Mazda has quietly teased the next-generation MX-5 – and it could be electric

The Mazda stand at the Tokyo motor show will pay tribute to its iconic roadster, with a concept hinting at the forthcoming ‘NE’ version

Mazda Vision Study Model

The Mazda MX-5 has the small-roadster market largely to itself, and no other manufacturer has been able to break its stranglehold on the sector. But as the EV era draws closer, the market is wide open.

Will the MX-5’s essential character survive in the transition to electric? Time will tell, but until then, Mazda is giving us a taste of what to expect from the next iteration of the MX-5. 

A newly released teaser shot provides a glimpse at a new MX-5-inspired concept car to be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show, which shares its rear light signature with the Mazda ‘Vision Study Model’ sports car that first appeared in November last year. The Vision Study Model’s svelte, cab-rear proportions certainly elicit hints of MX-5 DNA, and it seems that Mazda will pursue its design language further. 

Mazda’s Tokyo stand will host a selection of iconic MX-5 models, with a first-generation ‘NA’ lined up alongside the latest ‘ND’ production car and a show car with hand controls rather than pedals. The new concept, meanwhile, has been ‘designed to symbolise the exhibit theme’ according to the firm.

Crucially, the Vision Study Model doesn’t have any exhaust pipes, and this – along with its extremely low bonnet line – suggests that it’s an EV.

Mazda MX-5 teaser

Of course, nothing concrete can be drawn from what is purely a design exercise, but a pure-electric MX-5 is certainly plausible given that the NE-generation car is expected to launch around the middle of the decade. Indeed, this will place it within the firm’s ‘transition to electrification’ phase, as detailed in an announcement late last year. 

Still, there’s plenty of life left in the current ND model, cemented by a host of chassis and technology upgrades that will be applied to it from 2024. Its best-selling status is unlikely to be challenged as other brands – such as MG, Alpine and Porsche – roll out bigger, heavier and more expensive roadsters in the coming years.

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