16 October 2003

Mazda’s MX-5 is harking back to its roots with this retro-styled roadster concept – confirming Autocar’s world exclusive cover story last week. The new Ibuki will be the star of the Mazda stand in Tokyo, and reveals one of the designs proposed for the MX-5 replacement due in 2007.

In particular, the concept’s face recalls the Mk1 MX-5, and modern technology allows the headlamps to copy the oval style of the original’s indicators and side lamps. The oval air intake is another retro feature.

However, modern touches are injected by the frameless windscreen and A-pillars with built-in indicators. At the rear, the brake lamp is incorporated into the Mazda badge, while the headlamp shape is repeated with body-coloured inserts.

When the production MX-5 arrives in 2007, it will be based on the rear-wheel-drive architecture of the new RX-8 coupé. A choice of four-cylinder engines is likely, from 1.6 to 2.0 litres.

It will remain true to the no-frills roadster formula that has made the MX-5 such a success, with a folding soft-top and affordable prices from around £15,000.

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