By: IOL Motoring Staff
It's hard to believe that Mazda's MX-5 has been around for 25 years now and in that time it's even notched up a Guinness World Record for being the world's top-selling two-seat sports car. Though it's hardly gone stale over the years - Mazda having kept it up to date through three redesigns - increasing safety standards have seen it become bigger and heavier over the years.
The just-unveiled fourth-generation MX-5 attempts to return to its roots without compromising any modern values and it does this through what Mazda calls its 'Skyactiv' engineering approach that seeks the best balance between weight, environmental friendliness and safety.
The result? According to Mazda, this all-new-from-the-ground-up MX-5 is around 100kg lighter than its predecessor. While much of this would be owed to structural design and making more body panels from aluminium (such as the bonnet, front fenders and bootlid), Mazda has also reduced the car's length by 80mm and its height by 10mm while its overall width has grown by 10mm.
The basic essentials of an enjoyable roadster are still in place, these being a front-midship-mounted engine feeding power to the rear wheels and a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. Aiding its cause is a multi-link rear suspension and double wishbones in front.
Naturally, this MX-5 is powered by a latest-generation Skyactiv direct injection petrol engine, but that's as much as Mazda is prepared to tell us for now. That said, the engine in question is almost certain to be an uprated version of the 2-litre Skyactiv found in the latest Mazda3. Given that it only produces 121kW in its current guise, Mazda's gonna have to beef it up.
Inside the two-seater cabin you'll get to enjoy tunes through Mazda's latest-generation MZD Connect infotainment system delivered to your ears through headrest-mounted speakers.
Yet the new MX-5's most radical departure from its predecessors is on the outside, where designers have applied Mazda's Kodo design language to give it a far more aggressive look than it's ever had.
Mazda will be relaunching in South Africa as an independent entity within the next month and we see no reason why this new MX-5 won't form part of the line-up somewhere down the line. Now just share those performance figures, Mazda.