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2015 Mazda MX-5-Alfa Romeo Spider mule spied

The first tangible evidence of Alfa Romeo and Mazda’s joint roadster project has been sighted in the US, with these shots showing a development mule wearing cobbled-together current MX-5 panels.

The prototype was sighted near Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and given Alfa’s relationship with Chrysler, it’s likely we’re seeing the Alfa half of the project.

Mazda’s half of the bargain will yield the next generation MX-5 roadster, and Alfa Romeo will build a uniquely styled version with Alfa drivetrain components – tipped to be badged 2C Spider.

The images clearly show the new model will grow in wheelbase between the doors and the front wheelarches, creating overall proportions similar to the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ twins.

Also visible are headlights that protrude beyond the current body, suggesting the front overhang will also grow – likely to suit European pedestrian safety standards.

The doors look to have been lengthened, and pumped up rear wheelarches suggest track widths will also grow. The exhaust outlets are also slightly different to the current MX-5, and their finished appearance could mean we are looking at the Alfa’s production tips.

The Alfa is likely to use a version of its MultiAir 1.4 litre turbo four cylinder engine, while the Mazda is expected to use a 1.3 litre turbo Skyactiv unit

Both versions are expected to undercut the current folding-hardtop MX-5’s 1167kg weight, with Mazda targeting 1000kg through its Skyactiv weight reduction strategy. The new MX-5 is set to appear some time in 2015, with the Alfa version appearing soon after.