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2026 Mazda MX-5 ‘NE’ to feature R-EV e-Skyactiv rotary powertrain

An anonymous source close to Mazda has revealed some potentially juicy information to Driving Enthusiast about the next-generation Mazda MX-5, codenamed NE.

According to the anonymous insider who prefers not to be named, Mazda will go it alone developing a new platform for the next roadster, despite diminishing global sales.

This is in spite of several automakers deciding to team up in order to amortise development costs. Examples of these include the Toyota Supra twinned with the BMW Z4, as well as the BRZ and GR86 twins. The current MX-5 is also twinned with the Fiat 124.

Powertrains are set to comprise of a Skyactiv-X version of today’s 2.0-litre motor, focusing on higher thermal efficiency, with the possible addition of HCCI sparkless ignition.

Most excitingly, the new roadster will apparently adopt the recently announced MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV rotary range-extender system. This combines an 830cc single-rotor engine, developing 55kW, with a smaller-than-usual 17.8kWh battery pack. The roadster may use a smaller-still battery pack to help create a lighter package overall.

Apparently this setup is ideal for the sports car, with a full electric version expected to appear closer to 2030, when lighter batteries become more accessible. In the MX-30, the R-EV range-extender generates 122kW and 260Nm.

A mysterious sports car was previewed in Mazda’s mid-term 2030 strategy video back in November, and this may provide clues to the upcoming car’s styling – see the video at the bottom. We’ve created some digital renderings as well to help paint the picture.

Switching to electrification for the next generation MX-5 falls in line with Mazda’s schedule, which is part of phase 2 of its grand plan; making the transition through 2025-2027. From there the company plans to launch full electric models by 2030.

Affordability has always been a key element to the MX-5, so don’t expect any exotic materials like carbon fibre, but aluminium could make its way into more chassis components.

Being a sports car, the MX-5 has always had longer lifespans between generations than a typical mass-market car, and the current ND MX-5 is no exception. If past generations are any indication, it is expected to pass the baton to the NE in the next 18-24 months, by 2026.

We will keep you posted with news as it comes to hand. Stay tuned to Driving Enthusiast for Australia’s freshest automotive news.

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.

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