Ja­pan’s su­per­star takes an Ital­ian edge

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Gotcha - PAUL GOVER CHIEF REPORTER paul.gover@carsguide.com.au

The world’s favourite sports car, the Mazda MX-5, will be new again in 2015.

Not just that, but the Ja­panese su­per­star also will be twinned as an Alfa Romeo Spi­der in a clever copy­cat move — think Toy­ota 86 and Subaru BRZ — to gen­er­ate the cash for the change.

The re-imag­ined MX-5 is ex­pected to be much more grown-up than to­day’s car and not just be­cause the first scoop pic­tures of the com­ing road­ster point to a model that’s go­ing to be longer, lower and wider.

It also picks up Sky­Ac­tiv tech­nol­ogy for stronger per­for­mance with less fuel use. Over­all, the tip is for greater re­fine­ment and a big­ger cabin. Test­ing has just be­gun with in­evitable hot laps at the Nur­bur­gring, the pun­ish­ing Ger­man track, for es­sen­tial chas­sis tun­ing work. Carparazzi caught this MX-5 test mule dur­ing its ini­tial track foray and the pic­tures in­di­cate sig­nif­i­cant changes in the car’s di­men­sions.

The chopped-up body­work of a cur­rent third-gen­er­a­tion MX-5 re­flects a longer nose, ex­tra cen­time­tres in the wheel­base and ex­tra width in the track be­neath ex­tended arches.

Wheels and brakes look much like to­day’s items but the ex­haust is a de­par­ture from the cur­rent car.

The other not chang­ing is the fold­ing roof over a twoseater cabin, the ba­sic recipe that’s made the MX-5 an on­go­ing suc­cess since the orig­i­nal hit the road in 1989.

Alfa Romeo is re­veal­ing few de­tails about its ver­sion of the MX-5. We can sur­mise that it will in­stall its own en­gine — per­haps a de­vel­op­ment of the 1.7-litre turbo fit­ted to the 4C — to give the car an Ital­ian edge in the con­ven­tional rear-wheel drive pack­age be­ing re­vived for the 21st-cen­tury Spi­der.

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