Britain’s Autocar has revealed that the next generation of Mazda MX-5 (known here as the Miata), Mazda is taking three steps back to the original generation. True to the MX-5’s sports cars roots, the goal for the 2012 version is a curb weight of 2,200 pounds, not seen since the first generation cars of 1989 to 1997 (which came in at 2,100 pounds). By the second generation, curb weight had grown to 2,350 pounds, and the latest generation tips the scales at just over 2,400 pounds.
The key to the Miata’s appeal has always been moderate power coupled with superior balance and handling. None other than Jeremy Clarkson has said, “The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it 14.”
Front to rear weight balance of the Miata has always been near 50/50, and Mazda will continue to strive for this with the next generation. To achieve their goals of significantly reduced weight will require compromise on interior materials. In fact, Mazda has received complaints on the durability of materials used in the latest generation, many of which were chosen to save weight over previous generations.
It’s expected that Mazda will use their Sky-G motor in either 1.6 liter or 1.8 liter variants, and will offer both manual and dual-clutch automatic gearboxes. The Sky-G motor will likely feature a combination of better fuel economy and higher horsepower (via two-stage turbocharging) than the 2.0 liter MZR motor used in the current Miata. The normally aspirated MZR motor produces 170 horsepower, which is good enough to get a 2006 to 2010 Miata from zero to sixty in just under 7 seconds. More horsepower with less weight is always a good thing in my book.