8 February 2005

The slow-burn build-up to the launch of Mazda’s new MX-5 continues, with this ‘official spy shot’ of the second-generation roadster. The covers come off the new two-seater at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March, nearly 15 years after the original car arrived in UK showrooms. Sales start this November. The classic front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout has predictably been maintained, and the company’s engineers have tried to improve upon the chassis of what is still one of the finest-handling cars on sale, despite its advancing years. The new car will be based on a shortened version of the RX-8’s chassis.

Power will be boosted thanks to a choice of 1.8- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines instead of the current 1.6 and 1.8, although a weight increase is likely to negate any major performance gains.

The teaser shot reveals narrower, more-aggressive headlights reminiscent of the RX-8 coupé’s, with the design team (led by Brit Moray Callum) aiming for a more muscular appearance than the current model.

The interior will follow recent Mazda design cues, using features from the RX-8, particularly the cockpit-dividing centre console design, and from the Ibuki, an MX-5 concept car revealed at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show. Mazda will also use the Geneva show to unveil a revamped version of the Ford Mondeo-rivalling 6 saloon. Launched in summer 2002, the 6 was the first in a line of more-competitive Mazda products that kick-started the brand’s recovery. Work has centred on improving the 6’s refinement, with improved body rigidity claimed to improve handling and stability. The car will also get some minor visual changes to freshen its appearance.

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