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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.
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.
“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.