NEW YORK MOTOR SHOW: MX-5 chassis debut

Mazda will reveal SKYACTIV chassis for new generation of sports car next month
Sources have confirmed speculation that Mazda will kick off its official PR campaign for the new MX-5 sports car by displaying the next-gen car's chassis at the New York International Auto Show next month. 

MX-5, which will be launched next year, will be Mazda's first application embracing SKYACTIV fuel-saving technology in a two-seat, rear-wheel drive car. Since the engine technology requires more packaging space freed up for the exotic manifold, this has implications for the design of the floorpan and location of the hard points. 

The new car will also be significant as the basis for a shared-platform derivative to be sold through the Fiat Group. Whether that car (with Fiat Group drivetrains) ends up being badged as an Alfa Romeo or a Fiat, is unclear, since the Fiat Group is yet to make that announcement. 

But the car is definitely going ahead as a joint development, with Mazda pegged for the production of both the MX-5 and the Fiat sibling. Following the recent unveiling of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider in Geneva, the likelihood of the Mazda-built sports car being anything other than a Fiat is looking increasingly remote.

The new platform will be on display in New York alongside iconic MX-5 models from the sports car's 25-year legacy, including, no doubt, many from out of the vault at Mazda's facility at Irvine, in California. 15 of the cars will be on the stand in New York to mark the occasion of the MX-5's introduction. 

"MX-5 is the quintessential Mazda," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda's North American operation. "And after 25 years, every vehicle in the line-up continues to feature some characteristic of MX-5:  a fluid shifter, lightness on its feet, quickness around a corner, a fun-to-drive DNA."

"With all the whiz-bang technology and comfort amenities increasingly added to modern vehicles, MX-5's direct connection between car and driver still remains the standard feature that puts smiles on drivers' faces."

Mazda has built over 900,000 examples since the car's global debut at the Chicago motor show in 1989. 

The New York International Auto Show opens to the public from April 18. Mazda has leased floor space on two levels, with the area on level three reserved for the MX-5 display. 

Published : Friday, 21 March 2014
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