• Jun 21, 2011
20 years of the Mazda Miata – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to Edmunds' Auto Observer, which in turn cites a "senior insider," Mazda engineers have been tasked with cutting at least 720 pounds from the MX-5 Miata before its debut in 2012. That means – are you ready for this? – that Mazda engineers are attempting to transform a 2,500-pound vehicle into a sub-1,800 pound ride. Edmunds says that Mazda's weight-reduction target is:
A strategic move that Mazda may see as vital to the continued existence of history's best-selling two-seat roadster, but also signals a larger need for revitalized thinking in the sports car market, where popularity has waned and sales have plummeted in the past half decade.
In its slimmest form – in 1989 – the Mazda Miata tipped the scales at 2,178 pounds. So, how will Mazda's engineers hit the sub-1,800 pound mark? Well, Edmunds' "senior insider" doesn't believe that the automaker can hit its target, but says that the use of high-strength steel, a lightweight engine and the elimination of unnecessary features (i.e. the glovebox) will drive down the MX-5's weight.



Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Edmunds' Auto Observer]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      EVnerdGene
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about some totally new concepts in building a car ? And, going back to some basics. Like, seeing little use for 20 something inch wheels, we could go back to 15 inchers with little loss in - what ? bicycle like appearance. (modern wheels weigh more - bigger the diameter, the more mass, the greater the mass moment of inertia, cost, cost of tires, resulting in less MPG - go figure how it makes any sense?)
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 17 Hours Ago
      I suppose it's a good start but not really enough. they could easily get it down to 450kg total. it just takes a departure from the classic metal carelessness. 800kg has to be trivial. the old Audi A2 weighed about that. with some aggressive competent engineering you could probably get it down to 200kg total weight of same size as the first gen but that might be too light for strong cross winds and high speed aerodynamic lift. might even be possible to get it down to 100kg. probably is. it wont involve a 30kg lead acid starter battery though..
        BipDBo
        • 17 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Please stop. Your words are like vomit.
        Ryan
        • 17 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        If they build it to NASCAR or IndyCar specs, and build it out of aluminum and carbon fiber... Use LiFePo4 12V battery... No A/C, iPod for the radio, convertible top, mesh style seats (Aeron like), LED lights... It isn't impossible by any means. Just no big car maker is building it (except Tesla). And then make an EV model, and I would buy one (if it costs the same as a regular Mazda).
          Marco Polo
          • 17 Hours Ago
          @Ryan
          Yes, now if only the price of gold would go down I could buy a Gold Rolex for the price of a Timex! An MX-5 costs a quarter the price of a Tesla roadster!
      foci
      • 17 Hours Ago
      This may or may not be a rumor. Either way I would not say it is not possible. A Catherham R300 weight is just over 1150 lbs with out fuel. This is road legal car. Although it is a kit which means the same construction and design regulations do not apply. Mazda could reduced the overall size of the car, remove the undercoating, increase the use of alloy or carbon. It is possible to make a sub 1,800 lbs MX-5, but at a cost
      Gordon Chen
      • 17 Hours Ago
      Wasn't this rumor discussed on regular autoblog a month ago, and then another rumor said this rumor wasn't true?
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a car designed to be driven, a dying breed. The quickest way to shed pounds would be to go with FWD, but I hope they don't resort to that. If they can actually do it, this would be bad news for Factory 5.
      LEONARD
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am always amazed at companies with deep pockets lots of resources pretend they can’t do something when the aftermarket guys or people in a tuff shed can pull it off all day long????
      Neil Blanchard
      • 17 Hours Ago
      ~1,800 pounds? That is more than 2X as much as the 4 seat Edison2 Very Light Car! Neil
        Marco Polo
        • 17 Hours Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        Neil, Let's see,....Hmmm.... The Mazda MX-5 is the largest selling two-seater sports car in history, with nearly a million sold. The Edison 2, on the other hand not only can't be road registered in most jurisdictions, but is not for sale. more of a functioning concept car! So what on earth is the point of comparing these exotic non-production models with automobiles in the real world? The Mazda MX 5 is quite simply the best production affordable small 'sports car', since the original MG's. MX-5 build quality can't be faulted. Mazda must be very careful not to spoil a winning formulae. Like a lot of enthusiasts, I have had two MX-5's converted to EVs, and derived great pleasure from both. The Mx-5 adapts extremely well to EV conversion . In Japan, the TGMY Mitsuoka Himiko is a very expensive, very high quality, MX-5 coach-built conversion with a boasted range of over miles and a top speed of 140 klm. Mazda may be intending to produce a production MX-5 EV for the Japanese market, if so t light weight construction would assist the models longevity.
          Marco Polo
          • 17 Hours Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Sorry, for the lack of editing, but still no edit facility for ABG! The TGMY Mitsuoka Himiko EV boasts a range of over 340 miles. It's doubtful that much can be done to reduce the weight of the MX-5, since most of the added weight is safety equipment etc. The cost of any radical new materials wouldn't seem justified in a product that is still selling all that can be produced.
      motorhead
      • 17 Hours Ago
      could be done probably won't be done OMG - only got a 4 out of 5 on the safety scale urrrrrgh - UNSAFE CAR UNSAFE CAR UNSAFE CAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!! let's raise the safety standards so such an unsafe car can not, ever again. be sold in the US f'ing NAZIs
      sirvixisvexed
      • 17 Hours Ago
      My mistake, thanks!
      Marco Polo
      • 17 Hours Ago
      @BipDBo. If only we attach a really big battery to DF's......! Fried Troll!
      Tysto
      • 17 Hours Ago
      My MX-5 NB is more than 700 pounds lighter than my Z4. It's great to drive, but it feels much less solid. I can't imagine what an MX-5 would feel like another 700 pounds lighter. 1800 pounds is barely more than the weight of a Beck (Porsche replica) Speedster, and they're basically fiberglass and tube steel and nothing else.
      sirvixisvexed
      • 17 Hours Ago
      So the FIRST generation was almost 400 lbs heavier than the new target, and that was with no airbags....very few electronics...no AC....i don't think they'll do it but i'm not an engineer!
        xxxZOMBIExxx
        • 17 Hours Ago
        @sirvixisvexed
        I think they could come close...you have to remember that the first gen was designed in the late 80's and introduced in 1989. With 22 years of advancements in light weight materials I think Mazda could put the MIata on a diet with good results. The down side is that the new MX-5 will probably be the same size or smaller that the original...
          RJC
          • 17 Hours Ago
          @xxxZOMBIExxx
          Down side to it being smaller or about the same size as the original? I think not. From a Autoblog Green perspective, a car built to that formula takes up less space. Translation: It's more resource frugal. Have you ever been to Europe? From an enthusiasts perspective, the smaller cars leap from hole to hole in traffic and can keep a momentum in even the worst traffic. The excellent handling and braking afforded by the light weight helps tremendously in this regard.
          xxxZOMBIExxx
          • 17 Hours Ago
          @xxxZOMBIExxx
          @RJC: Don't get me wrong. I would prefer a smaller MX-5 but that size has some draw backs: - Many will view a car that small as dangerous, even if its not - If your to tall or have wide shoulders you'll find the vehicle to be very uncomfortable. Personally, I like the idea of a smaller Miata...but I race on the weekend and most of the people in Mazda's target market will not be purchasing for that reason.
        Dave
        • 17 Hours Ago
        @sirvixisvexed
        The 1990 Miata came with a driver's side airbag standard in the USA.
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