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AIMS: Mazda opens facelifted MX-5 order books

Spring fling: The updated Mazda MX-5 will arrive in Australian dealerships in late spring.

MX-5 update to be shown at Sydney show as ‘late spring’ showroom debut looms

28 Aug 2012

AUSTRALIAN Mazda dealers are now taking deposits for the facelifted MX-5 roadster, which the company says will arrive in local showrooms by “late spring” – just in time for summer.

The mild update to Mazda’s iconic sportscar will be displayed on the company’s Sydney motor show stand in October, where GoAuto understands the all-new Mazda6 mid-sizer will also make an appearance.

Mazda has applied a more aggressive front bumper design to the MX-5, improving aerodynamics, while sharpening the throttle map on manual variants and tweaking the brake booster to make it more fun to drive hard.

The company claims these changes enhance the driving pleasure that comes from “the sense of oneness between driver and car”, or Jinba Ittai in Japanese.

A larger air intake more closely resembles the grille shapes of the CX-5 SUV and new Mazda6 – both of which follow Mazda’s new ‘Kodo’ design language.

The opening sits above a new chin spoiler and is flanked by sportier-looking fog light surrounds.

22 center imageLeft: 2012 Mazda MX-5.

Interior trim pieces like the dashboard decoration panel, steering wheel centre and instrument surrounds are now finished in glossy dark grey instead of silver.

Mazda Australia national marketing manager Alastair Doak said the MX-5 tweaks “should see it remain firmly on the shopping lists of buyers looking for fun, open-top driving”.

Only 84 MX-5s were sold in Australia to the end of July, a 60 per cent slide over the same period last year and a long way from the current-generation car’s peak when 166 examples left showrooms in a single month in November 2005, shortly after the local launch.

The next-generation MX-5 is due to arrive in 2014 and will be co-developed with Italian car-maker Alfa Romeo, which will use the collaboration to produce a modern iteration of its classic Spider.

Both will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant, where the current-generation MX-5 is built, but both will have distinct identities, unlike the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins.

Fiat-Chrysler Asia-Pacific COO Mike Manley recently promised Australian journalists the Spider will be “a genuine Alfa”, despite its Japanese connection.

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