Weighing 2,332 lbs with a manual transmission, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is poised to be one of the lightest and most affordable sports cars available today.
Blast From The Past
1990 Mazda MX-5: 240 lbs lighter
The MX-5 has always been a lightweight, with the first 1990 MX-5 Miata weighing in at 2,092 lbs. Of course, that was back in 1989 when safety standards weren’t as tough as they are today. The first-gen Miata is 240 lbs lighter than its modern counterpart while offering modern safety features like ABS (1991) and one airbag for the driver. In 1994 Mazda added an optional passenger airbag.
For a more direct comparison, the current 2015 Mazda MX-5 weighs 2,480 lbs with a manual transmission, which makes it 148 lbs heavier than the new model.
Cars that Are Lighter
Lotus Elise: 401 lbs lighter
Is the MX-5 the lightest sports car on the road? Certainly not because the Lotus Elise weighs 1,931 lbs. making it 401 lbs lighter than the MX-5. Then again, the Elise doesn’t come standard with air-conditioning, while we’re betting that the MX-5 will. With its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 134 hp, at least the 2016 MX-5 is more powerful than the European coupe.
Ariel Atom: 982 lbs lighter
While the MX-5 is known as the go-to car for grass-roots motorsports, there are other special cars out there that are not only lighter than the new Mazda but quicker, too. Take the Ariel Atom as an example. Weighing in at 1,350 lbs, a whopping 982 lbs lighter than the MX-5, the Atom is pretty much a race car, sporting an open cabin, exposed structure and a 2.4-liter engine that helps it rocket to 60 MPH in just about three seconds. Unfortunately, making a car this light requires serious compromises. The suspension is stiff and there’s nothing to shield you from the outside world. As a result it’s barely street legal and hardly worth driving every day.
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento: 113 lbs lighter
The MX-5 stays so light without using exotic materials like carbon fiber. That helps to make the Mazda more affordable unlike, say, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. A car that costs over $2 million, the chassis, body, drive shaft and suspension of the Sesto Elemento are made of carbon fiber, making this the lightest car the Italian company has ever made. Weighing only 2,200 lbs, the Lambo is 113 lbs lighter than the MX-5, while costing about 100 times more. Naturally, those who bought the Sesto Elemento came home with more than just a light-weight car. This is a supercar through and through with a mid mounted 5.2-liter V10 engine, all-wheel drive and a zero to sixty time of under three seconds. No wonder it costs so much!
Cars that are Heavier
Alfa Romeo 4C: 113 lbs heavier
But those are the extreme examples of cars that actually weight less than the new MX-5. In reality the car compares extremely well to modern sports cars. For example, look at the Alfa Romeo 4C, a car with a smaller engine, a mid-ship platform and very little storage space. Thanks to a carbon fibre monocoque, the 4C weighs in at 2,465, making it 133 lbs heavier than the MX-5. It also starts with a price tag over $60,000, which means the MX-5 is lighter and less expensive than this Italian coupe.
Scion FR-S: 426 lbs heavier
Keeping a front-engine, rear-wheel drive car light isn’t easy. The MX-5’s rivals are all heavier than it. For example, the Scion FR-S weighs over 2,758 lbs while using a similar layout, making it 426 lbs heavier.
Fiat 500 Abarth: 180 lbs heavier
But what about sporty front-wheel drive cars? Take the small but fun, Fiat 500 Abarth. Despite its small package, it weighs in at 2,512 lbs, making it 180 lbs heavier than the MX-5. It shows the attention to detail that Mazda’s engineers have when it comes to making its lightweight sports car as good as it can be.
Tesla Model S P85D: 2,604 lbs heavier
In fact, there are a few cars on sale that are twice the weight of the new MX-5. The all-wheel drive Tesla Model S P85D may be free of tailpipe emissions, but with a weight of 4,936 lbs. it’s hardly a lean car. That’s 2,604 lbs heavier than the MX-5! Of course all that weight is due to the batteries, electric motors and luxury features found in the Tesla, but even some gas-powered cars are twice the weight of the MX-5.
Dodge Charger Hellcat: 2,228 lbs heavier
The Dodge Charger Hellcat tips the scale at 4,560 lbs, making it 2,228 lbs heavier than the latest Mazda convertible. Yikes, maybe Dodge and Tesla should consult with Mazda for some dieting tips.
Hummer H1 Alpha Wagon: 4,668 lbs heavier
Of course, there is one other modern
car SUV that is so heavy it weighs more than three times the weight of the MX-5. Consider the 2006 Hummer H1 Alpha Wagon. The Alpha models were the final run of Hummer H1’s and featured a Duramax diesel engine paired to an Allison transmission. They weighed in at over 7,000 lbs depending on the trim level.
There’s no doubt that the upcoming MX-5 has our inner enthusiast brimming with excitement. Not only is it lightweight, it looks great, and if it maintains the fun-to-drive DNA that’s been in every past generation of the MX-5, then we’re already sold. We can’t wait for our test drive.
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