Thoughts on the All-New Mazda MX-5 MK4 at the Paris Motor show from one of our long standing customers and MX-5 enthusiast, KeithVisser
As you probably already know, the next generation MX-5 was unveiled to the world at a global launch on 3rd September this year but it is only now that the general public have been able to get up close and personal at the Paris Motor Show.
So, what better opportunity for me to go to Paris to see the long anticipated new MX-5 and to share my thoughts and some pictures with you.
But first, a couple of words of warning. As you will quickly realise, I’m not a professional motoring journalist, nor a motoring engineer. But I am an enthusiastic MX-5 owner. I have had them for 14 years, first a Mk2, followed by a Mk2.5 and currently a Mk3 2litre Sport which I’ve had for 7 years.
My other word of warning is that I use my MX-5 for fun and mainly long haul Continental holidays. So that very much colours my view of the car and what I’m looking to get out of it.
The car on display in Paris was a pre-production prototype. So although the production car will be more or less the same as the photos here, the car did not have an engine fitted and the boot was sealed as the interior hadn’t been designed yet. Also the fabric hood was a dummy as were some of the fittings inside the cabin. So what you see here is not necessarily what you’ll get in the showroom. But it is pretty close.
The important thing is that I think the new car is ‘drop-dead gorgeous’. Gone is the ‘hairdresser’ image and the car has a far stronger presence. To be honest I didn’t buy my cars purely on looks but how they drove. But now I think we can have the best of both worlds.
The bonnet is lower, the height of the car is lower and it is shorter and wider than the Mk3.
I understand that it will come in two naturally aspirated engine sizes, 1.5 litres and 2.0 litres. So no turbos here!
The interior seems to be a copy of the new Mazda 3 cabin with the stand-up graphic display and control dial on the transmission tunnel.
The rear speakers are now built into the seats. Not like the Mk1 car but they are now in the inner edge of the headrest and shoulder.
The Paris car had the cup holders at the rear, between the seats. There are no cup holders or storage bins in the doors. But I’m told this arrangement will not be in the production car.
From my point of view, the good news is that although car is shorter, the boot size will be the same as the Mk3. But as it hasn’t been designed yet I don’t know if my current cases will fit.
It will be launched with a fabric hood but the electric hood will not be available for about a year.
Very little has been released about the spec of the car, so I don’t know what safety features, rain sensing wipers, smart head lights, satnav, connectivity etc. will be available. The display car had no power, so I couldn’t see the instruments illuminated. But I have managed to get from one of my German Facebook friends a picture of the dash with it fully functional. As you will see, it now contains far more information than we have had on any previous model. From this it looks like it will have telephone integration, automatic headlights, cruise control and a start/stop button. So maybe keyless ignition
Although Mazda France was very reluctant to let the public get up close to the car, I was allowed to sit in it. The seats seemed much more comfortable than my current car. This let me see that bits like the USB ports etc were just dummies as they were still in design.
There is still a small storage compartment on the tunnel and the storage box at the rear between the seats is still there, but seems smaller.
The crucial questions are of course – when can we buy one and what will it cost. As you can imagine Mazda are playing those cards close to their chest but it is thought that the car will be manufactured next Spring and will cost about the £20,000 mark.
So to summarise: – to me the looks are stunning and the car is highly desirable. The light weight chassis and engine should make the car sprightlier. Cabin space and boot space have not been compromised. But Mazda generally seem reluctant to make the most of interior storage space with no door pockets, map nets, sunglass holders etc. Although not a deal-breaker, they do become important when using the car for long distance holidays.
It’s such a pity they put the steering wheel on the wrong side!
The Paris Motor Show is brilliant but even among the crowds I did bump into some Swedish MX-5ers who had come to Paris to see the new car. And by coincidence they will be going to Epernay (France) in May 2015 as will I. I wonder if any of us will be driving the Mk4 by then?????
© Keith Visser