Mazda is considering electrifying its iconic MX-5. Don’t worry, though – the company is being careful not to mess with the drop-top’s successful formula.
Its low production volume, however, could allow the MX-5 to skate by without being electrified.
Fortunately, Mazda understands the MX-5’s special formula – its balanced, lightweight, and compact rear-wheel-drive platform.
Ichiro Hirose, Mazda's managing executive officer for powertrain and vehicle development, told Autocar, “The lightweighting and compact size are essential elements of MX-5, so even if we apply electrification, we have to make sure it really helps to achieve the lightweighting of the vehicle.”
So why add a heavy electric drivetrain? Mazda believes consumer attitudes are changing. Hirose said, “We need to think about what direction society is going.”
“We want to look at the best powertrain to keep the vehicle lightweight, but because of the diversifying requirements and preference, we need to explore various options… we need to make a vehicle that people can own without worrying that they are not being eco-friendly.”
No decision has been made yet on what powertrain options Mazda will feature in the next MX-5. Though the current, fourth generation of Mazda’s drop-top is a few years old – it launched here in 2015 – the MX-5 tends to have longer model cycles than other Mazda products. The previous generation, for example, was sold for a decade.
Currently, the MX-5 features two different engine options: a naturally-aspirated, 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 97kW and 152Nm and a naturally-aspirated, 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 135kW and 205Nm. It weighs just over 1000kg.