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The Future of Sports Cars

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Mazda

The Future of Sports Cars

Geoff Maxted
June 26, 2013

“The pursuit of high performance is over, Grasshopper. Accept that the seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past. The truth lies at your local Mazda dealer.”
These being the wise words of Master Po - (look it up if you are a non-believer).

The facts are these: Our roads are full to the brim with traffic and regulated beyond imagining by many laws. The cost of motoring is such that most drivers are seeking new answers to be able to stay on the roads at all. If you cannot afford a powerful sports car it doesn’t matter so much but even if you can, in the UK at least, you won’t be able to use much of that performance in any meaningful way.

It wasn't always like this. There was a time when driving was a simple pleasure and boy-racers everywhere strove to get their 0-60 time below a pedestrian ten seconds. In short, cars weren’t especially fast and yet motoring was fun. Owning a useable sports car (and discounting the fragile supercars of the time) meant driving an ageing Triumph Spitfire or an MGB and savouring the open road.

No doubt those good chaps at Mazda at some point noticed the demise of the small affordable roadster and came up with the wonderful MX5. In various iterations this great car has been with us since 1989 and yet it has never been bettered in its class.

With sales of around one million units, Mazda has decided to re-work the car and the new version will be released later this year. As before it’s the usual front engine, rear-wheel drive layout and the oily bits remain pretty much the same. Possibly the car will be powered by a turbocharged version of the 1.3-litre, four cylinder SkyActiv petrol engine.

Additionally it may retain the 1.8L developing 124bhp, ideal for cruising, or a more powerful 2.0L with 158bhp - which is more than enough in a small, light car - for those whose right foot gets twitchy at the sight of a snaking black-top. The MX5 does have some new additions, though, the most important being a new pedestrian protection system of the pop-up bonnet type. There may even be a diesel!

Key to the next-generation MX-5 is the firm’s SKYACTIV technologies that focus on reducing weight and improving efficiency. While the current car weighs around 1,050kg, Mazda engineers are reportedly on track for a kerbweight of under 900kg.

In an interesting new development Mazda has gone and got itself engaged to that Italian floozy, Alfa Romeo. It seems that Alfa want to sell a Spider version of the next generation MX5 but dress it in in one of their floaty frocks. Hairdressers should rejoice. Italian styling with Japanese reliability - it has just got to be a winner.

So, the MX5 - not especially quick then, but today it doesn’t really matter, does it? This car is about good old down-to-earth driving pleasure. In these days of self-driving Euro-boxes that’s got to worth something to any driver with blood in their veins; and it should only cost around £22k for a new one. Driving enjoyment in 21st Century Britain. Because we’re worth it.

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