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.