Mazda MX-5 Skyactiv-X


MAZDA is reportedly readying its most advanced Skyactiv-X petrol engine for use in the upcoming fifth-generation MX-5, simultaneously furthering its commitment to both internal combustion technology and the world’s favourite roadster.


According to an article published by UK website Autocar, Mazda will equip the MX-5 with the same spark-controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) engine found in the MX-30 SUV.


The MX-5 is said to be an ideal candidate for ongoing petrol power because “its relatively low sales volumes would have a negligible impact on Mazda’s European fleet-average CO2 emissions” and because the car’s diminutive size makes extensive electrification largely unviable.


Mazda said previously that its Skyactiv-X would only be used in all-new models that have been designed with associated mild-hybrid hardware. But owing to weight considerations, the MX-5 is expected to remain a petrol-only proposition and will likely include the Skyactiv-X’s small supercharger which pressurises air into the combustion chamber when operating on spark-controlled ignition.


Mazda’s head of global design, Ikuo Maeda, told Autocar previously, that “We want to look at the best powertrain to keep the vehicle lightweight, but because of the diversifying requirements and preference, we need to explore various options.”


“People can own [it] without worrying that they aren’t being eco-friendly.”


Crucially for the world’s most-raced car, the next-generation MX-5 is expected to receive a significant performance shot in the arm with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Skyactiv-X unit producing 30 per cent more torque than the equivalent Skyactiv-G mill found in the current ND-series MX-5. 


Coupled with the roadster’s light weight and small footprint, the 137kW (+2kW) and 240Nm (+35Nm) Skyactiv-X engine could reduce the 0-100km/h time of the MX-5 to less than six seconds (-0.5 seconds). A six-speed manual transmission is likely to remain standard.


The smallest Skayactiv-X engine available in Mazda’s portfolio displaces 1998cc, meaning the 1.5-litre entry engine of the current MX-5 – and shared with the Mazda2 – may go the way of the dodo. 


The 97kW/152Nm 1.5-litre unit is the most economical offering of the existing MX-5 line-up consuming 6.2 litres per 100km on the ADR combined cycle.


For reference, the existing 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine offered in the current MX-5 uses 8.1L/100km while the equivalent Skyactiv-X unit powering the much heavier MX-30 (1492kg) sips just 6.4L/100km. In its present form, and with a 2.0-litre engine, the MX-5 tips the scale from just 1058kg.


Visually, the next-generation MX-5 is tipped to draw on the same design language featured in other models in the Mazda range. Frontal treatments familiar to the CX-30 and MX-30 could be adapted to suit the low-riding two-seat sports car, the angular headlights and upright grille both likely inclusions.


The cabin is also tipped to receive a significant refresh, adding premium technology features including a digital instrument panel, high-end switchgear and revised infotainment array, Autocar suggests.


Mazda has yet to provide any official details of its next-generation MX-5 and has given no clues as to the model’s expected launch date. 


However, based on the lengthy life cycles of previous MX-5 generations – most of which have remained in market for the best part of a decade – it can be expected the ‘NE-series’ MX-5 will go on sale in 2024.


The current-generation ND-series MX-5 was introduced in 2015.


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