Mazda has announced that it will be launching a new model at the New York auto show later this month, and rumors have it that we’ll meet the first production folding hard top version of the iconic MX-5 Miata.
Though Mazda has never built a permanent fixed roof version of its MX-5 (for production), the previous generation roadster broke into the power folding hardtop segment. The next iteration of that guise would appear to be the world premiere Mazda is hinting at in two weeks.
An invitation from the Japanese automaker reads, “help us blow the lid off at the NY Auto Show,” which can really only point to the Miata – the brand’s only convertible. It’s been about a year since the fourth generation MX-5 was revealed, which matches up with the typical introduction cycle for automakers (though most debut coupe first, then drop-top).
In an interview with Autocar, Mazda mentioned that the new hardtop MX-5 would use a lighter and more compact folding roof than the NC generation. Still, the hardtop version will be a bit heftier than the ultra-light roadster’s 2,332 pound curb weight. Price-wise, expect a bump of about $2,000 over the entry-level car’s $24,915 starting figure.
Since the original Miata, owners have sought fixed-roof versions of the car to increase rigidity and cabin quietness. NA generation cars could use a single-piece hardtop in addition to, or to replace the folding soft-top, and since the NB generation that followed had similar dimensions, the same type of unit was available.
The decision to offer a power folding hardtop in the NC generation was criticized because of the extra 120 lbs the model gained over the standard soft top version, but ultimately the new spec sold well for buyers who cared less about all-out performance and more about driver comfort.
With Mazda’s effort to cut weight and increase performance on the latest MX-5 Miata, we can expect the hardtop version to be as close to the enthusiast’s heart as possible, but we’ll find out for sure on March 23rd.