would still prefer a 1.8 n/a with the same power though (even if it had less torque).

That's a valid point...
Hopefully, unlike the again postponed,159-replacing Guilia, the new Spider is still on schedule for a launch in 2015 so we will not have too long to wait for that test drive!

Of course it's capable on the track, but it's still a popular car for hairdresser types. Yes, I am a stylist, yes I do have one. Yes, I would replace it with a diesel one.

And, I meant to add, not real track like an Elise, KTM, Caterham etc. Yes, there is a Max5 series, but there is a Clio series, so no biggy. Gimme a diesel.

Same old silly front grill that they have to stick with, when will they ever learn? Thank goodness for Italian styling with the Alfa Romeo version that we will wait for.