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Report: Next-Gen Mazda MX-5 Will Be Smaller And Lighter

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The launch of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 has reportedly been pushed back as far as late 2011 because of a number of major changes in store for the car. Not only is Mazda developing a new lightweight platform and fuel-efficient powertrains, but a new coupe version is also expected to join the ranks.

The MX-5’s chief developer, Takao Kijima, has previously stated that the new model will be smaller and at least 10% lighter than the current car, which means a kerb weight of less than 2,200 pounds.

The goal for Mazda will be to make the car’s styling and proportions closer to that of the original 1989 model. However, interior space and safety will be better than the current car due to improved engineering and clever packaging. Finally, both a folding hard-top roof and a conventional fabric soft-top are expected, as well as a possible coupe.

It appears the MX-5 Superlight concept from the recent 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show was not just a farfetched fantasy but a preview of what a future version of the popular roadster could be like. Thanks to a series of weight saving measures, the concept car checked in at a barely-there 2,190 pounds.

In terms of powertrains, an inside source has revealed to Autocar that it would come with a range of light and compact 1.4 and 1.6-liter engines with direct-injection and turbocharging technologies. The source also revealed that the car could pick up an electronic power steering system to help conserve more fuel.

Other goodies could include a dual-clutch transmission as well as a revised suspension set-up that does away with the bulky double wishbone front end on today’s car. To save additional weight, Mazda may adopt new steel construction methods that enable less metal to be used in its cars’ bodies.

When can we expect to see the new car? Most likely at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

[Autocar]

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Comments (7)
  1. Hallelujah - A replacement model that's lighter and smaller than its predecessor. My, my. Pigs do fly.
     
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  2. Here's a hint Mazda, Lotus has been doing this for years, it's called the Elise. Fiberglass. A V6 sourced from a Camry. Small, light, yet powerful. Everything the MX-5 should be, after all, the MX-5 was built in the tradition of classic British roadsters. But British roadsters have grown up since the 1960's, and so should the MX-5.
     
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  3. Um, Jenny--
    ...the Elise doesn't have a V6 - it's a 1.8l 4 cylinder, originally from what was the last Celica.
    However, I agree - it's about time that "Bigger/More Powerful" is over.
     
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  4. Oh, snap, you're right, it was an inline-4.
     
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  5. Oh my I'm drooling already and I have no idea what it looks like. Lighter is always better. The only thing that worries me is getting rid of the front double wishbone setup. I really hope they don't go with a strut or similar crappy layout.
    As far as the Miata "growing up", I sure hope it doesn't. Miatas can't really be compared to Elises considering they're half the price. It's become one of the most popular and most beloved sports cars in the world by being simple, lightweight, and priced so anyone can buy one. Messing with that formula would screw everything up. A more sophistaced sports car from Mazda is what the RX7 and/or RX8 are for. Leave the Miata out of that race.
     
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  6. I'd love to see the Miata with smaller, wider rims, (say around 14 inches, no bigger!) about 4 inches more leg room front to back, a slighter longer wheelbase, say 97 inches, LED tail lights, dual clutch transmission, a lighter more appropriate single exhaust and dry sump lubrication would lower the car's hood and allow for the fitment of a strut bar.
     
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  7. I think they're going to go with the lighter Porsche Cayman suspension arraignment using MacPherson struts all around. Porsche has already proven that this lightweight though less desirable suspension arrangement can work. I just want the option of carbon ceramic brakes and dry sump lubrication for the engine.
     
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