It may be tougher than you think to produce a simple roadster like the Mazda MX-5. Mazda is currently hard at work on the next generation of the sporty little car, and the automaker is concerned with its efficiency. To help matters, Mazda wants to lighten the engine's workload by making the entire car at least 10 percent lighter. If that happens, the new MX-5 would be just about as lithe as the original Miata, which was introduced all the way back in 1989. Aluminum won't be used for the chassis, though, as it's just too expensive for a car that needs to sell at a specific price point.
To go along with the weight savings, the sportscar could get some sort of alternative powerplant, either a diesel or hybrid. While those options would surely make a big difference, a diesel engine is much heavier than its gas-powered counterpart and a hybrid would need a battery pack stored somewhere. Since either option would make it difficult for Mazda to achieve its necessary 50/50 weight balance, a downsized gas engine, possibly fitted with a turbocharger and direct injection, seems much more likely for the 2011 model year.
Gallery: 2009 Mazda MX-5
Sources: Autocar, Drive]