Mazda has finally offered an official look at its new ‘ND’ MX-5 roadster, revealing the sports car’s architecture at this week’s New York Auto Show.
It will be nearly a full year before the new model makes its proper debut, but today’s unveiling brings a few telling reveals of its own.
As promised, the new MX-5 will boast a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, with the engine positioned almost entirely behind the front axle.
The new SkyActiv chassis is focused on strength and light-weight construction, and Mazda says it will help to slash around a 100kg from the MX-5’s kerb weight.
In its current ‘NC’ form, the MX-5 lists kerb weights between 1110 and 1153kg, depending on the model and specification.
“Although it is still in the development stage, this chassis with its front-midship-engine layout and rear-wheel-drive configuration, shows the direction of the new model,” Mazda says.
Mazda says the new model, with its low-set engine, will also boast the lowest centre of gravity yet for the MX-5 range.
“Mazda firmly believes that even while meeting [modern safety and space] demands, the fun of being one with the car - the exhilaration felt by any driver on any kind of road, which to Mazda is the fundamental attribute of the lightweight sports car - must be maintained,” the company says.
“To do this, Mazda considers it essential to realise a different kind of innovation that goes way beyond mere product refinement.”
We’ll also see the return of the MX-5’s ‘power plant frame’ between the transmission and rear axle to counter twisting forces enacted during acceleration and deceleration.
Little is known about the new model’s powerplant, although it is believed we’ll see both a 2.0 litre petrol model and an entry-level 1.5 litre option, both based on Mazda’s high-compression SkyActiv engine technology.
On the styling front, it has been reported that the new MX-5 will take on a sharper look, more in line with Mazda’s wider range and away from the ‘soap bar’ shape of its predecessors.
Mazda design boss Peter Birtwhistle has previously said the car will have “an edgier look” than past MX-5 models.
Watch for the new MX-5 to appear in the coming year - likely at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show in February.