Engineers from Mazda have been spotted testing what could be an early test mule for the redesigned MX-5 Miata.
A test mule is where new mechanics are hidden in a makeshift body during the early stages of testing. In this case, the engineers are using a modified body of the current Miata.
Clues to the car’s identity include the subtle fender extension at the rear, which points to a wider track than the current car. There’s also camouflage up front, which could be hiding the new intakes, though nothing can be seen at this point. We’ll know more when engineers start testing the first prototypes showing off the actual bodywork, probably around six months from now.
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata (NE) testing mule spy footage – Photo: S. Baldauf / SB-Medien
The current Miata, the ND generation, arrives in 2015 as a 2016 model. The redesigned version, likely to be classified as NE, will arrive late next year although we might see it. reveal is pushed to 2024. This means it will likely arrive as a 2024 or 2025 model.
The vehicle’s platform should be an updated version of the current Miata platform. Although Mazda has a new rear-wheel drive platform on hand, called Skyactiv multi-solution scalable architecture, the automaker has said the platform will be intended for larger vehicles. Its first application is CX-60 crossover launched earlier this year outside the US
Mazda hasn’t said much about the next Miata yet, although the automaker has confirmed it some form of electrification. This news should come as no surprise as Mazda last year said it aims to have a fully electrified product line by 2030.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The good news is that Mazda, while confirming electrification for the Miata, said it will try to keep the car light and affordable. This suggests the redesigned car is likely to have a simple mild-hybrid setup, as opposed to something like the plug-in hybrid technology Mazda will add to its crossover lineup. A mild hybrid setup is essentially a starter motor that can act as a generator to recover energy during braking or stopping, with the energy stored in a small battery used to power the vehicle. power for auxiliary features and sometimes to support the engine in high load situations.
The rest of the powertrain setup should include a low-emissions 4-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive, and a choice of manual or automatic transmission, just like current cars.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.