We already knew the next-generation Mazda MX-5, the NE, was going to embrace electrification, but now a new report has revealed what exactly is in store for the roadster.
According to Autocar, the NE MX-5 will unsurprisingly be powered by Mazda’s emerging SkyActiv-X petrol engine, which features innovative spark-controlled compression ignition and is complemented by a fuel-saving mild-hybrid system.
As such, the NE MX-5 won’t follow in the tyre tracks of most other next-generation Mazda models, which will be available with more expensive, heavier plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-electric (BEV) powertrains.
Of course, weight is an important factor for the MX-5 series, which leans heavily on its lightness to deliver higher performance than its relatively modest outputs suggest.
It’s not yet known if the NE MX-5 will get the Mazda3 small car and CX-30 small SUV’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder version of SkyActiv-X, or the next-generation Mazda2 light car and CX-3 light SUV’s rumoured 1.5-litre unit.
These engine options seem like a logical fit for the NE MX-5, as the preceding ND currently offers similarly sized units, with outputs ranging from 97kW/152Nm to 135kW/205Nm.
If the Mazda3 and CX-30 are any guide, a 2.0-litre variant of the NE MX-5 should punch out at least 132kW/224Nm, but expect it to increase power and – possibly – torque as it instead prioritises performance over efficiency.
Also expected for the NE MX-5 are standard rear-wheel-drive and an optional manual transmission, alongside an automatic unit, as Mazda has already proven SkyActiv-X can be fitted with a purist-friendly three-pedal setup.
The GT RS joined the ND MX-5 range as part of its MY21 update.
As for when the NE will be revealed, based on previous MX-5 lifecycles, the aforementioned UK publication speculates it could go on sale in 2024, so there’s still plenty of life left in the ND.
Speaking of the ND, it’s about to get another model-year update, with Best Car Webclaiming the MY22 MX-5 will be officially unveiled imminently.
This time around, the ND MX-5’s upgrades focus on suspension, with a Mazda spokesperson telling the Japanese publication it “has evolved in a generally softer direction”.
Time will tell what else the ND MX-5’s MY22 update has in store, but CarsGuide understands it will reach Australian showrooms in the first quarter of next year, so we won’t have to wait long to find out. Stay tuned.