The launch of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata has reportedly been pushed back as far as 2012 because of a number of major changes in store for the car. Not only is Mazda developing a new generation of lightweight platforms and fuel-efficient powertrains, but a new coupe version is also expected to join the ranks. The story doesn’t end there as Mazda’s program manager for the new model has revealed that a new range of alternative powertrains could be available, as well as several other fuel-saving measures.

Mazda’s global design chief Lauren Van den Acker has previously mentioned that the next MX-5 will be a major leap in terms of styling and dynamics over the current model, and its chief developer Takao Kijima has also stated that the new model will be smaller and at least 10% lighter than the current car, which means a kerb weight around the 1,000kg mark. He also revealed the car would pick up an electronic power steering to help conserve more fuel.

An inside source has now revealed to GoAuto that the next MX-5 is being developed on a new platform to be shared with a second 2+2 seater coupe, which has been branded as the spiritual successor to the RX-7. Due in three years, the car will be called the RX-9 and will feature Mazda’s latest generation 16X twin rotor Renesis rotary engine matched to a dual-clutch transmission.

As for the MX-5, the source revealed the car would come with a range of light and compact 1.4 and 1.6L engines with direct-injection and turbocharging technologies. Other goodies will include an optional 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.

The car’s styling and proportions, according to the source, will be closer in size to 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.

While the new model isn’t expected for several years, the MX-5 recently underwent a mild refresh to keep it competitive in the affordable convertible market.


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