The current generation Mazda MX-5 Miata has been around for quite some time. The ND Era launched in 2014 for the 2015 model year, and now we get our first look at what the NE model should be. However, your attention should not fall on a disguised, smiling face. The real action is going on under this skin, as we believe this is a test mule wearing a modified ND body.
We’d commend Mazda for being so smart here. At first glance, one might see this as a prototype sporting a minor facelift. It’s certainly not uncommon for automakers to wrap the entire nose in a camo wrap for even a minor makeover, but as far as we know, there’s nothing different about this grinning Miata front clip. The headlights look unchanged, as do the sleek corner vents and a very pleasing grille.
Fortunately, this test vehicle was caught on camera by our two spy sources, for a total of almost 50 photos. And some of the images capture what really happened to this car.
Looks like we’re dealing with a NE MX-5 test mule sporting a modified latest gen body. The white coating makes it difficult for the camera to capture details, but as the photos above show, the rear fender has been widened. This points to a new sports car featuring a wider stance, while keeping the wheelbase the same.
We can also see some wires glued to the side of the car, running underneath it right in front of the rear wheels. As for the camouflage on the front, we think it’s just a diversion. Of course, we’ve learned never to say never when it comes to testing vehicles and spy shots.
Mazda says the next-generation MX-5 will continue with a rear-wheel drive platform and a petrol engine. However, a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain could get into the mix. Mazda has also previously said a 10-year life cycle for its sports car isn’t an issue, which makes 2024 a likely time frame to see the new model revealed.