The fourth generation Mazda Miata, due out in 2012 is going to be more in line with the original Miata, with a smaller engine and lower curb weight. There is also a strong possibility that Mazda will bring back the soft-top (as well as offer a hard-top) – a move that would easily save a bundle of weight.
This most recent news come from Australian publication GoAuto, which cites an inside (but unnamed) source.
The article claims that the new model will not only get lighter thanks to a traditional soft top, but do to the use of electric power steering (over hydraulic) and by using a new lighter suspension. Apparently the adapted RX-8 suspension parts used in the current Miata were forced upon Mazda engineers by the accountants at Ford (Mazda’s parent company) who wanted to keep costs down.
The target curb weight of the fourth-gen model is set at less than 2,200 lbs – significantly lower than the current 2,485 to 2,595 curb weight of the third-generation model.
The report also states that the Miata will be powered by a smaller and more efficient engine; possibly a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter engine with forced induction. A dual-clutch transmission is, however, unlikely.