This week, Mazda’s US arm announced an opening gambit on the fourth-generation MX-5 of US$24,915, about $1000 more than the predecessor model.
This figure, nevertheless, still undercuts the Scion FR-S at $25,470 — the FR-S is what the Toyota 86 is called in the US — and the $25,695 Subaru BRZ.
We don’t read too much into US pricing generally, given there are a number of contextual issues that make direct US-Australia pricing comparisons inadvisable. However, comparing models within each market can be an interesting exercise.
The outgoing MX5 costs $47,280 plus on-roads in Australia, a figure oft-criticised as over the odds against rivals. In comparison, the entry Toyota 86 GT costs $29,990 plus on-road costs here, and $36,490 in GTS trim, and the BRZ costs $37,150 drive-away.
Mazda has frequently expressed a desire to get this new MX-5 into Australia cheaper. If it can undercut both the Scion and Subaru in the US, it may envisage something similar in Australia. Maybe.
Unlike last time, two drivetrains will be offered in the new ND MX-5: A 96kW/150Nm 1.5-litre direct-injection four-cylinder model (that weighs about one-tonne), and a 116kW/200Nm 2.0-litre version.
The presence of this entry version is the key to getting the price down, a sentiment expressed in recent times by Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders.
“I guess [Toyota] 86 and [Subaru] BRZ sort of showed that there’s still a market for younger people wanting to buy a sports car.” Benders told CarAdvice last year.
“The two engines that have been announced [for the MX-5] allow us an opportunity to go a bit harder [on price] at this bottom end again, the car is good enough in style to do that so we are going to have a go and see what we can do.”
The new MX-5 arrives in Australia deep in the second half of 2015.