Sunday 27 July 2014

Mazda Roadster Thanks Day

4th Generation MX-5 To Debut Later This Year
Mazda have announced the all new MX-5 will be unveiled simultaneously at three separate events in the USA, Europe, and Japan occurring on 3rd/4th September 2014. That's just two months until we finally get to see the new design after several years of speculation, rumours, and questionable photoshop designs.

The Japanese event is named "Mazda Roadster Thanks Day" and will include several activities and attractions along with the much anticipated unveiling of the 4th generation roadster. There will be a display of MX-5 heritage models and a memorial souvenir for guests. This event is taking place at the Maihama Amphitheater in Chiba and places are limited to 1200.
The European unveiling event will be in Barcelona with a "Long Live Roadster" meeting following on 6th September. The Frankfurt Motor Show follows later on in September, this is usually a big event for Mazda - it's where the new Mazda 3 debuted in 2013. I would expect the new MX-5 to be on display at this show. Mazda are confirmed to be at the Paris Mondial De L'Automobile show in October so expect to see more of the car there as well.

Over in the USA, the ND model will be making an appearance at the Miatas At Mazda Raceway event held at Laguna Seca. Over one thousand MX-5s are expected to attend what will be one of the largest gatherings of the year. Parade laps, show car displays, various stalls, and other entertainment should make it a great day out.

Ahead of the car's unveiling, Mazda USA posted this short teaser video of what we can only assume is the new MX-5 driving spiritedly along a coastal road with some epic views. Some people have said they can hear characteristic turbo engine sounds, but there's been no official word on this. It could just be the noise the new high-compression Skyactiv engine makes, or maybe there will indeed be a very welcome forced induction option. I'm excited to find out - September can't come soon enough!

Mazda's 25th Anniversary celebration website has been featuring a number of interviews with some of the key people involved in the development of the 4th generation Roadster. Reading how they talk about the project you get a real sense of what they were trying to achieve and how 25 years of knowledge and expertise has been applied to the new MX-5. Fans of the original car will be pleased/relieved to know the new model's chief designer owned a Mk1, and the roadster program's manager was involved in the development of the Le Mans winning 787B. You can read the full interviews by clicking on the names below.

Here's a selection of some of my favourite quotes:

"The value of the car as a human-centered vehicle must be thoroughly honed to the extent that the car is able to expressively respond to the subtleties of the driver's every little move. I was confident that is what we had to develop as the next MX-5. We can no longer call it the MX-5 if the car pushes the driver aside and takes centre stage in cheap ways, such as boasting of its performance figures."

Yukio Nakamura - Product Planning Dept

"Above all, I knew that the expectations surrounding the next MX-5 were extremely high. Fans all around the world were waiting for this release with baited breath. To deliver them a car worthy; worthy enough to convey our gratitude. That was my mission."

Nobuhiro Yamamoto - Program Manager

"What kind of car should the MX-5 be? I want the MX-5 to encompass every emotion that comes with owning it - opening the garage door and standing in front of it, opening the car door, settling into the driver's seat and firing up the engine, taking off and easing into that first curve, immersing yourself in the driving experience, satisfying the urge, and then stepping back out of the MX-5 and looking back at it... and instead of these emotions that beat inside your chest fading away over time, I want this MX-5 to make them swell and grow as you spend more time with the car."

Hitoshi Takamatsu - Head of Vehicle Development

"I can feel an engine live and breathe, but I know that it is a machine of nuts and bolts and that it can't actually fuse with a flesh-and-blood human being. However, I also know that when a driver revs an engine, there is a special relationship between the man and the machine that can't be expressed in numbers. We designers call this higher-level connection, Kan, a Japanese word meaning something similar to the English, sensation. We have spent a great deal of time trying to physically express this concept."

Tetsuo Fujitomi - Powertrain Planning Dept

"When thinking of the design that the new MX-5 had to entail, 'a car that can be driven for 20 years' is what came to mind. The question of the design was also a contemplation of the time that I had spent with the original MX-5 and what that time meant to me. I imagined myself as an owner of the new MX-5 and I thought how much I'd hate it if I eventually became bored with the car. The thought of that would just be too sad. I wanted this to be a car I would love for a very long time, just as I did the original MX-5."

Masashi Nakayama - Chief Designer

Mazda USA's social media channels are worth keeping an eye on as September approaches. They are currently doing a "25 days of the MX-5" campaign posting various tidbits of information about the car's history and possibly it's future too.