Mazda debuts 25th anniversary MX-5 Miata and next-gen SKYACTIV chassis at NY Auto Show
While it has a reputation as a hairdresser’s car in parts of the world, there is no denying the fact that Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is one of the most iconic sports cars ever built.
In its 25 years on the road, it has become the open-top benchmark. While there are certainly faster, often cooler and way more expensive examples of open-top 2-seaters, with over 940,000 units sold, the Miata is far and away the most popular.
To mark the Miata’s 25th anniversary, Mazda unveiled a special edition 25th anniversary model at the New York Auto Show (open to the public between 18-27 April).
Based on the Hardtop model, it is available with either a 6 speed manual or that other type of transmission that no driving enthusiast will ever choose.
It only comes in red (Soul Red Metallic), has a black roof, an off-white leather interior, and looks like a Mazda MX-5. The upgrades that really matter are improved Bilstein dampers and lighter engine internals which should improve the car’s response and feel.
The big news from New York, however - and the reason our tech sensors picked up on this - was the new SKYACTIV chassis that’s going into the next MX-5. The changes are very small and evolutionary, but they should make for an excellent little car.
It is lighter and more compact, yet more rigid and stable. Mazda aims to reduce the overall weight of the car by 100kgs and lower the engine’s center of gravity. The engine itself has been moved back behind the front axle (It sits squarely above it currently) much like the legendary Honda S2000 and Lotus 7.
It will also include all the latest SKYACTIV technologies and thus will likely herald some of the newer electronic systems like all-electric steering, electric climate control, and regenerative braking. There is no word on the performance specs but with a 100kg weight reduction, it’s unlikely they’ll cram any more horses under the hood, opting instead for improved economy from one of their (current or yet unreleased) high compression SKYACTIV engines.
The MX-5 is all about lightweight simplicity and a visceral driving experience, so even with the newer technologies, it should still be cracking fun to drive. If they pair that with a body related to the current Mazda 6 sedan… It could turn out to be quite drool-worthy.
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