We've seen it happen a million times: a small car is successful, then the automaker ruins it by making it larger and heavier to satisfy what it thinks the average buyer is after. Fortunately, that hasn't been the case with the Mazda MX-5, which – retractable hardtop option notwithstanding – the Japanese automaker has always been careful not to spoil the core elements of the MX-5. So we'll take reports that Mazda is preparing an even smaller MX-2 with a grain of salt. But a small one.

According to the speculation, a future MX-2 would come in noticeably smaller than the full-size Miata, and therefore require smaller engines. Something between 700cc and 1.6-liter engines are reportedly in store, with a turbo at the top end delivering 160 horsepower. No word on layout, but we'd grudgingly expect a front-drive set-up when the purported MX-2 is unveiled as early as 2012.

[Source: Auto Express]