A look back though Mazda’s history reveals that the MX name actually pre-dates the world’s best-selling roadster, the MX-5, and has in fact been used more than a dozen times across a broad spread of production, concept and racing Mazdas.
These vehicle’s share the MX prefix because they have all taken on the challenge to create and deliver new values without being confined by convention, regardless of vehicle type. When it was revealed in 1989 the MX-5 was exactly this kind of car – as the automotive industry moved away from the affordable sports car, Mazda defied convention to create a perfect modern reinterpretation of the classic rear-wheel drive roadster.
Revealed in 1981, the first Mazda to wear the MX badge was the MX-81 concept car. This futuristic wedge-shaped hatchback was created by Italian styling house Bertone, and its high-mounted tail lights and pop-up headlamps were to appear in future Mazda models.
Unique features of the 1983 MX-02 concept included rear wheel steering and a windscreen head-up display, whilst the 1985 MX-03 concept went several steps further with an aircraft-style yoke rather than a wheel, digital displays, four-wheel steering and all-wheel drive, and a triple rotor 315PS engine.
First seen at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show, the rotary engined MX-04 boasted two sets of removable fibreglass body panels, allowing owners to choose between a glass dome-roofed coupe or a beach buggy-style open sided roadster. Just two years later, the MX-5 arrived. The next cars to wear the MX badge were production models: the 1992 MX-3 coupe hatchback sported the world’s smallest V6 engine, and the larger MX-6 offered big coupe style for family saloon money.
The banning of rotary powered cars after the Mazda 787B took victory in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours spawned he most radical car to wear the MX badge in the 1990s – the MXR-01 prototype race car, of which just five examples were built. Sadly, the 1992 collapse of the World Sportscar Championship for which it was built denied the MXR-01 the chance of success, and spelt the end of Mazda’s world level motorsport programme.
The 2001 MX-Sport Tourer was a radical concept with freestyle doors, and the 2004 MX-Flexa concept introduced the world to the Sliding doors of the Mazda5 production car. The 2002 MX-Sport Runabout and 2003 MX-Sportif concepts previewed the second-generation Mazda2 and new Mazda3 respectively. The 2004 MX-MicroSport was a US-focused hatchback concept, whilst the 2005 MX-Crossport concept paved the way for a lineage of award-winning SUVs that lead to today’s CX-5 and CX-30.
Now, with the arrival of the Mazda MX-30, it’s appropriate that the MX name returns to a production model. As Mazda’s first production EV, the MX-30 is a car that represents a new chapter in Mazda’s history.
AN ELECTRIC CAR FOR BOTH THE DRIVER AND THE ENVIRONMENT
While retaining the beautiful, handcrafted forms of Kodo design, the styling of the Mazda MX-30 is further inspired by the ‘Human Modern’ concept – an exploration of a more expressive design direction which focuses on emerging new values and lifestyles.
This ‘Human Modern’ concept spurred numerous unprecedented design approaches. The exterior is uncompromisingly simple to emphasize its beauty as a solid mass, while its freestyle doors and framed glasshouse hint at the open, airy and spacious feeling of the cabin within.
The interior is designed to give occupants a sense of being ‘enveloped in openness’, and features a floating centre console and unique materials designed to minimize environmental impact.