Next Mazda Miata to lose weight, possibly gain a turbo

Sources report that the fourth iteration of Mazda's roadster will feature Skyactiv weight reduction and efficiency tech.

2009 Mazda Superlight concept
The 2009 Mazda Superlight concept matches the original Miata's 2,200-pound curb weight, but does so by sacrificing its top and windshield. Luca Mascaro

The 2012 Mazda Miata is one of the great bantamweights of the automotive industry, but even it has gained more than a few extra pounds over the years.

If reports from British car publication What Car? are to be believed, it would seem that the right folks at Mazda's R&D department have taken notice.

When asked about the next Mazda MX-5 Miata, Hirotaka Kanazawa, Mazda's senior managing executive officer in charge of R&D, told What Car?, "'We will return to the original. It will be lightweight and the cost will be lightweight too. It will be easy to handle and fun to drive."

The Mazda MX-5 Spyder concept, SEMA 2011
The bikini-topped MX-5 Spyder concept that debuted at SEMA 2011 also chases the original's 2,200-pound target, but its actual curb weight is unrevealed. Mazda

The original Miata weighed a scant 2,100 pounds, so the next Miata will need to shave over 300 pounds from the current generation to make weight. And Mazda will need to do that without getting too far from the current roadster's $23,190 starting price, which rules out most lightweight exotic materials, so we're expecting the next Miata to simply be smaller than the third-generation model and perhaps closer to the overall dimensions of the first or second generation.

However, the most interesting tidbit is that the next Miata, which is expected to arrive in 2014, could be powered by a small-displacement turbocharged engine taking advantage of Mazda's Skyactiv suite of efficiency technologies rather than a naturally aspirated one. This would be a Miata first. However, before you go shouting "MOAR POWA," remember that this is a return to form for the roadster, so expect a rev-happy and high-efficiency mill displacing about 1.3 liters. Mazda will, no doubt be placing an emphasis on "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom" here, so expect it to be a tire burner. (Although, Mazda could still switch gears and decide to offer a high-output version for enthusiasts. 2014 Mazdaspeed MX-5, anyone?)

[Source: What Car?, Autocar]

 

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