Alfa Romeo parent company Fiat has confirmed that Alfa will develop a new two-seat roadster based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5.
Alfa Romeo roadster
The agreement to co-develop a new open-top sports car will see Alfa Romeo return to the rear-wheel-drive roadster market.
The arrangement between Fiat and Mazda is currently non-binding, but the understanding will see both marques develop cars that are ‘clearly differentiated in terms of design’, according to a statement from both companies.
The two cars will be powered by different engines, unique to the individual brand. That means the Mazda variant is likely to get a retuned version of the current MX-5’s 160bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.
Alfa Romeo’s offering could get its 1.75-litre turbocharged petrol unit, as seen in the firm’s 4C concept car. It is not yet confirmed whether the new car will have a folding metal roof or a more conventional fabric hood.
The agreement between Mazda and Alfa Romeo should provide other opportunities for cooperation in the Japanese and European markets. Fiat does not have a strong presence in Japan, while Mazda is now a smaller force in Europe since its separation from Ford.
Mazda has not confirmed a production date for its next-generation MX-5. The new car is expected to debut in 2014, while Alfa Romeo has said it intends to begin production of its version in 2015.