Mazda Pledges To Keep MX-5 On RWD Platform With Gasoline Engine

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While nearly all automakers are downsizing on the road to embracing EVs, Mazda is doing just the opposite. It recently announced a new rear-wheel drive platform that delivers a pair of inline-six petrol and diesel engines. Moreover, it is one of the last automakers to still sell cars with naturally aspirated powertrains. Not only that, but it still sees a future for oil burners in some parts of the world.

In the world of roadsters, the MX-5 remains alive and well despite constant pressure from regulators to reduce fleet emissions. Autocar spoke with Mazda’s head of product development and engineering in Europe, and he reassured fans that the Miata will remain the Miata: “It’s an icon of our brand and has always been treated very special. At the moment, it looks like we’ll have this car forever, with its size and concept. and this combustion engine.”

He admits there will come a day when “we have to electrocute him, but we want to keep this pure concept.” Joachim Kunz points out the MX-5 will not switch to the existing platform used by other cars and SUVs because that would mean the loss of RWD. He went on to say most of the development work was done in-house in Japan as the sporty roadster “is the baby of the base.”

While an exact date for when the ND generation will be replaced is not given, Kunz advises it won’t be anytime soon: “Having a generation for 10 years is not a problem for us.” That’s because the MX-5 has a special place in the company’s lineup, set apart from its mainstream vehicles. His statement suggests the NE model is highly unlikely to come out before 2024 given the current car was launched in 2014.

When it finally arrives, the new MX-5 will largely retain the formula that made it the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car. However, a company spokesperson told us in June 2021 that “Mazda is seeking to electrify the MX-5 Miata in an effort to have all models feature an electrified form by 2030.” A plug-in hybrid seems unlikely as it would add a lot of weight and create problems with packaging, so our money is on a full hybrid setup or the more likely 48V mild hybrid system.

Whatever the case, the NE-gen model may end up being heavier than the current car, which weighs an incredible 2,182 pounds (990 kilograms) in the JDM special edition 990S.

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