Mazda wants a new RX-8 if the sums add up, and the MX-5's rear-drive platform could help
29 November 2014

The new Mazda MX-5 could yet provide the platform for a successor to the RX-8 sports car, Autocar has learned.

Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said recently that the firm does not have a new RX model in its product plan. However, Autocar understands that Mazda’s range of SkyActiv technologies would make it easier to react if the firm works out how to make money from such a model. 

One senior company official said: “Kogai-san said we don’t have plans, and that’s true. But we have the desire if the business case can be formed.”

Previously, the costs of developing a bespoke platform would have had a serious impact on any business case.

However, Mazda’s managing executive officer, Masahiro Moro, revealed that the newly launched MX-5 is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform that can support a larger sports car. “Capability-wise, the platform is not restricted,” he said. “That’s part of the SkyActiv technologies. It’s scalable.

“People have said that the larger sports car project has been stopped. It has not stopped, because it was not existing. Rotary engines are our heartland and we are determined to continue to develop that technology. But we’ve never put that into our production programme. There are more potential uses than a sports car.” Moro pointed to the rotary’s suitability for hybrids and hydrogen. 

Meanwhile, plans for high-performance versions of conventional Mazdas remain tentative. Insiders admit that the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the new CX-3 could fit into the 2 supermini “in theory” but insist that there are no plans for a 2 MPS. However, CX-3 product manager Michio Tomiyma told Autocar that he is open to the idea of a performance version of the new baby crossover.

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Our Verdict

Mazda MX-5 2005-2015
Mazda's MX-5 has been established for decades as an affordable and enjoyable rear-drive convertible

The Mazda MX-5 is still great fun, and more grown up

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