Drop top laid bare

Mazda unveils its next top­less model

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MOTORING ED­I­TOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

MAZDA has laid bare its next gen­er­a­tion MX-5 sports car at the New York mo­tor show.

It took the un­usual step of un­veil­ing just the barest of es­sen­tials — the en­gine and chas­sis (in­set) — a move driven by the Ja­panese brand’s de­sire to show that the new MX-5 is still purely Mazda DNA. An Alfa Romeo ver­sion of the same car is to be made in the same fac­tory.

The deal be­tween the un­likely pair was bro­kered al­most two years ago: Mazda needed economies of scale to help de­velop the new MX-5 and Alfa Romeo was in need of a fun, af­ford­able sports-car.

The MX-5 and the Alfa will look com­pletely dif­fer­ent. They may not even share engines.

The MX-5 is due to bow first, with tis un­veil­ing ex­pected later this year ahead of its ar­rival in the se­cond half of 2015.

It’s ex­pected to be smaller and lighter than the car it re­places. Mazda fa­mously mea­sures the weight of ev­ery MX-5 com­po­nent — once de­vel­op­ing a thin­ner raid­ion an­tenna — to save weight. Cars­guide un­der­stands the com­pany has set an am­bi­tious tar­get of 1000kg.

The orig­i­nal Mazda MX-5 weighed just 940kg, the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion model weighed 1065kg. The cur­rent ver­sion is 1167kg due in part to its fold­ing hard top.

Spy pho­tos of the fourth­gen­er­a­tion, 2015 Mazda MX-5 dur­ing testing show the next model is smaller than the cur­rent car in its over­all di­men­sions, but the foot­print has grown. The soft-top roof re­turns.

On the new model Mazda is also ex­pected to in­tro­duce its fuel-sav­ing “Skyactiv” tech­nol­ogy, the name given to a spe­cial type of en­gine tun­ing that runs a high com­pres­sion ra­tio which de­liv­ers fuel econ­omy sav­ings.

Mean­while, it un­veiled the fi­nal edi­tion that will see out the cur­rent MX-5 (main pic­ture).

Just 1000 ver­sions of the 25th an­niver­sary Mazda MX-5 will be made glob­ally, with 40 des­tined for Aus­tralia. Due on sale later this year, they will have Bil­stein sports sus­pen­sion, while the 2.0litre four-cylin­der en­gine with gain spe­cially mod­i­fied pis­tons, con­rods and a fly­wheel.

Vis­ually, the limited pro­duc­tion model will gain unique 25th an­niver­sary badg­ing (in­clud­ing a build num­ber), white leather trim and char­coal-fin­ish al­loy wheels.

It comes in metal­lic red only. To re­flect the sales mix of the cur­rent model, about 30 per cent of the 25th an­niver­sary mod­els will come with au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

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