Mazda Wants Its Internal Combustion Miata Around Forever

Is there any future for the MX-5 Miata? The Mazda car brand certainly believes so. The head of European engineering called the internal combustion roadster Mazda’s “baby” and said, “we want to keep this pure concept.”

The Miata is Mazda’s ‘brand icon’

The original “NA” generation of the Mazda Miata was originally the baby of journalist and engineer Bob Hall. He was a fan of the disappearing British roadster and designed a replacement for his employers at Mazda.

Three red Miata convertibles in front of the L.A. skyline during a Mazda car brand reunion.
Mazda MX-5 Miatas | Mazda

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The Mazda car brand was able to make the front-engine RWD convertible both affordable and reliable. Mazda’s original “NA” generation MX-5 Miata was an instant sensation.

The Miata is so popular to take to track days, the National Auto Sports Association created an entire class for it: Spec Miata. It is as emblematic of a lifestyle as the Jeep Wrangler or the Harley Davidson. What’s more, the MX-5 Miata has become an icon of Mazda’s sporting philosophy.

The modern Miata is the ‘baby’ of the Mazda car brand

Miata’s modern reputation for making sporty, affordable, reliable vehicles hangs on the success of the Miata. It’s no surprise that Joachim Kunz, head of Mazda Europe’s product development and engineering, confided that the Miata “is the baby of headquarters” in Japan.

Four Mazda Miata convertibles parked on a mountaintop.
NA generation Mazda MX-5 Miatas | Mazda

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The Mazda car brand has adhered to the formula that made the original Miata a success. While most vehicles become larger and heavier with each redesign, the Miata has actually lost weight and gained power. The modern Miata continues to win awards, such as MotorBiscuit’s car of the year.

So what’s next for the iconic Miata? In a recent interview with Autocar, Kunz previewed the Miata’s future:

“It’s our brand icon and it is always treated very specially….At the moment, it looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine.”

Joachim Kunz, head of Mazda Europe’s product development and engineering

Will Mazda build an electric Miata?

Mazda wants to retain the “pure concept” of an internal combustion Miata. But in many markets, Mazda may not be allowed to sell a gas-powered car forever. With Miata’s name recognition, it seems obvious we’ll see an electric version eventually.

A parking lot full of various MX-5 internal combustion Miatas from the roadster's history.
Mazda MX-5 Miatas | Mazda

Kunz admitted, “Of course, some day, we will have to electrify it, but we want to keep this pure concept.” So the next generation or “NE” Miata will almost certainly keep a gasoline engine while the eventual “NF” Miata may be electric.

What’s this “pure concept” look like without a gasoline engine? A front-engine, RWD EV roadster with an available manual transmission. And before you call this concept crazy, know that Jeep’s Wrangler Magneto concept leverages a powerful axial flux electric motor that spins up to 5,250 RPMs and a manual six-speed transmission.

When will we see the next Miata? Well, the Mazda car brand last released a redesigned Miata in 2014. Kunz said, “having one generation for 10 years is not a problem for us,” so it could be 2024 before Mazda releases the “NE” Miata. That would line the release of an electric “NF” Miata up with the earliest proposed combustion bans: 2035.

Read about whether future generations will be allowed to restore combustion cars or learn all about the Miata in the video below:

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