The latest version of the iconic Mazda MX-5 isn’t just a new generation car; it’s a total rethink of the world’s best-selling roadster.
With dwindling demand for its overweight and overpriced predecessor, the idea of a heavyweight investment in a brand new niche model was a bold move by the Japanese car manufacturer – just as it was a quarter of a century ago when Mazda first revived the convertible.
Prior to that, classic lightweight sports cars like the Lotus Elan, Triumph Spitfire and even the Alfa Romeo Spider, which had brought driving thrills to the masses, had either fallen out of favour with enthusiasts tired of dodgy reliability, or quite literally, been regulated off the road.
The entire segment would linger in the doldrums until 1989, when Mazda presented the first MX-5 to a market keen for the kind of lightweight, rear-wheel drive kicks it promised. It’s worth noting that Mazda’s inspiration for the two-seater roadsters were those very same euro-styled roadsters, which had become obsolete.
Despite notching up sales of more than a million cars over the following twenty-five years, recent iterations of the MX-5 continued to drift further and further away from the purest driving experience of the original.
Little wonder that Mazda says the all-new, fourth-generation of MX-5 owes more to the first than the last, with a ‘back to basics’ approach to its roadster formula