Mazda takes the wraps off the all new 2016 MX-5 Miata in Monterey


September 3, 2014

Mazda's all new, much lighter 2016 MX-5 Miata that was unveiled in Monterey

Mazda's all new, much lighter 2016 MX-5 Miata that was unveiled in Monterey

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The 2016 Mazda MX-5, aka the Miata, had its global unveiling in Monterey, California tonight after remaining one of the industry’s best kept secrets. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the car, which holds the title as the best selling roadster of all time – so no pressure on the design team.

Loosely based off iconic roadsters from British firms like Austin Healey, the MGB and Lotus' Elan, the Miata/MX-5 has gone through a number of design and style changes over the years, but has ultimately remained true to its original mandate.

We first got a taste of the architecture and underpinnings of the MX-5 at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Set on its own display, hidden amongst an array of Miatas, Mazda showed off an all new MX-5 chassis and drivetrain. But that's all the company has divulged about the car since then. But tonight it finally took the wraps off the car to a packed house somewhere in Monterey.

"The re-design of the new MX-5 meant finding a balance between classic roadster styling and a new, modern take on design," said Derek Jenkins, the Mazda Design Director who hosted the event. "But in the new car we hopefully have found that balance with a design that is dramatic yet still reminiscent of the original concept."

Starting out at the MX-5's new nose, Jenkins pointed out how the new hoodline is quite a bit lower and more aggressive than previous models, while the noseline now starts much closer to the ground than before. And the front end is not only lower, it’s also sharper and more dramatic – a term Jenkins used repeatedly throughout the presentation. The new tapered headlights sit above a hungry looking grill opening, flanked by chiseled duct openings reminiscent of a Mustang. The car not only features a perfect 50:50 weight distribution but has also trimmed a significant amount of fat from the Series 3 models. The 2016 MX-5 has lost 220 lb (100 kg) in comparison to the last version. For a car this size that figure is indeed impressive.

Not only is the car more sculptural, it's also wider, which in theory should only enhance cornering stability and handling capabilities. That added hip width also adds to the car's more dramatic stance and further accentuates the revised design details. Moving down the side of the car Jenkins draws attention to the reworked hips and dramatic rear taper out back.

From the three-quarter view, the car has a touch of BMW Z4 in it, as well as a hint of Honda S2000 – the car still retains its own identity and style but it's something the fanboys will surely make note of. The A-pillar remains blacked out again, which coincides nicely with the all-black interior. "The interior of the new MX-5 is nicely finished out but very much driver focused," states Jenkins.

Specs and options for the Japanese version indicate the car is set to be outfitted with a SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual gearbox connected to a SKYACTIV-G direct injection petrol powered engine. Suspension up front is of a double wishbone configuration, whereas a multilink setup has been put in place in the rear. Steering will be of the electric power assisted rack and pinion variety.

No word on pricing, but the new 2016 MX-5 is set to be available in North America starting sometime in 2015. We're hoping for sooner rather than later.

Source: Mazda

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Nice article and some good comments. There is a lot of love out there for these little things.

Original still best I believe. I had to remove sun visor to see out though! I’d fit a lowered seat for regular use. The only drop top I’ve driven that doesn’t flex badly. Never driven Boxter though...

Power has always been weak, even with the enhancements normal folk consider. The chassis is that good. That British v8 based on two large motorcycle four cylinder heads was always the thing that appealed to me – light, revvy, decent power.

Ultimately, they’ve picked a spec that impresses the most people while still being suitable as someone’s only car. Provided you didn’t try to lower it at 120klicks, that roof was a revelation. Some NAs have massive KMs because they’ve been driven every day since 1990. And no water logged smell.

I wanted more power within 30 minutes but I understand the trade off. For people like me, the decision is probably three way: new MX vs “fixing” a 2nd hand MX vs 2nd hand Elise. I’m leaning towards the latter but keeping my current car for practicalities :-). It's a good conundrum to have though. Love the MX. If I was 18 again, I can't think of a better first car in any era than an old one.

John Hogan

The original MX5 was probably based on Lotus Elan S4 than any Austin Healey or MG.

Ed Yee

OK body, nothing great, just refine old body style from 1989.

Stephen Russell

Great looking car. Imagine if it came with a 13B engine option. ZOOM-ZOOM!!


I'm not sure about this. The MX-5 has always been one step 'ahead' in design of the MR2 in that it always has looked like a classic (with Toyota finally realising how to build a roadster 'right' - make it like an MX-5!) but this looks like it's following design from its peers rather than continuing to going out on its own and essentially stick with the underlying classic design feel. Oddly, it makes the Mk3 look more appealing now (I'm a Mk1/NA fan and would buy another rather than any of the successive versions). Anyway, if it makes you smile as much as a Mk1 (NA) when you drive it then great, but side-by-side tests have revealed the MK3 didn't have the same fun factor, though it's going to be safer I guess (but where's the fun in that?!)


Please, please, please be sized for tall folks.


Looks great, but IS IT LIGHTER than the Mk3, like they promised?

Steve Jones

Great looking car but I sure hope they put something under the hood to go along with the good looks! In 2001 I bought my wife a new Turbo Beetle and myself a new Miata. After 3 months I got rid of the Mazda because I was tired of my wife blowing my doors off with her Beetle!

Sure the Miata was fun to drive but needed a lot more power to make it REALLY fun to drive!

I really hate it when they show off a new model and then tell you that you will have to wait a year or so before you can actually get your hands on one - in my opinion it is better to wait until you have a product ready to deliver before showing it off. Think about the effect on the Mazda dealers - anyone seeing this one is not going to be buying the current one!

Hugh Lokey

I think that is a really nice design. Personally, I like this MX-5 the most.

I read that Mazda has sold close to a million of the MX-5 vehicles. With the design and affordability, I can see how it sold so well.

I keep hoping Smart will get together with Mazda and produce a new Roadster for Smart based on the MX-5.


I agree, it's looking more like a BMW Z4, which I consider ugly. Too many woops and scoops. Previous versions have an air of fun and sportiness. This one has a pretentious, trying-to-be-serious look that it isn't.

If you want a Japanese two seater, for half the money get yourself a used Acura NSX with the removable top, leather interior, mid-engine handling, and more balls. You won't regret it.


@Hugh Lokey. You should have sprayed a little after market magic on your MX-5 and it had made all the difference. Still what really matters with a MX-5 is it's handling and by that I do not mean 0-60 times, but how it goes around corners.

@Ed Yee. The original MX-5 was inspired by all of those you mention and more. What Mazda did was really to bring back the type of car those English classics represented only they did with Japanese reliability and a roof that didn't leak. The MX-5's have been found to come in the top 5 and sometimes even better in the reliability statistics.


The MX-5 has been a great success for Mazda, even if they did pinch the design and look from Lotus, but why not ? It was streets ahead of what MG and Healey were offering. But of course, Mazda's marketing dept. had to come up with 'improvements' and these all added cost and weight, so then they needed bigger engines and before we knew it, we ended up in a vicious cycle. I think the 2016 version will be a great little car, but after owning the original, it is hard to get excited.

Martin Hone

I have always liked the looks of the Miata but never bought one after I found out what a dog it was. There are quicker four cylinder economy cars. The Miata is like a firecracker with no bang. It's just a lot of money for a big go-cart. It might corner great but nothing replaces the kick in the pants feeling of horsepower on the straight away.


An article about a new car and no info on technical specs like engine size and power? If Mazda comes out in 2015 with anything less than a 2.5L turbo or 3.0L kicking out 280-300 hp with a 7 speed transmission, they deserve to be tarred and feathered.


Hey Bob and Sentinel, there are other cars out there for you, it's just that they don't handle anywhere near as well as an MX-5.

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