The 2015 Mazda MX-5 will arrive in Australia late next year, priced below $40,000, with a Skyactiv-G 1.5-litre non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.

Mazda is yet to release power and torque figures for the engine, but it will redline at 7500rpm, with the tachometer on the model displayed at the 2014 Paris motor show extending to 8000rpm.

Although of the same capacity as the new Mazda 2, the engine in the MX-5 will be “heavily remodelled” according to Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak, and of course positioned north-south in the engine bay for drive to the rear wheels as opposed to the east-west configuration that is used to power the fronts in the 2.

2015 Mazda MX-5_4

Mazda has said the MX-5 engine will run “ultra-high compression” with split twin exhausts, where the Mazda 2 has a 13.0:1 compression ratio, produces 81kW of power and 142Nm of torque and gets only a single exhaust.

Mazda has confirmed that both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be available.

In accordance with a 100-kilogram kerb weight drop compared with the outgoing MX-5, and if the engine can deliver around 100kW and 160Nm, the circa-1000kg two-seat roadster should be able to reach 100km/h in about 8.0 seconds.

MX-5_2014_technical_02

It is all-but certain that a larger 2.0-litre engine will be available, aimed primarily at the North American market - meaning a potential Los Angeles motor show debut. However, Mazda executives remained tight-lipped when asked the question about a bigger engine, which would also be an ideal fit for our performance-hungry market.

“We haven’t confirmed any other powertrain,” said Mazda Australia public relations senior manager Steve Maciver.

“The only thing communicated so far is that that car [at the Paris motor show] is a 1.5 … there are no power outputs. At this stage there’s a 1.5 and that’s all that’s been announced.”

2015 Mazda MX-5__8

If a 2.0-litre engine has about 140kW and 210Nm, it could better the circa-7.8 second 0-100km/h time of the previous model in the smaller, lighter new MX-5.

Likewise it is also assured that the 1.5-litre engine will help Mazda Australia get the entry MX-5 price tag of less than $40,000 when it arrives in the second half of 2015.

“We’ve always tried to maximise value and that doesn’t change," Doak said. "And just because it’s MX-5 doesn’t make it more or less important than any of the other cars. It’s an ongoing proposition with all of our cars. We’ll offer value.”

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Doak said a re-priced MX-5 wouldn’t be the only reason for an expected increase in popularity, however, nominating styling and awareness as other key factors.

“We’ve done some research and there’s a lot of people that aren’t even aware of MX-5 because we haven’t done anything with it for a few years, so that’s a big opportunity for us to start talking about it again.”