Don’t get too excited, it’s only for the base 1.5-litre four-cylinder SkyActiv model. There’s still no official word on the range-topping 2.0-litre model. Still, with the 1.5 model now confirmed it shouldn’t be too long until we get the ND MX-5’s full spec.
Mazda has been very tight-lipped on the specs of the new MX-5 and while it isn’t due to go on sale until halfway through the year, like a child getting a new toy they just couldn’t help but show off their latest creation. The base 1.5 model may not set the world on fire but it does, according to Mazda, fit the whole jinba ittai philosophy perfectly. The engine is a tuned version of the 1.5 SkyActiv unit found in the new Mazda2.
In this guise it’s about the car and driver working together in complete harmony. With 95kW/130bhp at 7000rpm, the base car is more about usable fun than pants-on-fire performance. Torque is rated at 150NM at 4800rpm. That should be enough to get the 1.5 MX-5 from 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 km/h. It should be frugal too with average fuel consumption somewhere in the 5.8L/100km range.
For comparison’s sake the outgoing third-generation ‘NC’ model had a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-pot producing 122kW/167bhp and weight was the best part of 1100kg. This latest generation MX-5 is not only the most advanced, and dare I say it best looking, but it is also the shortest. To our amazement Mazda have somehow made a car in 2015 smaller than its predecessor from 1989.
In 1.5 manual guise this MX-5 weighs in at 1000kg, giving it a respectable 130bhp/tonne power to weight ratio. As usual weight distribution is a perfect 50:50. Standard tyres fitted will be 16-inch with 195-section. Mazda have confirmed the new MX-5 will come with electrically assisted steering. On the plus side the roof is still a manual single latch affair.
With two engine choices available some markets will only get one or the other, North America for example will only get the larger 2.0-litre engine. Reports suggest New Zealand customers will get a choice, though this is yet to be confirmed. There’s definitely a market for a pure, simple roadster such as the base MX-5. This will be the ultimate purist’s car but for some, I suspect, they’ll be wanting more than 130bhp from their new sports car. I don’t blame them. Let’s just hope Mazda are able to price the MX-5 competitively when it arrives on NZ shores.
*Update: The MX-5 (or Roadster as it’s known in Japan) will be available for order from March 20 in Japan with deliveries expected in June this year. Not long now.*
**Update: Details of the 2.0-litre model have been confirmed. The MX-5 will use the same SkyActiv G engine as the CX-5 and Mazda3. In the MX-5 this engine is producing 167bhp/116kW and 200NM of torque. That’s 3bhp/2kW more than the CX-5 or 3. It’ll be mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed auto.**