The cheap convertible is back in fashion.
Roughly 35 years after the unveiling of the groundbreaking Mazda MX-5 Miata, 2024 is shaping up to be the year of the roadster’s return, with not one, but several droptops (or targas) that will triple our selection and – hopefully – lead to a new wave of more attainable ones sports car.
While it’s a coincidence that there will be such a sudden influx in two years’ time, the year 2024 actually marks anniversaries for three of the makes and models in question.
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In a world weary of pandemics, politics and oppression, what better way to say goodbye to the boring 20s and make way for the roaring 20s than with this list of awesome future sun-seekers.
2024 MG Cyberster
Launched last year by a concept car of the same name, the MG Cyberster will celebrate the historic 100th anniversary of the Chinese brand MG in 2024 with a production model that simultaneously looks back and forward.
Thanks to the patent office drawings published a few days ago, we also now know what the final product will look like, revealing another piece of the puzzle that has been in the works for several years.
While the production Cyberster’s profile and proportions show some fairly obvious Ferrari and McLaren front-end design inspiration, they share a family resemblance to the mid-engined MG F (1995) and its TF successor (2002). The latter lived on for four years after the collapsed Rover Group sold the brand to China’s SAIC in 2007.
This nod to the past is probably intended to re-establish MG as a maker of two-seat open sports cars. But it’s also steeped in forward-thinking, as the 2024 Cyberster is expected to adopt an all-new electric architecture, offering a rear-mounted single motor as well as optional rear/front-mounted dual motor versions.
Incidentally, the latter is said to bring insane acceleration and performance. Whether the fastest version can achieve a sprint time of less than 3.0 seconds to 100 km/h or 800 km of range on a single charge remains to be seen.
Being a production vehicle, the newcomer seems to ditch some of the highs of the 2021 Cyberster concept, including the oversized front fascia, camera wing mirrors and out-of-the-way wheels.
Whatever turns up in MG’s showrooms two years from now, after nearly a decade of cheap and boring hatchbacks and SUVs, the 2024 Cyberster is a re-establishment of the brand’s pre-21st-century status.
Founded in 1924 as a modifier of Morris cars (the initials standing for Morris Garages), MG for generations has embodied motoring fun with inexpensive, flat two-seater roadsters based on secular saloons made from the 1930s to the present day were manufactured until the late 1970s.
After years of wilderness being just badge-engineered, faster versions of Morris and later Austin subcompacts, the 1995 MG F successfully resurrected the old formula but with an exotic mid-engined rear-wheel drive twist, to face the phenomenon was – and remains – the Mazda MX-5…
2024 Mazda NE MX-5
We’re hoping Mazda will consider unveiling its all-new MX-5 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original NA series on February 10, 2024.
Regardless, we understand that the Japanese marque single-handedly revived the decaying roadster concept as an after-hours skunkworks project by a group of dedicated enthusiasts, engineers and designers in the 1980s and then went on to define an era and influence dozens of sports cars that followed is at it again.
Not much is known about what the NE MX-5 will be, other than that it will likely be a reskin of the current ND model, which debuted in 2014 with fresh styling inside and out, keeping an evolution of its rear-wheel drive architecture and using versions of the existing one 2.0 liter four-cylinder petrol engine with or without mild hybrid technology available (depending on the market) and try to stay as close to 1000 kg as possible.
It’s also worth noting that a variant of the Mazda3 and CX-30’s controversial 2.0-litre SkyActiv-X power unit, with spark-controlled compression ignition and a supercharger to maximize combustion efficiency, could serve as the basis for all MX-5 engines in the Roadster’s next generation. Who knows? How, or even if, the recently discontinued 1.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine will fit inside also remains to be seen.
Reports published earlier this year suggested that Mazda might be considering a multiple electric motor approach by 2030, allowing for both power and all-wheel drive, but such costly, weighty moves seem at odds with the core lightness of the MX-5 is the best Ethos.
Whatever happens, the fact that Mazda will be putting the finishing touches on yet another MX-5 should be music to the ears of motorists around the world.
2024 Toyota MR2
While various rumors are doing the rounds, virtually nothing concrete is known about the upcoming entry-level Toyota sports car, or if it could actually revive a name that rose to fame from 1984 (until 2007) and so ripe for a 40th anniversary revival is 2024.
But fingers crossed as Toyota has released photos of 17 future electric vehicles, including the Targa-style two-seat coupe EV Sport that could potentially morph into the long-rumoured MR2 Spyder replacement.
So not exactly a roadster, but a convertible nonetheless, and something to rival the beautiful Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) that allows open-top driving without too much exposure to the elements.
Other reports suggest Toyota may be collaborating with Suzuki and in-house minicar brand Daihatsu (remember them?) on an affordable mid-engine sports car, with 2025 set as the target launch date. Corresponding BestCarWeb, it is mainly developed by Suzuki to help keep prices down. At this point, no one can imagine what is going on at Toyota.
But we are certain: cheap convertibles are on the way back.
Other automakers also said to be developing drop-tops include Volkswagen (with a convertible version of the ID.3 hatchback and successor to the VW Golf Cabriolet), Fiat (the 500e EV Cabriolet will be available as early as next year expected in Australia) and Mini. with the upcoming Convertible EV expected by 2025.
There is more to come, so please pay attention to this area.
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