Mazda and Alfa Romeo announced some time ago that they plan to join forces for the development of a small sports car that will replace the current MX-5 for Mazda and will revive the Spider for Alfa Romeo.
Today, we present to you the first mule of this upcoming project that we caught testing at the Nurburgring .
Both models will be built on a totally new chassis that features weight-saving technology to help reduce the total weight by about 220 pounds when compared to the current MX-5. Also, shared between the models is a new rear-wheel-drive system. Though they will be mechanically similar, the Mazda and Alfa models will look completely different from one another.
When it comes to the engine lineup, rumors suggest that the Alfa Romeo version will feature a four-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine with an output of about 150 horsepower. The Mazda roadster will get a 1.3-liter, turbocharged powerplant featuring SkyActiv technology and the same 150 horsepower.
It is unclear as to when the two models will hit the market, but rumors point toward the Mazda version will hit the market first with the Alfa Romeo version coming 6 to 12 months later.
Click past the jump to learn more about this MX-5 - Spider mule.
The prototype caught testing today was built on a chopped up body from the current MX-5, but it looks longer and wider. The doors and the area between front wheels and doors are longer. This combination means that the new model will feature a longer wheelbase, giving more room for the driver and passenger.
When it comes to the exterior, the two cars will have different looks and we expect the Alfa Romeo model to feature design cues borrowed from the 4C, while the new-gen MX-5 will get the latest Mazda "KODO" design language.