There's a 2.0-litre engine for some regions, including the UK. Both powerplants are reworked versions of engines already powering the company’s hatchbacks and offer 129bhp and 158bhp respectively.
This represents a small power advantage over the previous generation – our source admitted that the "US market wouldn’t accept less power" – but with the weight savings, superior power-to-weight ratios, extra performance and considerable fuel economy and CO2 advantages have been brought to the MX-5.
Mazda is already being bullish about the credentials of the new rear-drive chassis which, as before, has double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear end.
Company boss Masamichi Kogai has already talked about the new car recapturing the agility and fun of the first generation model. "The original concept behind the MX-5 was so simple; to offer the pure joy of a lightweight sports car that moves precisely as the driver intends," he said.
To assist this the engine now sits lower and further back than previously, lowering the centre of gravity and, according to product development boss Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the MX-5 now has a perfect 50:50 weight balance.
The design work was mainly carried out at the company’s Japanese headquarters under the direction of Ikuo Maeda. Like the company’s recent saloons and hatchbacks it’s referred to as being part of the ‘Kodo’ design philosophy – but it’s a more simple, sculptured look than we’ve come to expect from modern Mazdas. It's more sharp-edged than with previous MX-5s too.
Celebrating 25 years of the Mazda MX-5 - picture special
Inside, there are plenty of MX-5 hallmarks. It’s still a snug two-seater and it’s still possible to lower the manually operated soft-top hood with one hand. You still sit low in the car but the view out is claimed to be superior as the bonnet has been lowered and the A-pillars and windscreen header rail have been made thinner.
Like previous incarnations, the cabin looks cluttered and all the controls are simple. The centre of the dash top is now dominated by an infotainment screen, derived from the Mazda 3 hatch. Like other Mazdas it’s also controlled by a rotary knob, nestling next to the conventional handbrake.
There’s also a tangible uplift in cabin quality compared to previous incarnations, with far more soft-touch surfaces and more stowage space. More attention has also been paid to keep passengers from being buffeted whilst driving with the hood down. Mk1 MX-5 fans will also no doubt recognise the headrest-mounted speakers, intended to help maintain music volume with the roof down.
Body-coloured inserts on the door tops are, said Yamamoto, designed to bring the outside into the car’s cabin and break down the “border” between outside and inside that the doors would normally form.
A folding metal-roofed coupé will join the line-up later, as this model currently accounts for 80 per cent of UK sales and is popular among many European and Japanese market buyers. The second generation folding hard-top is said to be lighter and packaged more efficiently, delivering slightly improved boot volume.
To achieve economies of scale, the MX-5 is being developed built alongside the Fiat 124 Spider.
See What Car?'s Mazda Mx-5 video preview
Watch the Mazda MX-5 reveal video
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