MX-5 to get targa look

A Porsche-style retractable roof should transform Mazda’s next-gen hardtop convertible

BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MAZDA has confirmed it will debut a new targa-like electric roof for its upcoming ND MX-5 Roadster Coupe.

Wheels has learned that the second ‘closed’ version of the Japanese coupe icon will feature a sleeker silhouette than the previous version’s abrupt threebox shape.

It will be dominated by a thick fixed B-pillar and curved rear glass in a fashion said to be similar in concept to that of the current Porsche 911 Targa.

According to an insider, the single-piece window and boot compartment cover will lift electrically while the panel B d above the occupant’s heads can be stowed in one seamless electrically operated movement.

Crucially, the operation can be performed while the vehicle is in motion, unlike in the NC MX-5 Roadster Coupe sold in Australia from 2006 to 2014.

It is believed that the shift to the new roof-folding system liberates more cabin space, and is thought to also save a few crucial kilos compared to the old layout.

Confirming that there will be a change of direction for the nextgen version at July’s launch of the ND convertible in Queensland, Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders told Wheels that the aim is to broaden the Roadster Coupe’s audience considerably.

“I am sure if they do decide on another Roadster Coupe they will differentiate that as well,” he said. “They won’t just replicate what they had with the NC. It will have something new to extend the range, so that’s basically what they’re trying to do with this vehicle. [They want to] give it a more stable volume position within the Mazda range.”

ND MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto added that a new-generation Roadster Coupe is definitely on the agenda, saying it would serve to spike sales once the initial flurry of activity that comes with the introduction of a new model starts to wane.

“It is coming as a later addition,” he said. “The new MX-5 has a long life, so it may come later to keep the model fresh.” definitel h

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Low and behold

Mazda considered several proposals before settling on this targa-like design. Sleeker and lighter than before, the ND’s roof can also be operated on the move.

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Ground MX

New MX-5 Roadster Coupe will have a lower centre of gravity compared to the previous version, due to an expected lighter roof structure and mechanism. Occupants also sit 20mm lower and 15mm closer to the centre of the vehicle.