Mazda MX-5 Test Car

Despite the PRHT's availability, some are still yearning for a proper fixed-head coupe.

We are just days away from the official unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, and it's fair to say that the mouths of enthusiasts are watering in anticipation for the latest version of this iconic roadster. Hard facts about the new droptop aren't easy to find, and in the absence of further disclosure from Mazda officials, the rumormill is in full swing, including word that a long-awaited hardtop coupe model will figure into the new generation's plans.

According to Automotive News, Mazda has a staggering number of updates planned for essentially its entire range in the coming years. The company's strategy often amounts to a one-two punch with some updates coming one year and more following the next. It's an interesting tactic that should keep the brand in the headlines with all of the changes.

In terms of the Miata, that tactic means going on sale sometime next summer as an all-new ragtop model that returns to its roots with a similar size and weight as the original (Autoblog sources indicate that there will be a substantial weight drop versus today's NC Miata, but we don't expect a return to NA or even necessarily NB featheriness). A 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder and six-speed manual should provide a decent jump in performance, too.

The vaguer news arises about a year later,when the publication's sources say Mazda will bring out a MX-5 coupe with a fastback design. This isn't to be confused with a power folding retractable hardtop option (PRHT) – the runaway success of the folding lid on the current generation means we expect a similar unit to be available when the new generation first goes on sale. Despite the PRHT's availability, some buyers are still yearning for a proper fixed-head coupe bodystyle, and apparently Mazda may be listening. With the death of the RX-8, Mazda doesn't have a hard top sports car in its lineup, and this would seem to be an easy way to get one.

The Mazda3 will get an exterior refresh in the second half of 2016 to coincide with a new Mazdaspeed3.

In similar style, the Mazda6 and CX-5 are also getting back-to-back updates. Both are rumored to get revised interiors in 2015, plus slight visual updates to the outside of the crossover. Then, more changes for them both will come the following year, says Automotive News.

Even bigger changes may be in the works for the Mazda3, which is still new on the market. AN says the 3 will get an exterior refresh in the second half of 2016 to coincide with a new generation of the Mazdaspeed3. That hot hatch is speculated to use a 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactiv engine packing over 300 horsepower and possibly even all-wheel drive for the first time.

The nearly here next-gen Mazda2 will arrive later this year, but a performance-oriented model with a modified 1.5-liter Skyactiv powerplant is expected, too. AN says the model will feature a less-restrictive intake and exhaust among its changes.

Finally, AN says that the Mazda5 minivan will be axed in 2015, and the as-yet-unconfirmed CX-3 subcompact crossover will bow next June as a 2016 model. That model had previously been rumored to not be a US offering.

These changes certainly sound like they are coming very quickly, but keep in mind the brand is on an engineer hiring binge. All of those people have to be working on something, right?