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The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 this week achieved an unprecedented double at the annual World Car of the Year Awards in New York, picking up the gongs for best design and the overall best car.

The fourth-generation of Mazda’s iconic MX-5 convertible, released last year and racking up record sales, took all before it. It beat out the newly released Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC for best car, and the Jaguar XE and its own CX-3 sibling for best design.

This has been chalked up to the new model’s big weight loss and return to the flavour of the classic 1989 NA that started it all. In many markets, Australia included, it also received a big price cut.

The World Car of the Year Awards have five categories. The best green car was adjudged the hydrogen fuel-cell Toyota Mirai, the best luxury car was the new-generation BMW 7 Series and the best performance car the Audi R8.

Mazda MX-5 2.0L_05

But Mazda was the obvious star of the show. The World Car of the Year Awards might be considered to be something akin to the Academy Awards for cars.

The awards are comprised of tallied votes from 73 car journalists in 23 countries, each of whom has tested the car in their own markets.

“What a wonderful honour to have the Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year,” said Mazda Corporation managing executive officer, and its new US chief, Masahiro Moro.

“As our iconic MX-5 roadster approached one-million units of production (it’s 8000 units shy), this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever, and proof that every Mazda looks as incredible as it drives, and drives as incredibly as it looks.

Mazda MX-5 2.0L_07

“While I accept this award on behalf on the company, I do so representing every Mazda employee, retail partner and customer around the world who has ever felt the joy of driving a pure roadster.”

Mazda design head Ikuo Maeda also chipped in, saying the company’s design language, which it calls Kodo, aims to bring cars to life — proverbially.

“Mazda is a proud Japanese brand and we are determined to continue enhancing our designs moving forwards,” he added.

But perhaps the best commentary was the one we sourced from the Mazda stand at the New York motor show. It’s from the man who led actual MX-5 design project, Masashi Nakayama.

“Really excited, unbelievable because we doubled, so fantastic and amazing, too good to me,” he said.

2016 World Car of the Year
Mazda MX-5

2016 World Luxury Car
BMW 7 Series

2016 World Performance Car
Audi R8 coupe

2016 World Car Design of the Year
Mazda MX-5

2016 World Green Car
Toyota Mirai