Mazda’s next-generation Mazda MX-5 will return to its original sports car concept as it will be lightweight and will be using a small-capacity turbocharged four engine. Mazda has hopes for the 2012/13 of the two-seater vehicle to be a major step forward for a volume-production sports car.
A source said that Mazda’s engineers are tasked to shave off 275kg from the 1075kg ‘empty’ kerb weight (the weight without a driver) of the existing MX-5 to reach a target of 800kg.
At the 1989 debut of the MX-5, it was at its leanest, weighing only 955kg. But this was the time when crash-testing wasn’t done yet and heavy body structures, side-impact bars and airbags, and extensive, luxury features weren’t offered as standard yet.
The source said that the progress is “not bad” but he doubts that its engineers will be able to reach the 800kg target. Mazda will undertake several ways to reduce the weight. It will reduce the weight of as many mechanical parts as it can; it will use lightweight materials, and it will even remove some features.
There will then be a “virtuous circle” wherein a lighter car would require lighter transmission, smaller brakes, lighter hefty suspension, etc. Instead of the 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines, the next MX-5 will use small direct-injection four-cylinder turbocharged engine of roughly 1.5 litres.
It will have variable cam phasing, lighter, low-friction reciprocating parts, and it may even have a new exhaust manifold design for a more effective exhaust gas evacuation.