Every automaker is looking toward the future of cars, but based on the rhetoric being passed around by most automakers, Mazda is one of only a few still looking toward the future of driving. Many automakers want to build soul-free pods that transport people and goods from place to place without interfering too much with their screen time. Mazda is still focused on the ‘joy of driving’ and a human-centric integration.
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What does the joy of driving mean for the future of Mazda? Based on current trends, it’s almost certainly going to be electric. A low-range lightweight electric sports coupe or roadster could be an interesting direction to take the MX-5. The current ND-generation car recently got another facelift, so it’ll probably stick around for at least a few years, but whatever replaces it will probably be an EV.
On October 28 at the Japan Mobility Show, formerly the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda will unveil a full-court press encompassing all things MX-5. According to the brand’s press release, Miata is always the answer.
The Mazda Stand will focus on the MX-5, the well-loved Mazda icon. A variety of MX-5 models will be on show including the first-generation MX-5, an enduring symbol of Mazda’s original commitment to the joy of driving; a two-thirds scale MX-5 model that provides a simulated driving experience for visiting children; the latest MX-5, which recently went through the biggest upgrade as the forth-generation model; and an MX-5 SeDV that can be controlled using only the driver’s hands. Additionally, the new concept car designed to symbolize the exhibit theme will be unveiled as the world premiere at the show.
The concept mentioned is teased with just a dark rear-end shot (above), which looks suspiciously like the 2022 Vision Study Model concept unveiled last November. You can see the taillights, the back-lit Mazda script, and the dual vertical light strips, evocative of a racing rain light. Though in the concept those strips are green and the new teaser shows them in red. Maybe that’s the difference between going and stopping, you never know with a concept teaser.
If this is, indeed, the fifth-generation MX-5 (perhaps dubbed NE to keep with nomenclature tradition) it cuts a mean figure. This low-slung coupe brings lots of Mazda design heritage with it, evoking the 1990s icon FD RX-7 a bit. Perhaps this new concept will sling closer to the MX-5 heritage by chopping the roof and replacing it with a folding canopy. I’m inclined to believe the Miata could be electric, but it might not ever be able to make the transition to full-on coupe. That would be a bridge too far.
Whatever this new concept is, it’s already looking a bit of a stunner. Just a couple of weeks until we know for sure. Check back here at the end of October to see it for yourself.