More than anything else the world’s bestselling two-seater sports car has been revered for the way it handles. This recognition of the MX-5’s agility and driver engagement was at the forefront of attention for the team developing the fourth-generation of this sports car icon. Conceived under the concept of “innovate in order to preserve” this engineering philosophy has allowed Mada to maintain the agility, fun and engagement that has always defined the MX-5 while at the same time meeting ever-increasing safety and efficiency requirements, alongside improved refinement. 

In the words of Nobuhiro Yamamoto, Programme Manager for the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 during its development “the MX-5 will meet and exceed the expectations of its fans around the world. It’s a car rich with charm that appeals to the emotions and to the senses. This is what I aspired to deliver with the MX-5”

And today Mazda has managed to create a lightweight sports car with unparalleled amounts of ‘Jinba Ittai’. This sense of oneness between car and driver is delivered by an MX-5 built to feel even more like an extension of the driver than ever before.

The most user-friendly generation yet, the Mazda MX-5 lifts the benchmark for handling and agility to new levels. By merging Mazda’s Skyactiv technology of lightweight engineering and efficient engines with the MX-5’s defining roadster principles, Mazda has been able to further enhance the iconic sports car’s confidence inspiring stability and smile inducing handling.

The lightest MX-5 since the first-generation, the latest car has achieved a weight saving of over 100kg compared to the outgoing model. As before this is perfectly balanced between the front and rear of the car with the poise of 50:50 weight-distribution. This generation MX-5 is not only lighter and shorter with a lower centre of gravity; it’s also stiffer and safer.

The Mazda MX-5’s Skyactiv-Chassis retains a front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension set-up, but extensive development has seen components reworked in the name of lightness, strength and handling precision. To enhance traction and reduce understeer the front castor angle were increased, while to improve suspension rigidity the truss structure was designed for the rear cross-member. By using a portion of the body frame as the rear suspension cross-member and joining it in a truss shape, this not only improved diagonal rigidity it lowered overall weight at the same time.  

Compared to the previous Mk3 model, the Mazda MX-5’s suspension system is 12kg lighter with the front knuckle, plus the front upper and lower arms made from aluminium. The engine frame and rear hub supports also benefit from lightweight aluminium construction, while high-tensile steel is employed for the front cross-member. This commitment to saving every possible gram continues with the Skyactiv-Body which features a considerably higher percentage of high-tensile steels and aluminium, which now make up 71 per cent of the body-in-white, up from 58 per cent with the third-generation car.

With front wings, bumper reinforcements and seatback bars also made of aluminium it’s clear to see the effort Mazda has made to buck the industry trend of creating bigger and heavier cars. Yet, the engineering focus was equally trained on improving chassis and body rigidity. Reinforced rear suspension towers that stifle body deformation under load, plus stronger front suspension mounts and seats mounted directly to the B-Frame to heighten local rigidity, are examples of why the Mazda MX-5 is stronger as well as lighter. The end-result is tauter body control and a more precise platform to deliver the agile handling MX-5 drivers love. Cars with the 2.0-litre 184ps Skyactiv-G engine have a limited slip differential, sports suspension with Bilstein dampers and a strut brace.

Since 2022, all MX-5 models are now fitted with Kinematic Posture Control (KPC). Mazda’s KPC system is designed to increase stability during cornering without impacting the purity of the MX-5’s handling and driver engagement. The KPC system applies a very small amount of brake force to the inner/unloaded rear wheel during cornering, the resulting brake force pulls the body down, suppressing body roll to provide more reassuring cornering so subtly that the MX-5’s engaging handling remains unpolluted. 

The MX-5’s steering system also plays a big part in delivering enhanced levels of engagement and feedback. Replacing the third-generation cars hydraulic power steering set up, the fourth-generation MX-5 is the first with a space-saving dual-pinion electric power assist steering system. By placing the system closer to the front wheels and enhancing stiffness below the steering column, steering feel, linearity and precision has been improved, while a steering ratio change from 15.1 to 15.5 means the steering responds directly and quickly, just as you’d expect in a sporty roadster.

The MX-5’s vented front disc and solid rear disc layout has been set-up to deliver a linier response at lower speeds but solid stopping power and reassuring pedal pressure at higher loads. With improved stability and less weight transfer under braking and when releasing the pedal, the latest MX-5 delivers greater control and improved comfort. 

Updates to the 2024 Mazda MX-5 include the new Asymmetric Limited Slip Differential - a cam mechanism has been added to the conical clutch, which is lightweight, compact and highly durable. The cam angle is set differently for the deceleration and acceleration side, thereby achieving optimal limiting force of slip during both actions. Strengthening the slip limiting force when the unloaded rear wheel is lightened during cornering enhances stability, moreover tuning the slip limiting force and optimising the set up for the MX-5’s engine, suspension and tyre characteristics ensures the purity of handling balance the MX-5 is famed for.

Other fine-tuning aspects introduced on the 2024 car include tweaks to the steering where friction in the steering rack has been reduced to further enhance the nimble and precise response of the MX-5. Friction has been reduced by around five per cent, which combined with refined electric-power steering control logic has further improved the sense of oneness with the road that the MX-5 is famed for.

On Exclusive-Line and Homura models, the 2024 Mazda MX-5 also sees the introduction a new track driving mode within the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that avoids intervention until a later parameter to deliver a more dynamic, yet secure, drive experience with first-time track drivers in mind. As before, the system can be fully deactivated for the purest driving experience on track.

More engaging to drive than ever, the 2024 Mazda MX-5 provides the undiluted driving pleasure you’d expect from the latest version of the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car, yet at the same time it delivers never seen before levels of comfort, refinement and sophistication.