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Current MX-5 to go out with a bang as Mazda sees off petrol-powered roadster

The ND MX-5 could be the longest-running Mazda roadster generation.

The existing ND-series MX-5 will play host to more special-edition variants as the swansong for fully petrol-powered sports car from Mazda.

Speaking to CarsGuide at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Mazda MX-5 Program Manager Shigeki Saito said the fourth-generation MX-5 still has more to give, despite being nearly 10-years old.

“We like to do whatever we can, utilising the ND, because we think that the ND has a very high potential, therefore we’d like to do everything – whatever we can do,” he said.

“And then I think as time comes, probably the shift to EVs is even more accelerated, after that we think we can [deliver and electric MX-5].

“We are already planning [special editions] to make something very cool – we are already thinking about cool special editions.”

Previous-generation MX-5s were also given fan-favourite special editions too, with the NA scoring Special Edition finished in British Racing Green, the NB receiving a factory turbocharged Mazdaspeed (known in Australia as the SP) and the NC getting a 25th Anniversary Edition in Mazda’s signature Soul Red Metallic colourway.

The ND has already received a number of special-edition and market-specific variants, including the 30th Anniversary Edition in 2019 with an exclusive Racing Orange colour, as well as a 100th Anniversary in 2020 variant to celebrate Mazda’s centenary.

A total of 3000 30th Anniversary Edition will be built, with only 30 coming to Australia. A total of 3000 30th Anniversary Edition will be built, with only 30 coming to Australia.

The ND is now expected to be the longest-running generation of MX-5, having been introduced in 2015, compared to the NA that lasted eight years (1989-1997), the NB that last seven years (1998-2005) and the NC that went on for 10 years (2005-2015).

When asked when to expect the NE-series MX-5, Saito said: “We don’t have any specific timeframe.”

Without a clear plan as to what powertrain the NE will utilise, it is likely a new generation of MX-5 will not materialise until the second half of the decade, making the ND older than the NC.

With a sub-1000kg target for the new MX-5, Saito indicated that waiting for advancements in battery technology to keep the weight down could be at least half a decade away.

“We’re not really sure, but if we look at the trend of battery size and weight, maybe in like less than five years, it’s going to be a very small and very light battery [that] would be available to use,” he said.

This would mean a market introduction around 2028, just before Mazda’s plan of offering an electric variant across its product line-up by 2030.

However, Saito made it clear that the ND won’t have a problem staying competitive against newer rivals like the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ.

“For as long as possible we’d like to keep ND, and then of course we’d like to satisfy compliance with so many regulations,” he said.