The Mazda MX-5 Miata is an iconic roadster and the worlds most popular convertible car so with a new model expected this year the Japanese brand have a challenge on their hands. We will see the result after the 3rd September 2014 launch date but Mazda have treated us to the above teaser video that suggests the new car will be big step forward from the current model which dates all the way back to 2005. The busy engine note and tag line “it’s not an evolution, it’s a revolution” appears to signify a return to the rotary engine which has long mean a Mazda speciality.
The Wankel rotary engine traditionally has both strengths and weaknesses that have limited its use in mass-produced cars but unconventional Mazda has continued to develop it. While the design has produced excellent high revving performance from a compact, lightweight engine it has always been plagued by fuel economy issues. However in 2012 when the rotary powered RX-8 was discontinued the Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi went on record to say that the company was considering a new generation of the technology. With the current trend for super efficient power-plants, this return to the rotary engine suggests a potential design breakthrough that would keep it within the economy range of engines with similar power outputs.
Current design strategies to optimise economy include automatic start-stop systems, cylinder-on-demand (which reduces the number of engine cylinders being used when they are not required) and turbo-charging. These methods could be used on the rotary engine to improve fuel efficiency however Mazda may also have some other innovation. The design will also feature a new SKYACTIV-Chassis (pictured above with a traditional four cylinder engine) that will provide a stiff, lightweight core to the roadster’s layout. The SKYACTIV design ethos is a reduction in emissions and fuel consumption through a weight reduction strategy.
With nearly 1 million cars produced and celebrating its 25th anniversary the MX-5 is a global success story which returned the world to its love affair with the roadster. The design reflected the fun classic roadsters of the 1960s (particularly the Lotus Elan) but made it more accessible as a reliable every-day car. This teaser video suggests that the new fourth-generation Miata design will be performance focused which will go down well with MX-5 enthusiasts who often claim the back-to-basics original model to be the best driver’s car. When we reviewed the outgoing model we fell for its honest simplicity, driver appeal and price tag.
The campaign for the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Roadster comes under the banner “Long live the Roadster” and will start with an official unveiling in simultaneous events in Europe, America and Japan from the 3rd-4th September. The event also coincides with a holiday celebrated as Thanks Day in Japan and Mazda say that they want to use the opportunity to give thanks to their fans who are invited, in limited numbers, to attend public events on the 4th September.