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2015 Mazda MX-5 revealed


New Mazda MX-5 on sale in Australia next year priced close to $30,000, about $15,000 less than the current model.

Mazda has unveiled the successor to the world’s top-selling sports-car, the MX-5 convertible.

In a bizarre display at the global unveiling in Monterey California, the Japanese company used 1980s pop sensations Duran Duran to take the covers off the first all-new MX-5 since the original was launched 25 years ago.

When the MX-5 first went on sale, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States and the Australian cricket team regained the Ashes on UK soil for the first time in 40 years.

Still not feeling old? The year 1989 was when Australian Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo was born.

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Mazda is trying to tug at the retro heartstrings with the new model because it is one of the few Japanese cars that have developed a global cult following.

But, much like its owners, the Mazda MX-5 put on some middle-age spread over the past decade or so, getting bigger and heavier with each new model.

The latest MX-5, however, has lost much of the weight it had put on over the years and gone back to its roots, weighing less than 1000kg for the first time since the original.

The other good news for sports-car fans is that Mazda will bring the MX-5’s price back to basics.

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When the fourth-generation car goes on sale in Australia in late 2015 it will likely have a starting price close to $30,000 -- about $15,000 less than today's car -- and once again be available exclusively with a soft-top roof.

Since 2006 the Mazda MX-5 has had a folding metal roof to help it weather storms and thwart thieves, but this has added weight, complexity and cost.

The new model is expected to be available with a choice of two small and economical engines -- a 1.5 and a 2.0-litre -- and a version with a folding metal roof is due to follow in the coming years.

The new MX-5 is also significant because it is the first time Mazda will share a car with Italian car makers Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

The Italian version of the MX-5, due to be unveiled later this year, will be made in Japan and have a unique appearance and engines.

Alfa Romeo announced two years ago that it would work with Mazda to deliver a low-cost two-seater sports-car.

But the Italian company has since hinted that the convertible will be sold as a Fiat, its sister brand, rather than an Alfa Romeo.

In the meantime, Mazda has revealed little other detail on the new MX-5, only showing that it is smaller and lighter than before, and announcing it will be on-sale next year.

 

Watch the 2015 Mazda MX-5 launch video here.