Some exciting words come from Mazda HQ as we receive the first details on the upcoming fourth-generation 2016 MX-5 Miata: the new car will be "lighter, stronger and with a physical footprint more in tune with its first-generation predecessor with its heavier, larger current-day cousin," the automaker says. With a clean-sheet new aluminum-intensive Skyactiv chassis design bringing weight savings in the neighborhood of 220 pounds compared with the current model, Mazda is taking back a back to basics approach to revitalize what has become one of world's most beloved sports cars.
Says Mazda: "The chassis is the first time Skyactiv Technology has ever been shown in front midship engine rear-wheel drive design. The compact configuration showcases an engine closer to the vehicle's center, a center of gravity which itself is lower than that of any previous generation." That comes as good news for driving enthusiasts, as the current Miata is still a formidable machine but has lost some of the simplicity and edge that made especially the first-generation car so much fun.
In a teaser video triumphantly announcing the pending 2016 MX-5 Miata reveal, happening at events simultaneously in the U.S., Japan and Europe on September 3, 2014, the new car's engine note can be heard, and we can't help but notice what sounds like the trademark snarl of a turbocharger spooling up. This could conflict with earlier reports pointing to a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, but the engine in question is regardless expected to receive a noticeable power increase over the current car's 167-horsepower four-banger.
Coupled with the aforementioned weight savings and lower center of gravity, the sky's the limit for what this everyman's sports car should be capable of.
We'll have more this September when the covers come off, but we do know that the next-gen Miata will hit Mazda dealers with a release date in Spring 2015. Pricing should start around $25,000, so we'll see if Mazda can recapture the crown at the best budget sports car that money can buy.