For the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, the development team was not going to be satisfied with a mere facelift. Nor were they prepared to aim for a design that simply accommodates current trends. Mazda’s only desire was to satisfy its vision of how an open-top lightweight sports car should look. It had to light a fire of excitement in the hearts of all those who relate to the stance Mazda assumed in developing the model over the past quarter century, and who crave an even purer embodiment of Mazda’s icon.
Mazda’s first thought in aiming for the ultimate MX-5 design was to create beautiful proportions that make the occupants stand out and look good.
True to its Japanese name, Roadster, the basic form of the MX-5 makes those riding in the car the stars when seen with the top down and windows lowered. As such, the packaging engineers assigned to the development team worked closely together to examine a wide variety of elements related to achieving a beautiful design, particularly when the top is down, and also to emphasise the driver’s seating position and embody beautiful proportions that best convey the satisfaction and exhilaration of driving the MX-5.
This led to refinements such as moving the cabin a little toward the rear to create the appearance that the occupants are sitting at the body’s midpoint, and lowering the hip point of the seats in conjunction with the new design’s low centre of gravity.
..... Mazda Press