The now eight-year-old ND-generation Mazda MX-5 appears to be receiving another update.

    Photos published on Instagram by Rollende Reporter show an MX-5 RF at the Nurburgring with extremely subtle exterior design changes that you really have to squint to see.

    The most notable changes can be found with the headlights and tail lights, which have a tweaked signature. The housings for both appear to be unaltered though.

    Other design alterations include a shark fin antenna instead of the regular aerial antenna, though its mounting point is still visible on this prototype, as well as tweaked rear reflectors.

    Despite the changes on the spied MX-5’s design being minor, they could be the largest exterior design changes the car has received since it went into production in 2015.

    The MX-5 has received updates in the past, but they’re typically limited to extra equipment. The most recent update for example brought Kinematic Posture Control (KPC), more safety equipment, and new interior and exterior colour options.

    At this stage it’s unclear if Mazda will make any tweaks to the MX-5’s interior technology or powertrain with this update.

    The current 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine produces 135kW of power and 205Nm of torque, with the smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine getting the axe here in 2022.

    Seeing Mazda appears to be working on a refresh for the current ND-generation MX-5, this casts a bit of doubt over when we can expect an all-new model.

    “It’s our brand icon and it is always treated very specially,” said Mazda Europe’s head of product development and engineering told Autocar.

    “At the moment, it looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine. Of course, some day, we will have electrify it, but we want to keep this pure concept.”

    The Autocar report from last year also indicated the next-generation MX-5 will remain rear-wheel drive and is in line to use the company’s Skyactiv-X petrol engine in the pursuit of extra efficiency, instead of using plug-in or pure-electric power.

    The Skyactiv-X engine uses alternating spark-guided compression ignition, the idea being to pair a high-revving naturally aspirated petrol’s character with greater efficiency and torque – somewhat like a diesel.

    It launched here in 2020 and is now only available in the CX-30. This engine was axed from the local Mazda 3 range as part of a 2023 model year update.

    It’s worth noting neither of these models are rear-wheel drive like the MX-5.

    MORE: Everything Mazda MX-5

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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