In August 2005, the third-generation Mazda Roadster (MX-5) appeared amid a number of new rivals. Top priority was given to improve the car's on-road character, allowing the driver to "control the car exactly to his or her will". The first order of business was to keep the car's curb weight as low as possible, and as a result, the new two-seat convertible tipped the scales at a meager 10 kg heavier than the previous RS-grade version.
This was accomplished despite the fact that the car's body was enlarged by 1.5 inches in both overall length and width, while wheelbase grew by 2.5 inches. Because the new MX-5 stretched 67.7 inches from bumper to bumper, it was classified as Size 3 car in Japanese vehicle regulations.
In contrast, the engine was shortened by 3.1 inches, allowing for a front mid-ship configuration, helping to achieve an ideal 50/50 weight balance. The engine came in the form of the LF-VE, a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-4 that was mated to either 5- or 6-speed manual, or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The suspension utilized a new multilink design in the rear to achieve improved agility.
The RS was the sports grade model and featured Bilstein dampers, 17-in. wheels and a front suspension strut tower bar that improved chassis stiffness. The new Roadster was the embodiment of the original model's motto of "Horse Rider One Body", and in November 2005, it was named Japan's Car of the Year.