By on September 4, 2014


Mazda’s newest MX-5 appeared live at an event in California, and although Mazda was stingy with details, we managed to get a few.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the new car, dubbed ND, should weigh an incredible 2280 lbs. It will also be 154 inches in length, 4 inches shorter than the current car. The base wheels will be 16″ with 195/50 Yokohama Advans while the larger wheels will use 205/40/17 Bridgestone RE050’s, the same grippy, 140 treadwear rated tires as used on the Ford Fiesta ST. Rims will have 4 bolts, leading to speculation that they will be 4×100 and able to use old Miata rims.

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78 Comments on “2016 Mazda MX-5 Live Shots, Technical Details...”

  • avatar

    Like it overall, but the rear end not so much. The taillamps look weird.

  • avatar

    Great styling. Looks like a drop-top version of the upcoming Mazda 2

  • avatar

    Front end has FRS/BRZ qualities if you squint a little.

    The profile and proportions remind me of a Z4, especially the rear end.

  • avatar

    The headlights look too small to me.

    More importantly, we now know the weight, the tire sizes, but almost nothing about the engine. What gives?

  • avatar

    They will likely use the 2.0 SKYACTIV engine. Although it would be really nice, I doubt they would offer the 2.5 as the engine upgrade.

    • 0 avatar

      If they can juice 200 HP out of it, it should be a hoot, even with a dearth of torque like the BRZ’s engine. With 500-600 less lbs to move around… 20% less! 2 average Americans! A motorcycle…. 200HP will be plenty.

      • 0 avatar

        I would think that depends on how Mazda does this. If they pull the 2.0 Skyactive from the 3, I think the best we could hope for is probably 170hp with the 2.0 Skyactive being a small bore, long stroke engine. If they build a bespoke 2.0, there is no reason that 200hp would be out of reach. Other than getting the power down with that low curb weight and 195 series tires. haha. My FR-S chirps pretty easily on 225 width Conti DW.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t expect more than 175. The engine is expected to be mostly the same as the 2.0L Skyactiv that’s in the Mazda3, just with some power tweaks, like what they did with the 2.0L MZR in the current model. That said, there could definitely be a Mazdaspeed model at some point down the line; I could see that having a turbo 2.0L making something like 250hp.

      • 0 avatar

        You’re talking Americans. No given horsepower rating is ever enough.

  • avatar

    Never liked the look of the MX-5…This is the first one that doesn’t look stupid.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Nicely balanced with little bloat. It does look like a Miata but I see a lot of Z3/Z4 in the sides and rear with the front being from the current Mazda family.

  • avatar

    The hard angles hide the bloat and make it look less like a chick car–which it still is.

    This is probably the first version that really needs a hard top, that might actually make the mixed curved and angular lines better.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you forgot to type the word “magnet” between the words “chick” and “car”.

      Seriously: trying to denigrate the manhood of someone who buys a true sports car like the Miata? That’s grounds for losing your enthusiast card right there.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed– Mazda has successfully chased all the “chick car” out of this design. It will probably be the first model since, well, the first model, that gets to define its target market again.

        And brother, that’s me. Can’t wait to see one of these on the floor.

        (And woe to any dealer with a bunch of 2014’s still hanging around when that happens!)

      • 0 avatar

        It IS a great chick car. Chicks are smaller, on average. Which, in America, means only around 200lbs. While guys are 300 and may have trouble simultaneously fitting both themselves, the Big Gulp, the Donut tray and the 36 piece McGrease bucket they consume on the way to work in the morning.

        It also remains a fantastic gaycart. I have pointed 3 gay friends to pics of it already. Two of them very visual, designy types. The third a bona fide hairdresser! They all want it. And won’t likely end up with kids…

        It’s still <2300 lbs. RWD. Manual, 50 series tires on a sporty car. Convertible. And desiged and built by the ZoomZoom guys themselves. Meaning, it is highly unlikely to NOT be about the greatest single car available anywhere. If I can comfortably fit (I'm bigger than most chicks.. And don't fit in gaystyle slimwear ), I'm buying. A group by with my hairdresser, his "friends" and faghag clients, perhaps….?

        • 0 avatar

          “Chicks are smaller, on average. Which, in America, means only around 200lbs”

          Where did you arrive at this figure?

        • 0 avatar

          “While guys are 300 and may have trouble simultaneously fitting both themselves, the Big Gulp, the Donut tray and the 36 piece McGrease bucket they consume on the way to work in the morning.”

          With this (or any) Miata, it’s well worth it to “man up” and “slim down.” Trade in the Big Gulp, Donut tray, and McGrease bucket for a SkyActiv body.

        • 0 avatar

          “Fucking females is for poofs.” Crazy Larry – Layer Cake.

          I had at least two or three girls around 200 (all in the right places, still hourglass) in my NA and it handled them with aplomb.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Your mother likes my “chick car.”

  • avatar

    Edgy styling just like it needed, away from the cutesy bubble and smiley face it had for the last few years. I think it looks great!

    The front is aggressive enough, and in the back I see a blended F-Type and Z4 like others have mentioned. I also agree it deserves a hard top version.

  • avatar

    The back looks like a combination of the first Z4 and an F-Type. Its probably not the best looking car, but none of the earlier ones have been either.

  • avatar

    Please, please, please allow for a few more inches of seat-track travel. Just give me this.

    I’ve wanted a Miata since I was a kid but can’t physically fit in one.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    That’s a gorgeous car, but there is quite a bit of styling ripped off from Jaguar, especially in the rear end. At least in pictures. Maybe it won’t be so glaring in person.

    I am glad they’ve stuck to the principles of the original. Not everything needs to be a feature-laden, 3500lb personally luxury, I mean GT, car.

  • avatar

    My only nit to pick is the screen in the middle of the dash; I’m spoiled by the hideaway screens on Audis. Other than that? I like the way it looks.

    • 0 avatar
      Dirk Stigler

      Couple reasons for the screen being that way — first, it’s the only way to keep the dashboard low and the cabin airy, which is important in such a small car. Yeah it looks kludgy, but it’s the most visibility-enhancing solution, and none of other carmakers’ attempts to integrate a rectangular screen into the dashboard design really work in any compelling way.

      Second, and probably more important, the market is heading towards replacing the built-in screen with a dock for a removable tablet. There’s a car on sale in Asia with that feature today, and everything else will probably be there in five years. It only makes sense, since the free apps on your phone are already light years better than anyone’s in-car system. The standardized (and secure! …we hope) interface to provide key data from car to tablet is probably already in development, and will be more elegant, longer-lasting and much cheaper for manufacturers to install.

      • 0 avatar

        Using a removable tablet could have some big advantages, but I see at least a couple major problems:

        First, unless it’s very secure it could become a dangerous projectile in an accident. So only tablets of a specific form factor, with a locking mechanism that AFAIK doesn’t exist yet, would be compatible.

        Second, what happens if you don’t have your tablet with you? Do the car’s infotainment, climate control, etc. even work?

        • 0 avatar
          Dirk Stigler

          If I were designing it, the climate control would continue to be physical buttons on the dash, no tablet required. The sound system would be a glorified version of external iPod speakers which, yes, would need the tablet present to work.

          The locking mechanism could be a special case with structure built into it to provide both a rigid support for the tablet, and solid connection to the dashboard to prevent it flying around in case of a crash.

          I see it less as bring-your-iPad than as “this car supports brand X model Y tablet(s) with the appropriate dealer-supplied mount”. Of course people might also end up using their smartphones with the appropriate apps. Either way it solves the problem that you will own a car for 4-8 years, while you turn over a tablet/smartphone in 1-3.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            It still has three dials for the basic HVAC functions. Dash in general looks a lot like the promo pics for the new Mazda 2 that popped up recently.

      • 0 avatar

        Jeez! Intelligent, informed comments on auto design, must have landed at Car Design News instead of TTAC. Great to read something substantial on design instead of the usual brain dead prejudiced dribble by the aesthetically deprived, one is subjected to here.

        Thanks Dirk.

    • 0 avatar

      It looks like a fold down screen, have you read that it isn’t?

  • avatar

    Hey Derek, as a Miata entusiast, what do you think? I like the minimalist lights, I hate the circle in the black. The note from yesterday was curious, citing how they now mde it look like a live animal…To me that’s what wrong with a lot of design from Japan, trying to make cars look like creatures (especially fish) or Japanese cartoon characters. From the pics, the small lights makes it look more like a car than a creture, right?

    Anyway I like the profile, bck (except for circles). Probably as always a fine driving car. I would also like to see the coupe. What’s the word on that?

  • avatar

    Love it.
    Has sort of baby jag and older spitfire short rear. and also desire the hardtop conv as I hate losing stuff to thieves.
    and need to say I still like lots of the older car…regardless of the anti smile stuff goin round.
    lighten up…it is all for fun.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This is the first Miata I have actually liked the first time I have seen it. I am anxious to see what it looks like in other colors.
    It’s the first Miata I have seriously considered getting.

    I really like how the doors swoop down to what looks like the perfect place to prop your arm while driving/riding. That’s something you don’t see much anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree, for once its looks like a “sports” car with an aggressive front end. Its sharp in the right places while still have the classic long hood, smooth side lines and slight fender bulges. Now where is my turbo shooting brake version?

    • 0 avatar

      @ Land Ark> Those window sills or bottom of the DLO and or door height relative to seat cushion position are quite high. The bottom of the DLO is about shoulder height. Doubtful many will be able to comfortably rest their arm on the door window sill.

  • avatar

    Fish mouth? Fish mouth.

  • avatar

    Personal opinion only, but yuck.

  • avatar

    I’m seeing Ferrari California, Jaguar F-Type, and imaginary Alfas and Maseratis. Take that Mazda badge off the nose and it’s an italian car.

    The tight rear 3/4 is functional just like the lightweighting of the front end, making for a low polar moment. This thing is going to rotate nicely. It’s got a low CG, with Mazda even saying the hip-point was lowered. Get ready for a real handling car, beyond the sheer low weight figure.

    I’ll wait to see one on the road before I say if I like the exterior looks. The interior? Ohhh yes.

  • avatar

    Que the token:

    “The front end looks like a Jaguar F-Type while the rear end looks like a BMW Z8 with some Alfa touches. Now it just needs a coupe and a shooting brake”

    Honestly if this is how we see new cars its no wonder why we cry about a lack of originality.

    The ND Miatas not that bad in person and I think it looks semi-original, I don’t think it’ll age very well though, certainly not like the NA.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Damn that is tasty looking, and more importantly tasty weight. Even if its “just” 175 hp, the thing will go like stink and corner on rails.

    I love my S2000 daily driver, but if anything happened to it (its been rear-ended twice, the first time with $10K in damage that the insurance company paid to repair), the new Miata might very well be a competent replacement.

    To put that weight in perspective, 2300 lbs is about 300 lbs more than an Elise (a car so light its held together with glue) and 500 lbs less than an S2000!

  • avatar

    In the 5th picture there’s a guy on a giant TV which makes the car look like it’s a 1/2 scale model.

  • avatar

    Looks much more masculine. Like an S2000 mated with an F-Type. My question remains: will only men 5’9″ and shorter fit in it like previous generations?!

    Oh–and will it still be underpowered like all Mazda’s seem to be these days? (yes, I owned a 2004 Miata, so I have first hand experience). Give us a turbo, please!

    • 0 avatar

      Please, please, please…! No Turbo! Wild, half out of control monster turbos doing their best to simulate two stoke powerbands may be fun. Like in 600hp Evos. But the current eurodrone fancy for turning perfectly good petrol engines into boring diesel wannabes…..blech! They should rather stick a smallblock in it, if they’re so hard up for a few hp. At least then the car will be interesting to drive. And will sound proper.

  • avatar

    This isn’t doing much for me. I’d probably like it better if they did away with the ‘blacked out’ look, which screams boy racer to me. Make the mirrors & ‘A’ pillar body color, and give it some silver or machined wheels, and then I’ll re-evaluate my opinion.

  • avatar

    I own a NA Miata with the R-package. I think this is the best exterior design since the original NA. I like the front, profile and the entire stance of the car. It’s aggressive yet sophisticated.
    In regards to all of the comments about the car looking like a S2000 or something Italian, I disagree. The original NA borrowed greatly from that British iconic sports car the Lotus Elan. So, to my eye this generation stays close to its Brit roots. Look at the stance, air intake/grille, the tumblehome and the positioning of the headlights and I think it looks like a modern update of the AC Cobra Mk1. With a nod to Jaguar and the second generation Triumph Spitfire as your eye moves towards the rear.
    Shedding 200 lbs. is also great news.
    Maybe it’s an optical illusion of the design, but to my eye the front and rear wheels look to be a different diameter with larger rear rims and tires.

  • avatar

    love the shape of the body, but the head and tail lights just not doing it for me, especially the tails, which look a bit goofy with the big round elements that don’t mate very well with the outboard sections. The headlights looks a little sleepy from some angles. And I agree with the commenter who called it “fish mouth”. Very interested to see what it looks like in the flesh. And maybe the Alfa/Fiat platform mate will look better, so there’s that to look forward to.

  • avatar

    Mazda has nailed it. They made a Miata without having it be too “cute” looking. It does look like a F-Type, which is good because I cannot afford an F-Type nor do I want the legendary Jaguar unreliability. This car will likely replace our aging MR2 Spyder, which my wife loves. She likes the FR-S, but really wanted another convertible. The current Miata is too girly according to her. The weight will be perfect for handling. She thinks her MR2 is too fast already, 175hp will be fine for us. And I plan to have a 425hp Mustang to fulfill the need for speed. Thank you Mazda!

  • avatar

    Wasn’t this a joint development with Alfa, the platform to be shared for a new Alfa Spider? Was I dreaming? I am very anxious to see the Alfa version if true.

  • avatar

    Miata: Now with even more midlife crisis baked in.

    I know this is the car that the Internet loves, but I’ve never seen it as anything but a midlife crisis mobile (like a Corvette) that becomes a secretary’s car with the second or third owner. This one will probably miss out on the resale opportunity because it doesn’t have the cute that the girls crave. Too much testosterone in the design. Think BRZ/FR-S: Too aggressive, no substance, running low on new buyers, and will probably be hard to sell used (because they look too aggressive to appeal to women and people that want them own them). The masculine echo chamber of the automotive discussions on the Internet will laud it as a winner, but most won’t buy it because they live in the basement of their childhood home.

    I think Mazda’s designers read way too much on the Internet.

    • 0 avatar

      It is a secretary/empty nest car first. Enthusiasts pick them up after 5 years and turn them into track cars. That was the great thing about shopping for NC Miatas instead of the S2000. Every 6 or 7 year old S2000 was completely beat by then. The Miatas of the same vintage were typically in very good shape with low mileage.

      I somewhat agree about listening to the internet. 2300lbs sounds fantastic. The look is very aggressive (even though I actually like the pre-refresh NC w/ some more aggressive wheels). I don’t know if Mazda will find as many first buyers to subsidize the enthusiasts. I think Mazda will find a higher percentage of enthusiast buyers than before, much like the BRZ/FR-S do, but I think some of the same problems that plague the BRZ/FR-S will follow Mazda. It is a pretty small niche of people that will pay in the mid $20k range for a car that prioritizes low weight and chassis over raw power with suspect practicality. I’ve had my FR-S for 2 weeks and it is literally the perfect car for me. Handles amazing, plenty of power, and practical enough to fit my wife and daughter for a quick trip. Most enthusiasts in my situation would choose something else, though. I’ve done the Impreza and GTI thing. I wanted small, light, and RWD with just enough practicality to fit my front facing kid.

    • 0 avatar

      Rwg; “too aggressive to appeal to women” Interesting(in regards to the commentators psyche) but baseless comment regarding what women want in a car. The only person I personally know to buy an FRS/BRZ is a 28 year old women and I see more then a few women driving them around here, though, they could be their BF’s car and that would satisfy your contention.

      And the whole mid life crisis BS is just so much baseless noise. When I bought my first MX5 in 93′, the neighborhood chatter, among women, was he is having a mid-life crisis. Didn’t matter that I have been buying sports cars since I was nineteen on a regular basis and had nothing to do with being 43 years old at the time.

  • avatar

    They should re-work on front : it looks a little bit ‘too low’, and they should put their ‘corporate\'(I don’t like this word) grill (good looking model 3 and 6 , not mixed Z4, Jaguar F-type…) ) and bigger front lights ,

    but still it’s design is acceptable and even quite handsome ..

    Pitty we don’t know what are(is) powertrain(s) ..

    Unfortunatelly there’ll probably be only one ‘global-product-model’ with sth like 170-200bhp,

    but they shouldn’t miss the oportunity (like Toyota does with FRS/BRZ cars[everybody says they are ‘under-powered! .. or they need more powerfull version]), to introduce some extra-version with arround 250bhp…

    The car is light, so 0-60 times around 5 sec. could be a nice surprice ..


    On the other hand maybe they did their ‘marketing-PR’ homework, and noticed main target is nouvoriche hipsters that are rather interested in ‘shmancy-fancy’ design , not so much in power numbers, ..

  • avatar

    205/40-17? Are you sure? Cause no good rubber comes in that size. I guess the tire manufacturers will have to get busy.

    • 0 avatar

      Reg; “Cause no good rubber comes in that size.”

      Really! On one of our project cars we run Sumitomo HTR Z-11 on the street and Toyo Proxes R888 on the track. While there isn’t a lot, there are plenty of good tires available for this size.

  • avatar

    Hmm, I love the styling. Maybe because it is a classy rebadge of the Pontiac Solstice/Opel GT/Saturn Sky and I like those. Classic and modern without any of that “WHY?” stuff of most moderns. Why copy a 10(?) year old out of production competitor though? Surely the excited guy in the mazda press release doesnt mid taking credit for the whole thing…

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