Before delving into the findings from Motoring.com, we're going to take a moment to find a few grains of salt. It's not that we don't trust the Oz publication, it's just that we wouldn't be surprised to learn their car's specifications will vary from that of our eventual North American car.
Of course, we don't expect the footprint of the new ND model to itself to differ much – it will still be the most compact Miata ever – overall length is expected to check in at just over 154 inches – that's about 1.4 inches shorter than the original NA Miata and over 4 inches shorter than today's NC generation, yet it'll ride atop a longer wheelbase and be slightly wider while sitting lower to the ground.
Motoring.com sources indicate that a 1.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder will nestle low in the ND's engine bay, with a rating of just 96 kW – that's 129 horsepower, a 13-percent drop in power over the Aussie-spec 2.0-liter four in the current Miata. Torque figures were apparently not disclosed by their source, but the publication expects the torque figure to come in above the 144 Nm (106 pound-feet) of the top-spec 1.5-liter four in the forthcoming Mazda2.
Countering that apparent shortfall is the car's hotly anticipated drop in weight. The ADM MX-5 is said to weigh 1,020 kilograms – that's just under 2,250 pounds – meaning Mazda would make good on its claimed 100-kg (220-pound) diet for the car. To put that number in perspective, ponder that a US-spec 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C has a curb weight of 2,465 pounds. True, it's about 3 inches longer, but it's also a car with a carbon-fiber tub, aluminum subframes, fiberglass skin and a deep-discount interior. Credit the Miata's shrinking footprint, an increased use of aluminum and a by-the-gram approach to engineering. Some back-of-the-envelope calculations reveals that's close to a 10-percent weight drop, which should go a long way toward compensating for the loss in power.
We've previously heard rumors of the Miata having a Skyactiv engine displacing anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 liters, with the smart money seemingly being on Mazda's 2.0-liter engine seen in its Mazda3 compact. Despite the power drop, this 1.5-liter four could well provide enough motivation even for North American buyers, but we still wouldn't be surprised to see the 2.0 fitted to our cars.
Mazda has confirmed that the 2016 MX-5 Miata will make its auto show debut at the Paris Motor Show early next month... will it also take the opportunity to attach some more specifications to the next generation of its iconic roadster? Here's hoping. In the meantime, we've reached out to Mazda for clarification on these alleged specs and will get back to you if we learn more.