The 2016 Mazda MX-5, aka the Miata, had its global unveiling in Monterey, California tonight after remaining one of the industry’s best kept secrets. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the car, which holds the title as the best selling roadster of all time – so no pressure on the design team.
Loosely based off iconic roadsters from British firms like Austin Healey, the MGB and Lotus' Elan, the Miata/MX-5 has gone through a number of design and style changes over the years, but has ultimately remained true to its original mandate.
We first got a taste of the architecture and underpinnings of the MX-5 at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Set on its own display, hidden amongst an array of Miatas, Mazda showed off an all new MX-5 chassis and drivetrain. But that's all the company has divulged about the car since then. But tonight it finally took the wraps off the car to a packed house somewhere in Monterey.
"The re-design of the new MX-5 meant finding a balance between classic roadster styling and a new, modern take on design," said Derek Jenkins, the Mazda Design Director who hosted the event. "But in the new car we hopefully have found that balance with a design that is dramatic yet still reminiscent of the original concept."
Starting out at the MX-5's new nose, Jenkins pointed out how the new hoodline is quite a bit lower and more aggressive than previous models, while the noseline now starts much closer to the ground than before. And the front end is not only lower, it’s also sharper and more dramatic – a term Jenkins used repeatedly throughout the presentation. The new tapered headlights sit above a hungry looking grill opening, flanked by chiseled duct openings reminiscent of a Mustang. The car not only features a perfect 50:50 weight distribution but has also trimmed a significant amount of fat from the Series 3 models. The 2016 MX-5 has lost 220 lb (100 kg) in comparison to the last version. For a car this size that figure is indeed impressive.
Not only is the car more sculptural, it's also wider, which in theory should only enhance cornering stability and handling capabilities. That added hip width also adds to the car's more dramatic stance and further accentuates the revised design details. Moving down the side of the car Jenkins draws attention to the reworked hips and dramatic rear taper out back.
From the three-quarter view, the car has a touch of BMW Z4 in it, as well as a hint of Honda S2000 – the car still retains its own identity and style but it's something the fanboys will surely make note of. The A-pillar remains blacked out again, which coincides nicely with the all-black interior. "The interior of the new MX-5 is nicely finished out but very much driver focused," states Jenkins.
Specs and options for the Japanese version indicate the car is set to be outfitted with a SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual gearbox connected to a SKYACTIV-G direct injection petrol powered engine. Suspension up front is of a double wishbone configuration, whereas a multilink setup has been put in place in the rear. Steering will be of the electric power assisted rack and pinion variety.
No word on pricing, but the new 2016 MX-5 is set to be available in North America starting sometime in 2015. We're hoping for sooner rather than later.