The European Union’s Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM), the body responsible for registering the EU’s trademarks, previously let slip a series of images detailing Mazda’s upcoming MX-5 facelift. Now another source has revealed what appears to be an official embargoed photo of the car that reveals the updates more plainly.
Focusing on the front of the car, the pictures show a conservative restyling of the roadster’s major features, though from several angles it’s beginning to grow a resemblance to Honda’s S2000 that wasn’t present before. The new photo, confirms the sketches leaked by the OHIM last month.
The character hump in the hood remains, as does the fender flares that give the barest of nods to the RX8’s design. A tweaked mesh grille is also more reminiscent of the Mazdaspeed3 (MPS) than previous designs, as is the new lower intake. It’s not yet known when the update will begin hitting dealer lots, but judging by the submission to the EU’s trademark office it will be sooner than later. Expect a possible late 2008 or early 2009 debut for Japan and Europe, with other markets to follow soon after.
While the changes are far from extensive, they will have to weather for several more years at least as the release of the next MX-5 has been pushed back to 2012. The reason for the delay is reportedly because of plans for a new coupe model as well as development of a new lightweight platform and next-generation powertrain.
While Mazda has been playing it safe with its iconic roadster to date, design chief Lauren Van den Acker has been quoted as saying the next-gen Miata, due in 2012, will be more radical in design, likely along the lines of the Nagare and other concepts with the same design language. The next MX-5 also is expected to shed some weight, gain some power, and be more fuel-efficient