Just slightly under a year after its global debut, the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, or Mazda Miata as it’s known in some markets, have finally made its way to Malaysian shores.

Dubbed as the world’s most popular sports car, Mazda has shifted over one million units of the iconic drop-top roadster since its introduction in 1989 – that’s a good 26 years ago. As we’ve previously reported, Malaysian-bound MX-5s will be fitted with the more powerful 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine paired to the sole six-speed automatic transmission with Drive Selection Switch. Sadly, the six-speed manual gearbox will not be offered as an option.

QUICK FACTS

Name Mazda MX-5 Skyactiv
Engine 1,998cc; DOHC inline-4 cylinder, Skyactiv-G
Transmission 6-speed automatic (torque converter)
Max Power 158 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque 200 Nm @ 4,600 rpm
Price (OTR with GST and insurance) RM226,376.32

Before you sigh at the absence of forced induction, there’s really no need for such measures because the new MX-5 is nearly 100kg lighter than the model it replaces. Although no official numbers have been released, Mazda claims that, despite all the technologies that have gone into the car, the new MX-5 has a maximum kerb weight of just 1,080kg. To put things into perspective, the original MX-5 tipped the scale at just 940kg!

EXTERIOR

Bermaz Motor, just as they did with the Thai-assembled Mazda2, pulled an impressive feat with regards to the MX-5’s features. On the outside, the soft-top roadster features LED daytime running lights, automatic LED headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting and High Beam Control, LED tail lamps, front fog lights, keyless entry and 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels shod with 205/45 R17 series rubbers.

INTERIOR

Stepping inside the low-slung roadster, you’ll be greeted with the familiar Mazda fit and finish, with the amenity kit reading as such; push-start ignition, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control with electrochromic rear view mirror, leather upholstered seats, a 7-inch touchscreen display with MZD Connect System and nine – let me repeat that, NINE Bose speakers.

The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel has a slim and sporty three-spoke design, whereas the leather seats are manually adjusted with a unique tilt-only feature. There’s no reverse camera though, so owners will have to make do with the rear parking sensors.

PERFORMANCE

Onto the oily bits. Mazda’s high-revving direct injection four-cylinder engine (13.0:1 compression ratio) makes 158 hp at 6,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm, all of which will be sent to the rear wheels. The MX-5 also gets a healthy dose of Skyacativ technology – Skyactiv Body, Skyactiv Chassis, i-Stop and i-Eloop functions. Now, the ND’s 2.0-litre Skyactiv engine has been heavily reworked with most of its aluminium component lightened. Total weight loss amounts to 11 kg – that, and the MX-5 has a completely new extractor to give the roadster a sportier exhaust note.

The MX-5 rides on double-wishbone suspension on the front axle, whereas the rear gets a multi-link type suspension. It’s barely 4 metres long, with an overall length of 3,915 mm, 1,735 mm wide, 1,230 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,310 mm. The steering system is no longer hydraulic, and in place of it is a new Double-Pinion Electronic Power Steering.

SAFETY

While the MX-5 spells loads of fun, it is no less impressive in the safety department. For starters, the roadster comes with Mazda’s i-Activsense technology which gives you four airbags (dual front and dual side airbags), Lane Departure Warning System, Hill Launch Assist and the aforementioned Adaptive Front Lighting and High Beam Control systems.

WHAT ELSE?

Like all other Mazda models, the fully-imported MX-5 comes packaged with a three-year factory warranty, and on top of that you get a three-year or 60,000 km free maintenance package. To recap, it’s priced at RM226,376.32 with GST and insurance, and is available in four different shades – Soul Red Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Meteor Grey and Jet Black; all of which will come with a Black Cloth convertible top.

We will be flying to Japan to sample the MX-5 first hand, so be sure to bookmark this page as we bring you the full review of Mazda’s all-new roadster.


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Matthew H. Tong
A straightforward, fun-loving guy who appreciates the superficiality of a car's appeal, but his admiration for anything on four wheels gives him no reason to neglect the makings of a car. He still believes that fun comes with three pedals and a stick.