Mazda MX-5 set for minor facelift before new model arrives
A new Mazda MX-5 may be further away than initially thought, if what appears to be another update for the current model comes to fruition.
The current-generation Mazda MX-5 – now approaching its eighth year on sale – appears to be in line for another mild styling update, if spy photos of Europe are a guide.
Photos posted to Instagram by Rollende Reporter show an MX-5 testing on Germany’s Nurburgring race track with subtle tweaks to its headlight, tail-light and fog-light patterns, and a different rear antenna.
While it has been speculated the prototype could be a “test mule” for the next-generation MX-5 – using old bodywork to cover new engines or underpinnings – it is believed the changes preview a mild facelift.
Arrival timing is yet to be disclosed, however Mazda’s updates appear ready for production.
Prior updates to the Mazda MX-5 have been reserved for a scheduled model-year changeover in the first few months of each year.
The sighting of another update for the current Mazda MX-5 – which has been on sale in Australia for nearly eight years – suggests an all-new model remains a few years away.
Reports out of Japan have speculated the next MX-5 – which could be known as the ‘NE’ or ‘NG’, following today’s ‘ND’ model – could arrive next year.
However the introduction of the revised look – although mild – could mean a new model is at least 18 months away, and according to other reports, may not arrive until 2026.
It’s not clear if the next Mazda MX-5 will be an all-new vehicle from the ground up, or will drape new bodywork and a new engine over lightly-updated underpinnings.
Overseas reports suggest it is in line for some form of hybrid power, likely a mild-hybrid system – which cannot power the wheels alone like a conventional hybrid, as popularised by Toyota, but can trim on-paper, lab-tested fuel economy by about five per cent without adding much weight.
It could use Mazda’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘SkyActiv-X’ petrol engine from the Mazda 3 hatch and CX-30 small SUV, which uses trick diesel-like ‘spark-controlled compression ignition’ technology claimed to improve fuel efficiency.
Mazda has fitted mild-hybrid technology to this engine, as well as a different version of the current MX-5’s 2.0-litre ‘SkyActiv-G’ petrol four-cylinder engine, in the Mazda 3 hatch, and CX-30 and MX-30 small SUVs.
Despite its age, the changes visible in the spy photos would represent the first notable visual change to the current model since it arrived in mid 2015.
New exterior colours have been added over the past three years, and a GT RS flagship variant was added in 2021 with different alloy wheels – but there have been no noticeable changes to the bumpers and lights.
The shark-fin antenna visible on this prototype is already fitted to US models to receive signals for North America’s satellite radio services. However, it is fitted in conjunction with the traditional aerial – rather than on this prototype, where the shark fin appears to replace the aerial entirely.
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