These are the first pictures of the new Mazda MX-5, the car charged with replacing one of the biggest successes in recent automotive history. The original MX-5 was unveiled in February 1989, since when it has received just one major facelift and a few minor tweaks. More than 700,000 MX-5s have been sold worldwide, so the all-new model has plenty to live up to.
Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, the MX-5 will arrive in the UK late this year with a new chassis, new looks and new engines. Using a shortened version of the RX-8’s platform, the new car is still unmistakably MX-5. Mazda’s design team, led by Brit Moray Callum, has played it safe, reinterpreting the classic shape into an updated, more muscular design.
Callum has also resisted integrating the MX-5 into Mazda’s family style. ‘The 2, 3 and 6 are a deliberate attempt to give Mazda an identity, but the MX-5 has its own identity,’ he told Autocar last year.
The looks carry over several elements from the Ibuki concept car shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, particularly at the front end with its gaping oval mesh grille, rounded bonnet and aggressively flared wheelarches.
The new roadster is bigger than its predecessor in every dimension. Larger, 17-inch wheels fill the arches and the track is 75mm wider at the front and 55mm wider at the rear. The figures hint at more cabin space, with the wheelbase up 65mm to 2330mm, while shorter overhangs mean the car is just 20mm longer overall at 3995mm. An extra 40mm of width allows Mazda to offer side airbags for the first time, with the MX-5 now measuring 1720mm across, while 20mm of upward growth leaves the height at 1245mm.
The only big change to the manual canvas hood is the switch to a single latch from the current two-latch format. When folded, the roof still nestles behind the seats without encroaching on boot space. The rear end stays close to the current design, although the light cluster is reworked. Engineering