Some things won't be changing about the next-gen roadster.
At the end of last year, we bid farewell to the designer of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Shunji Tanaka, and welcomed a refreshed Miata with new colors and sharper dynamics. This agile little sports car has played a significant role in the world of car enthusiasts and motorsports thanks to its balanced and engaging driving dynamics, and Mazda is all too aware of its status among the automotive fraternity. Mazda, as with most major manufacturers, is clearly moving towards an electric future, and had previously said the Miata might have to go hybrid. But according to Mazda's head of product development and engineering in Europe, Joachim Kunz, the next-generation MX-5 Miata will be more focused than ever before and will be separate from the company's mainstream models.
The Mazda MX-5 has traditionally been powered by a small-capacity naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine which sends its power exclusively to the rear wheels via a manual gearbox, although automatics have always been optional. And if all goes according to plan, it will remain that way.
"It's our brand icon and it is always treated very specially. At the moment, it looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine. Of course, some day, we will have to electrify it, but we want to keep this pure concept," Kunz told Autocar. He did, however, note that Mazda Europe has less say over the MX-5, as the design and overall concept of this legendary little sports car falls under the strict jurisdiction of the Japanese headquarters.
What we do know is that Mazda will not be basing the new car on its small car architecture, which means it will remain a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, as the car gods intended.
That being said, the fourth generation isn't going anywhere for a while. "Having one generation for 10 years is not a problem for us," said Kunz, which could indicate that the ND will stick around until at least 2024 after being unveiled in 2014. In that time, the ND will have made quite the impression, winning the 2015-2016 Japanese Car of the Year award and the 2016 World Car of the Year award. Earlier this year, a patent filed by Mazda hinted that the next-generation Miata might be able to retain its lightweight despite hybrid assistance. Instead, we suspect that the new Miata will reap the benefits of Mazda's SkyActiv-X technology plus some hybrid assistance. All we hope for is a rev-happy, lightweight RWD car that conjures up stupid grins.