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Mazda goes back to the future with the instantly loveable ND MX-5

9 Dec 2015

THE original MX-5, released in 1989, was a revelation – and a big risk for a small Japanese car company. Back then, power equalled performance...and a 60kw four-cylinder two-seater soft-top did not fit the bill.

Its inspiration came from the era of classic British two-seat sportsters cars like the Lotus Elan and the MG Roadster, and it followed a similar ethos – minimal weight, rear-wheel-drive and nothing in the way of luxury to blunt the meagre output.

Over the ensuing 27 years and three generations, though, the MX-5 grew up...and not in a good way. It gained weight, both through safety and through customer expectations, and while it never strayed from its rear-drive four-cylinder two-seater genus, the steel-roofed NC had become...not so much a shadow of its former self, but quite the opposite.

Again, Mazda took a punt on a lightweight, two-seat, rear drive sports car, despite many obstacles, including a downturn in its home economy, the GFC and a shelving of the plan. But program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto stayed true to the course and brought the ND MX-5 back to the future.

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Model release date: 1 August 2015

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