Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the programme manager for the new MX-5 – and mastermind behind Mazda’s Le Mans-winning 787B prototype – confirmed the news while speaking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers,” Yamamoto-san told us. “Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power.
“In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” he added.
He also said that the new MX-5 won’t get any more engine derivatives either, meaning buyers will only ever have the option of a 1.5-litre with 129bhp, or a 2.0-litre making 158bhp.
First drive: 2015 Mazda MX-5
“We had five philosophies when developing the new MX-5,” Yamamoto-san explained. “One, it has to be a front-midship car. Second, it has to have a compact body and be an open-topped two seater.
“Third, it has to have 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. Fourth, there must be low inertia movement.
“Five, it’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” he added.
When pushed on whether the team ever debated – or indeed would debate in future – giving the MX-5 a turbo or supercharger, Yamamoto stated it went against the spirit of the roadster.
“I never considered using a turbo,” he said, “because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car.
First drive: new Mazda MX-5 2.0i
“What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important.”
Further afield, Yamamoto-san also stated – as we told you yesterday – that Mazda is open to a return to Le Mans. He was, don’t forget, the rotary racing engineer responsible for the 1991-winning 787B, and admitted he would like to see the company return to the famous 24-hour endurance race.
And, on the subject of rotary engines, Yamamoto admitted he believes there’s a future for an RX-7 or RX-8 successor from Mazda.
“I’d love to see a new one,” he said. “I have an RX-8 myself, and while I can’t speak about other departments, that’s not to say the future won’t yield another rotary-engined car.”
Now, here’s a thought: hands up who’d like to see a special run of rotary-engined, hardcore MX-5s?