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Mazda is looking to return to its roots when the next generation MX-5 Miata debuts. According to a report by InsideLine, the car will take inspiration from the MX-5 Superlight Concept and weigh just 2,200 lbs. Mazda has already announced that starting in 2011 it aims to cut the curb weight on all of its new models by at least 220 lbs.
Even more impressive is that it is expected to use the company’s new SKY-G engine, which Mazda debuted recently at the Tokyo Auto Show. Displacing just 1.3-liters, this 4-cylinder isn’t a hybrid or a diesel, but reportedly makes as much as 150-hp and can get anywhere from 50-mpg to 70-mpg!
Mazda has yet to reveal how it managed to get such a high fuel economy number out of this setup, but InsideLine is reporting that industry juggernaut Toyota is impressed and interested in the technology.
Recently Mazda did show a hybrid version of the SKY-G engine in its Kiyora Concept which debuted at the Tokyo Auto Show. Powered by the same 1.3-liter version of Mazda’s new SKY-G engine combined with a six-speed Sky-Drive automatic transmission, Mazda’s i-stop start/stop system and regenerative braking, Mazda says it can achieve 75 mpg.
New products will be more compact and use smaller engines
Starting in 2011, Mazda’s new products will be lighter, more compact and use smaller engines. The announcement comes from Mazda North America product boss Robert Davis, who specifically said that all new products will weight at least 220 lbs less than their predecessors. The decision is part of Mazda’s initiative to improve fuel economy and Davis says the reduction in weight will lead to a fuel economy improvement of anywhere from three to five percent.
While successive products have grown in size over the year, much of the added weight is due to lager wheels and tires as well as more complex safety equipment, said Davis.
To meet the 220 lb goal, new Mazdas will use lighter materials. That doesn’t mean, however, that the next Mazda3 will be sporting carbon fiber body panels, as Davis specifically said that level of engineering just doesn’t fit the Mazda cost structure. Instead, look for the use of more aluminum as well as smaller chassis overall. The size of future Mazda products should shrink with much of the space being cut up front where new smaller engines are expected to take the place of Mazda’s current lineup of powerplants.
We expect to see this new Mazda weight-saving policy reflected in future versions of the MX-5 Miata (as hinted at with the 2,200 lb MX-5 Superlight Concept, above), as well as with the upcoming Mazda2, which is set to debut at the LA Auto Show next month as a 2011 model.
To help celebrate the MX-5 Miata’s 20th anniversary, Mazda will show the MX-5 Superlight concept at the Frankfurt auto Show this September. And to wet our appetites, the Japanese automaker has released a few renderings of just what this speedster will look like.
An homage to early race cars, the Superlight has no windscreen or door handles and will be significantly lighter than the standard MX5. Mazda wants to illustrate how through the reduction of weight it can improve performance, handling and fuel-economy. There is no word on an engine but it’s likely to use either Mazda’s 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
It’s unlikely the MX-5 Superlight will ever see production, at least not as a road car. There is, however, the possibility that Mazda could build a limited number of the cars for track use, much like how Lotus built 2-Eleven for the same purpose.
GALLERY: Mazda MX-5 Superlight
[Source: Car Magazine]
Of course, this isn’t any old milestone; the MX-5 has been around for 20 years exactly – worming its way into our hearts since its debut in 1989. To some it is single handedly responsible for reviving the small sports car market that many thought had died with the British motor industry.
The chances of the MX-5 Superlight being put into production are, we think, remote. But then you never can tell with companies like Mazda.