The Mazda MX-5 is among the few widely available, relatively affordable convertible sports cars on the market. A new generation is now on the horizon. A hybrid powertrain could be among the big changes that keep the model in the lineup for another iteration.

The Euro 7 emissions regulations are a major consideration for Mazda when developing the new MX-5.

Gallery: Mazda Vision Study concept

"It should be also heavily triggered by the implementation of the new legislation that was recently announced for stage seven in Europe," Yasuhiro Aoyama, Mazda’s director and senior managing executive officer, told Wheels. "So the contents of stage seven we are still investigating, but it will affect our MX-5 at the time."

Aoyama sees a hybrid as a solution to meeting the stricter emissions regulations.

"It will, at the time, be some kind of electrification so we need to investigate the most appropriate strategy for the future MX-5 which will not betray our passionate fans’ expectations," he said.

Aoyama's statement isn't the first time we are hearing about an electrified MX-5. In 2021, a Mazda spokesperson confirmed to that the company intended to electrify the next-gen MX-5. "Mazda is seeking to electrify the MX-5 in an effort to have all models feature a form of electrification by 2030," the source said.

Akira Tamatani, Mazda's head of design, also discussed the future MX-5. He ruled out using the brand's new mild-hybrid inline-six in the sports car. "If you put that kind of engine in and it won’t be an MX-5 anymore," he said. 

Tamatani indicates the new MX-5 wouldn't be identical to the recent Vision Study Concept (gallery above). Mazda debuted the swoopy design in November. There was lots of discussion about whether it imagined a future MX-5 or something else.

"It’s a message. We have this passion to create that type of vehicle, that’s the message we want to say. But will we make production vehicles made from that? We still haven’t really decided," Tamatani said.

In September 2022, spy shots caught Mazda testing a current generation MX-5 with a camouflaged nose. If you looked closely, the rear quarter panels were wider than the existing model. Wiring ran along this area, too. The vehicle was allegedly a test mule for the next-gen sports car.