New style a sheer delight to drive
Mazda MX-5 significantly changed the direction of automotive history when it was introduced to a surprised world way back in 1989.
Until then, every tightening of safety regulations had caused car companies to pull out of designing open-top cars.
Mazda, ever the innovator, disagreed with this and the MX-5 was the result.
The styling of the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 sports roadster takes a completely different direction to its predecessors.
While the second and third generations (1997 and 2005) were evolutions of the original 1989 model, the gen-four designers have tossed away the plans and started with blank computer screens.
When I first saw the new MX-5 at the Paris Motor Show late last year, I had reservations about its shape.
Reservations that haven’t completely gone away.
Existing Mazda MX-5 owners also seem divided on the new style.
Mazda MX-5 is offered with two different engines.
A price-leading ($31,990) 1.5-litre, four-cylinder six-speed manual MX-5 is certainly appealing.
This engine produces a modest 96kW of power, and 150Nm of torque.
There’s also a 2.0-litre (118kW/ 200Nm) that comes in at $34,490 with the six-speed manual.
Automatic transmission, again with six forward ratios, adds $2000 to the price.
On-road charges have to be factored in, but being able to get into the driving seat of a Mazda MX-5 for under $35,000 is likely to have people rushing to showrooms.
Mazda Australia sees its main customers coming from two groups; young couples and empty nesters.
As well as the standard MX-5 Roadster, there’s also an upmarket one, the Roadster GT.
Available with the same engine/ transmission combinations as the lower cost model, the GT gains 16inch wheels, black door-mirror housings, a 7-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, internet radio, automatic lights and wipers, climate control on the air-conditioning and keyless entry and start.
The topline MX-5 GT with the 2.0-litre engine and automatic transmission is priced at $41,550: again, on-road charges have to be added.
Starting with a blank computer screen means the designers have been able to trim a significant amount of weight from that of the 1110kg gen-three MX-5, bringing the new car down to 1009kg.
Part of the weigh reduction means the MX-5 now has a soft-top again, not a folding hardtop.
Driving the all-new Mazda MX-5 is a sheer delight, even more enjoyable than in previous models.
The engine has been moved slightly backwards and the little roadster can be classed as mid-en- gined because its complete powerplant is within the wheelbase.
It has been lowered to bring the centre of gravity closer to the ground.
Also lower are the seats, which may prove a disadvantage to some.
Once settled in, the seats are great, with good support for enthusiastic cornering; cornering of the type that cries out to be explored, guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of those who love their cars.
Styling of the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 sports roadster takes a different direction to its predecessors.