Unveiled last November, the sleek Vision Study concept pictured here highlighted Mazda's long-term commitment to making enjoyable cars. It may or may not have been an early look at the next-generation MX-5 but enthusiasts mustn't worry as the MX-5 will be a permanent fixture in the lineup. We mean that literally since the company's CEO in Europe, Martijn ten Brink, told Autocar at the 2023 Brussels Motor Show the sports car "will never die."

When asked about what the Zoom-Zoom company has in tow for its beloved rear-wheel-drive convertible, ten Brink said: "How do you stay true to the concept of what the car stands for taking it into the next generation of technologies? That's not been decided. But I think for Mazda it would be fair to say that the MX-5 will never die."

Mazda Vision Study concept

He went on to mention it will "definitely remain part of the lineup" and is curious to see the direction the next generation will take. In the meantime, the ND is sticking around. Typically, selling largely the same car for eight years (and counting) means it's at risk of becoming outdated, but those who buy the MX-5 appreciate it for its simplicity: naturally aspirated engines, RWD, and one of the best manual gearboxes in the industry.

It's also one of the most affordable sports cars money can buy, albeit prices have gone up in recent years. Any form of hybridisation for the NE would likely come at a premium due to the added complexity of the powertrain. To meet Euro 7 regulations in EU countries, a partially electrified setup has already been suggested by Yasuhiro Aoyama, Mazda's director and senior managing executive officer.

An early test mule of the MX-5 NE might've been spotted back in September 2022. Even if that's true, the production-ready vehicle is unlikely to go on sale in the foreseeable future. Whenever that happens, Mazda has promised to keep the RWD+ICE formula alive for the fifth-generation model. An electric MX-5 is inevitable but we don't envision it happening anytime soon. Maybe with the NF?