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Paris show: Mazda confirms 1.5-litre MX-5

Light and easy: Mazda’s 1.5-litre engine for the MX-5 is said to be light, contributing to the new-generation sportscar’s low centre of gravity.

Mazda MX-5 to get 1.5-litre SkyActive engine, but bigger variant still under cover

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Mazda logo2 Oct 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MAZDA confirmed a 1.5-litre SkyActiv engine for its all-new MX-5 when it unveiled the roadster at the Paris motor show today, but there was no sign of the expected 2.0-litre variant.

However, Mazda insiders have indicated that a bigger engine can still be expected in the continuing drip-feed of information about the fourth-generation convertible that is due to arrive in Australian showrooms in the middle of next year.

No power or torque figures were given for the 1.5-litre normally aspirated direct-injected engine that is believed to have been lifted from the new Mazda2, in which it makes 81kW.

Most pundits expect Mazda engineers to wring more power out of the MX-5 version, considering the current 2.0-litre engine in the third-generation MX-5 generates 118kW.

A new 2.0-litre engine for MX-5 might be announced as early as the Los Angeles motor show in November, completing the expected two-pronged model strategy for the world’s favourite two-seat drop top.

Mazda has already confirmed that the engines will be hooked up to a choice of six-speed manual and automatic SkyActiv transmissions, driving the rear wheels as always.

Mazda says the inclusion of the light-weight 1.5-litre SkyActiv engine in the MX-5 will endow it with the lowest centre of gravity of any MX-5.

The engine sits behind the line of the front axle, helping to keep the front-rear weight distribution at a “near perfect 50:50”.

This engine is expected to create a new, more affordable MX-5 variant under $40,000, designed to appeal to younger buyers who, in recent years, have deserted the MX-5 line.

As GoAuto has reported, the bigger, more powerful engine will sit at the top of the MX-5 tree, appealing to buyers with bigger bank balances.

The Mazda MX-5’s Kodo-inspired styling was revealed last month in simultaneous events in the United States, Japan and Spain.

The Paris motor show is the first major motor show to host the much-anticipated roadster.

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