Monday 16 November 2009

2012 Mazda MX-5/Miata to be smaller & lighter

The next Mazda MX-5 will be smaller and lighter than the current car in an attempt to duplicate the spirit of the original, according to Mazda insiders.

Mazda’s R&D team is working on making the new car as light and compact as the original MX-5/Miata, which was launched 20 years ago. A Mazda source described the current car as “just too heavy”; with a 2.0 litre petrol engine, its kerb weight is 1,098kg, compared with the original’s 970kg. So engineers are targeting a kerb weight of 1,000kg, same as the current Mazda2. That would give the new car a figure similar to that of the recent 980kg MX-5 Superlight concept, the first of a series of design studies that will define the direction Mazda will take with the new car.

Much of this weight loss will be achieved through a smaller and lighter engine, likely to copy the original’s 1.6 litre capacity. “We are testing both 1.6 and 1.8 litre engines, which undercut our current 2.0 litre unit but deliver the same 160-170bhp power range,” said our source.

The dimensions of the car’s platform and wheelbase will stay much the same but Mazda is known to be looking at reducing the front and rear overhangs.

Lightweight construction techniques will also be used. Mazda is experimenting with using new steel construction methods that enable less metal to be used in its bodyshells. Mazda is also employing the chief engineer of the first MX-5, Takao Kijima, as a special advisor for the new car.

The new MX-5 is due to be unveiled in 2011, possibly at the Tokyo motorshow. Sources suggest that the price could come down, too, to reflect the new MX-5’s more simple appeal.


Thomas said...

How can reducing the engine size make that much of a difference on the weight. I mean I get it that a smaller engine will save some lbs....but it cannot be that much! I mean look at the corvette v-8. That engine weight much less than its competitors. The should look to add an aluminum roof and get rid of all the extras.

Anonymous said...

A smaller engine is the domino that results in cascading benefits from all resulting and supporting components that can be sized smaller. For example, a lighter car, intentionally designed with a smaller motor, can be built with smaller brakes, smaller wheels, smaller clutch and flywheel, smaller rad, smaller power steering pump, water pump, etc etc etc. Never mind a smaller battery, also. Swapping in a smaller motor saves barely any weight, true. but ENGINEERING in a smaller motor intentionally, can easily save an additional 50-100 lbs with lighter duty components that do the same job with less.

Gerry said...

I think making the MX5 smaller is a bad idea. I've owned a 2003 and currently have a 2007. The difference in power, ride, braking and overall comfort is like night and day. The larger 2007 feels solid, handles beautifully, and the power to weight ratio is definitely adequate. With today's technology I don't understand why Mazda would want to take a step backwards. Honda S2000 can pump out nearly 265 hp with their 2 litre engine, so why can't Mazda's. I may reconsider purshcasing another MX5 if they downsize it.

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