In the three-plus decades that have passed since Mazda first introduced the MX-5 Miata back in 1989, many rivals have tried to dethrone this as the world’s best-selling sports car. And while brilliant machines were born in the process (GR86/BRZ, anybody?), the crown remains with the little Japanese roadster. As such, Mazda is extremely motivated to avoid compromises for the next-generation MX-5 Miata. So the fact that the current ND generation entered production in 2015 doesn’t necessarily mean the carmaker is in a rush to replace it. Thus, you can expect the next Mazda MX-5 Miata (NE) to arrive in 2024, as a 2025 model in North America.
Mazda hasn’t concealed the fact that Japan remains the core location for the development of its iconic sports car. And while we’re not aware of the probable prototype testing the carmaker has handled over there, the NE Miata made its spyshot debut in Germany last month.
Those were test mules hiding the next-gen hardware under the body of the current car, albeit while sporting rear fender extensions hinting at a larger rear track. Design-wise, that tells us little, which is why this rendering is rooted in Mazda’s overall design language rather than being strictly based on the spied prototypes.
Its creator, a digital artist known as trubni89, envisioned an uber-compact approach for the next-gen MX-5. Now, given the technical challenges that await the sports car (more on this below), this kei car-inspired approach can always be seen as a way to keep the scales footprint in check. And with Mazda’s current designs being among the most-loved in the industry, there’s no reason to expect anything but a looker as far as the real NE Miata is concerned.
Updated platform, wider tracks
The said prototype sighting appears to confirm the hints dropped by various Mazda officials and rumors, which tell us that the fifth-generation MX-5 will maintain the uber-compact footprint of the current vehicle.
After all, Mazda went back to the drawing board for the present ND Miata, coming up with an all-new platform that’s seriously lightweight by contemporary car standards. So, it would only make sense to update the architecture rather than reinvent it for the NE Miata.
Regardless of which Miata generation you drive, this involves a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine sending its moderate power to the rear wheels via a manual, all under the open sky. Yes, you can have an automatic, as well as a retractable metal roof for the ND RF, but those are all additions to the basic recipe.
Probably the first electrified MX-5 Miata
And while emission regulations will most likely force a form of electrification into the Miata, the sports car will probably stick to the simplest, lightest version, namely a 48V mild-hybrid architecture.
Returning to the wider tracks mentioned above, the feature will help the next-gen Miata fair well in comparison tests, where lap times are among the top priorities. However, as anybody who’s had the pleasure of hooning an MX-5 will tell you, this is all about the purity of driving.
So don’t expect super-sticky factory tires—new rubber of the kind is an essential component to the unbelievable Nurburgring lap times that just keep improving, which is why, for instance, the atmospheric 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS recently proved it can beat the 918 Spyder hypercar from a decade ago by a whopping 13 seconds.
The current Miata range involves a pair of four-cylinder units, namely 1.5L with 129 hp (not offered in America) and a 2.0L, which went from 155 to 181 hp for the 2019MY update. As far as the NE Miata is concerned, you can expect some also-limited power gains for both units.
However, while the rumor mill mentions the new Skyactiv-X 1.5L engine being headed for the Miata, the engine, whose spark ignition tech boosts efficiency, is not currently offered in the US, so we’re talking these rumors with a grain of salt.