New Mazda MX5

With a history that began in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 is one ofthe best sold convertibles on the market. In its 21 years of history, the MX-5saw three different generations, numerous design updates, and even more enginechanges. However, the most impressive update has been announced for the fourthgeneration that is set to be launched in 2012.

The Mazda MX-5 will remain a rear-wheel drive compact sportscoupe with exterior design inspired by the Shinari Concept unveiled earlierthis year. With the new generation, Mazda will focus on reducing the totalweight to less than 1,000 kilos.

At the launch of the Shinari concept, Ikuo Maeda, generalmanager of Mazda Motor Corp.’s design division said: "this design willlead to the next generation of Mazda design and will lead to otherelements." Guess the MX-5 will be among the first to adopt Mazda’s new"Kodo - Soul of Motion" design language.

UPDATE 03/19/2012: According to Road & Track, there hasbeen some talk within the Mazda camp to fit the next-gen MX-5 with aturbocharged engine. As it turns out, Mazda’s initial plan of fitting anaturally aspirated 1.5-liter inline-4 engine with SkyActiv technology isn’tgenerating the kind of power they’d want for the new MX-5. The Japaneseautomaker also ran the idea of using the current 2.0-liter inline-4 engine, butthat would mean scrapping whatever fuel economy goals they had for the newmodel.

With a lot of the powertrain options being crossed of theirlist, Mazda now has two finalists: a 1.8-liter inline-4 with SkyActiv or a 1.3-or 1.5-liter inline-4 with forced induction.

Whatever powertrain they end up choosing, Mazda is lookingat a car that’s not only lighter than the current model, but also one that’scapable of delivering 150 horsepower while also improving its fuel economy byaround 10% - and do all that while keeping the car’s price at less than$25,000.