UPDATE: $31,990 price confirmed. Read here.
Mazda Australia has at last confirmed a specific launch window for its new MX-5 roadster, now locked in for a mid-August showroom debut.
The compact and lightweight new droptop sports car will initially launch with a small 1.5 litre petrol engine, which offers 96kW and 150Nm in its overseas guise and should deliver similar (if not identical) numbers here.
A larger 115kW/200Nm 2.0 litre engine is also confirmed for Australia, although it will not appear in August. Exact timing for that engine’s local debut is still to be confirmed, although details are expected to come in the weeks ahead.
A six-speed manual transmission will be the only shifter available with the 1.5 engine from launch, but, like the 2.0 litre mill, Mazda expects to flesh the range out with an auto option later down the road.
In its 1.5 litre and six-speed manual configuration, matched with a soft-top folding roof, the Australian-delivered 'ND' MX-5 will weigh in from 1009kg.
That's just 69kg heavier than the original ‘NA’ MX-5 that debuted in 1989, a touch lighter than the 1030kg second-gen 'NB', and a considerable saving on the comparatively hefty 1100kg NC model that the ND will replace.
Mazda says that 30 percent of the new model’s weight savings are found in the chassis and powertrain, while 40 percent is due to new construction techniques and another 30 percent was found in the use of lighter materials.
Specific highlights include a 17kg lighter engine design, 7kg and 10kg reductions in the transmission and differential respectively, 13kg in the suspension system and 20kg in the body-in-white design.
In the engine itself, Mazda saved 2kg through improvements in thermal efficiency, allowing the engine oil cooler to be deleted.
The use of aluminium and high-tensile steel has increased from 58 to 71 percent between the outgoing ‘NC’ model and this new generation.
Likewise, ultra high-tensile steel use has increased from 12 to 21 percent. New aluminium bumper reinforcements save 4.2kg on their own.
Mazda’s commitment to bringing the new MX-5 closer than ever to its roots is clearly evident in the steps taken to find weight savings wherever possible - a goal driven by the desire to celebrate the badge’s 25 year history.
Pricing for the new model is expected to begin below $40,000, climbing to around $50,000 for the more powerful 2.0 litre option.
Specific details, however, will not be revealed until closer to the new MX-5’s August debut.
Stay tuned to TMR for more as it comes, and watch for our ‘first drive’ review.