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Mazda MX-5 images appear

By raccars Published

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After teasing the press and public with an appearance by the much awaited new MX-5's chassis at this month's New York Motor Show, Mazda has now released some pictures of how the car will look with some flesh on its bones - and it's very pretty.

The fourth generation MX-5 is due for release in 2015 and will be underpinned by a modern, new SkyActiv chassis. The same will be shared by the new Alfa Romeo Spider, which is being developed as a joint project between the Italian and Japanese firms. Mazda is rather proud of this advanced new component, which should lend the new roadster a lower centre of gravity and excellent handling, thanks to an engine sited behind the front axle and thus almost in the centre of the car.

Modern engineering techniques have allowed Mazda to create a chassis that is lighter than previous versions but stronger and more rigid than before, using super strength steels. The finished car, in soft top, entry level format at least, should therefore come in at a kerb weight of just 1,050kg.

The company hasn't revealed much else in the way of technical information at this point, but buyers can expect an engine range, including four cylinder 1.5 and 2.0 litre naturally aspirated petrol engines using Mazda's impressive SkyActiv technology. These should deliver about 130bhp and 165bhp, while there will be the choice of manual and automatic gearboxes.

For the rest of its model line up, Mazda has been following a very clear design pattern it calls 'Kodo', making the Mazda3 and Mazda6 very obviously part of the same design family, but it seems the MX-5 will get a more individual look. The pictures released online show a rather traditional roadster profile with a long front end and the cabin set back rakishly over the rear axle. The lines are very clean and smooth, as befitting the rather simple blueprint Mazda has tried to follow with the MX-5, since its original release 25 years ago - that of an entertaining, lightweight sports car.

While successive generations have featured increasing amounts of safety equipment and concessions to environmental regulations, the MX-5 has retained a reputation consistent with that original idea and the new version looks set to continue in the same form.

A production ready model is likely to be seen first at February's Chicago Motor Show, with sales commencing shortly after and a predicted price tag of about £20,000.

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