MAZDA is believed to be working on a new targa-like electric roof for its upcoming ND MX-5 Roadster Coupe.
Wheels has learned that the second ‘closed’ version of the Japanese coupe icon will feature a sleeker silhouette than the previous version’s abrupt three-box shape.
It will be dominated by a thick fixed B-pillar and curved rear glass in a fashion said to be similar in concept to that of the current Porsche 911 Targa.
According to an insider, the single-piece window and boot compartment cover will lift electrically while the panel above the occupant’s heads can be stowed in one seamless electrically operated movement.
Crucially, the operation can be performed while the vehicle is in motion, unlike in the NC MX-5 Roadster Coupe sold in Australia from 2006-14.
It is believed that the shift to the new roof-folding system liberates more cabin space, and is thought to also save a few crucial kilos compared with the old layout.
Confirming that there will be a change of direction for the next-gen version at July’s launch of the ND convertible in Queensland, Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders told Wheels the aim was to broaden the Roadster Coupe’s audience considerably.
“I am sure if they do decide on another Roadster Coupe they will differentiate that as well,” he said. “They won’t just replicate what they had with the NC. It will have something new to extend the range, so that’s basically what they’re trying to do with this vehicle. [They want to] give it a more stable volume position within the Mazda range.”
ND Mazda MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto added that a new-generation Roadster Coupe is definitely on the agenda, saying it would serve to spike sales once the initial flurry of activity that comes with the introduction of a new model starts to wane.
“It is coming as a later addition,” he said. “The new MX-5 has a long life, so it may come later to keep the model fresh.”
LOW AND BEHOLD
Mazda considered several proposals before settling on this targa-like design. Sleeker and lighter than before, the ND’s roof can also be operated on the move.
New MX-5 Roadster Coupe will have a lower centre of gravity compared to the previous version, due to an expected lighter roof structure and mechanism. Occupants also sit 20mm lower and 15mm closer to the centre of the vehicle.
Click here to read the full range review of the Mazda MX-5
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.