Twenty-five years ago Mazda launched the MX-5, and though we witnessed the covers coming off the fourth generation model in Barcelona (AT THREE O’ CLOCK IN THE MORNING), the Paris show is the first change for the public to see the car. Commendably Mazda’s remained entirely faithful to its original principles, so the MX-5 is light, modestly powered, rear-wheel drive and simple. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout remains, and for Europe the initial launch engine will be a 1.5-litre petrol unit driving through a six-speed manual transmission. And that’s about all we were told about it in the press conference.
Fifty/fifty weight distribution, a lower centre of gravity and a 100kg reduction in weight over its predecessor all demonstrate Mazda’s commitment to its MX-5 cause, and 950,000 sales to date prove it’s a winning formula. The looks might jar initially but they are better in the metal. The MX-5 is less cutesy too, which can only be a good thing, though it’s satisfyingly compact still. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel.