Barely recovered from August's historic races at Laguna Seca and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, California's Monterey Peninsula got another full shot of car adrenaline in the form of hosting the first public showing of the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 roadster -- known as the Miata to its deepest fans. At a simultaneous event held in Monterey (6:00 p.m.), Barcelona (3:00 a.m.), and Tokyo (2:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, I think), the world got its first look at the 4th generation of the only roadster in the running to sell more than 1,000,000 copies -- last count was 940,000.
Mazda minimized its release of details about the new MX-5, preferring to give center stage exclusively to Design Director Derek Jenkins. What we do know is this: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 will continue its mission as a front-engine, rear-drive, lightweight (say, around 2,200 pounds), and relatively affordable 2-seat roadster, whose sole purpose in life is to test whether or not you can have fun. Or, as Jenkins told us, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 will be "the best ever in terms of drivability."
What we saw at the evolution
The car that appeared onstage at the end of the flashing lights and video had a few whiffs of the three Mazda MX-5 Miatas that came before it, but the 2016 MX-5 looked lower (it is) and wider (it is) than ever. Its creased hood seemed like it went on forever, engulfing the wide-mouthed grille and accented by headlights/eyes that even appear to have tear ducts (seriously, look again). One more precious detail worth noting is the way the side-marker lights are elegantly nestled into indentions in the MX-5's front fenders.
Bubbling Soul Red paint, contrasted by black side mirrors, windshield surround and behind-seat rollover hoops, adorned the U.S. model we were shown, along with 4-lug 17-inch multi-spoke wheels (16-inchers are standard issue). The sectioned soft top folds neatly behind the seats, and the possibility of a folding-hardtop version remains undecided. Additionally, Mazda will offer some specific exterior colors that will be unique to the new MX-5.
No, they wouldn't even let us sit in it
We did learn, however, that the new Mazda MX-5's interior will be about the same size as the current model, and Derek Jenkins promised us a "new benchmark" in interior quality. An available 7-inch touch screen will be vertically fixed to the top of the dash, as we have seen on other Mazda models. At higher trim grades, the exterior body color will be mirrored inside the 2016 MX-5 by a body-color panel bar at the top of the inside door panel.
When the 2016 Mazda MX-5 roadster is coming to America, what it will cost, what engine it will have (Mazda would just say it would have current Skyactiv drivetrains), etc., etc. -- right down to how big the trunk is (or isn't) -- are questions for another press gathering at another place and time. For now, however, it's delicious just to know that the Mazda Miata is still very much alive.
More Mazda news...