My thoughts on the look of the new 2016MX-5?
Let me preface this by saying that I know as well as anyone that adequately capturing a sculpted three-dimensional object like a car in a static two-dimensional medium like a photograph can be extremely difficult. That said, I’m just not digging the face of the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Last night, Mazda finally revealed the all-new next generation MX-5 Miata and while there appears to be much to love about this roadster, the front end is leaving me cold. This is a problem with many cars including the new 2015 Ford Mustang. I was fortunate enough to actually see a full-size model of the new Mustang in the studio months before I saw photos of it, but others that saw photos first didn’t car for much of the styling until they saw it at an auto show or on the road.
For 25 years, I’ve loved the clean, simple design of Miata which began life by taking inspiration from classic British roadsters like the Lotus Elan. The shape has aged extraordinarily well over time. The new edition is the biggest visual departure yet from the original formula.
From behind and in profile, I think it works great. I actually see quite a bit of inspiration from the Honda S2000 which also looks better in the metal than photos. The steeply sloping nose looks great from the side. But moving around the front, the headlights in particular just don’t seem to look right.
Mazda has been even more stingy with technical details than we were at Ford when we revealed the new Mustang last December. However, the European press release does say the new MX-5 is 100 kg (~220 pounds) lighter than the current model. How much of the weight savings survives to the U.S. model remains to be seen, but at least Mazda has been on the right track with all of its recent introductions.
Since I wasn’t in Monterey for the big reveal last night, I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see the new MX-5 in person. The worst case scenario is that I’ll still hate the face but I’ll never see it from the driver seat which is ultimately the only angle that really matters.