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Mazda previews next MX-5

By Jonathan Hawley, 16 Apr 2014 News

Mazda MX-5 next-gen chassis

Next-generation Mazda sports car chassis rolls into New York

Mazda has released some details of its next-generation MX-5 and revealed the car’s underpinnings ahead of this week’s New York Auto Show, revealing its two-seater sports car will be smaller and lighter than ever.

As expected, rather than showing the whole car, Mazda has unveiled a rolling chassis comprising suspension, engine, drivetrain and subframes.

So, while the new design still remains a mystery, Mazda claims that shrink-wrapping panels over the new mechanical package will deliver even more exceptional driving thrills.

The MX-5 will lose 100kg in weight, largely by reducing front and rear overhangs for a shorter overall length, while actually having its wheelbase increased.

Extensive use of aluminium castings and a painstaking component-by-component analysis of each part already employed in the current car has reduced weight while maintaining crashworthiness.

Given that the current manual-equipped roadster is hardly a fatty at 1167kg, the next-gen MX-5 promises better straight-line performance from a SkyActiv 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.

The rolling chassis also shows that effort has been put into moving the engine further back to improve handling balance, although the current car’s 50/50 front/rear balance will remain.

The engine has also been mounted lower to further reduce the MX-5’s centre of gravity.

Mazda has indicated that the driving position will be pushed rearwards, which together with a shorter rear overhang may compromise boot space.

The new MX-5 is being launched next year and will be followed by either a Fiat or Alfa Romeo version using the same mechanical package but with different styling.