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Next Mazda MX-5 to be quickest yet

Screen test: Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 will be inspired by the Superlight concept shown at the Frankfurt motor show two years ago

Mazda claims next-generation MX-5 roadster will have the best power-to-weight ratio

Mazda logo30 Nov 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

MAZDA’S next-generation MX-5 sportscar will offer a better power-to-weight ratio than ever, even without turbocharging, making it the quickest roadster Mazda has built.

That is the word from Mazda Motor Corporation’s most senior engineer, R&D chief Hirotaka Kanazawa, who confirmed to GoAuto on the eve of the Tokyo motor show that the all-new SkyActiv-bodied MX-5 would weigh less than 1000kg.

Although not as low as the 798kg rumoured to have been targeted, this is at least 130kg lighter than the current MX-5, which weighs 1129kg is base soft-top manual form and as much as 1177kg in top-shelf Roadster Coupe hardtop auto guise.

Mr Kanazawa said the fourth-generation MX-5, due on sale globally by 2013, would again be available in both soft-top and hardtop configurations.

“We will probably do both,” he said. “Hard-top is quite popular – it’s made of plastic, so not so heavy.”

But he said the MX-5 would return to its roots as a sub-one-tonne sportscar while meeting all future emissions and safety standards by using the full suite of Mazda SkyActiv body, chassis and powertrain technologies.

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“We will do our best to lower weight as much as possible,” he said. “We will go below 1000kg.

“Since first-generation MX-5, it got heavier, so we want to go back to its origins.”

Mr Kanazawa said the next MX-5 would set a new power-to-weight benchmark without turbocharging, but did not rule out turbocharged engines for other – perhaps MPS-badged – models based on Mazda’s new SkyActiv-G petrol engine family.

“We haven’t decided that we are not going to do turbocharging, but first we intend to enhance efficiency with naturally aspirated engines.

“Yes, based on them (existing SkyActiv petrol engines) we’d add turbo to increase performance.

“But for the next MX-5 we’d like to go back to its origin as a lightweight sportscar.

“Power is not so much, but easy to handle. We’d like to develop next MX-5 that is easy to use, which is a strength of SkyActiv.”

The next iteration of the world’s top-selling two-seater roadster is expected to be heavily influenced by the design of the stripped-out MX-5 Superlight speedster concept that debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.

The wildest variation of Mazda’s affordable roadster in 20 years featured a new body – with no roof, windscreen or A-pillars – designed at Mazda’s European studio in Oberursel, Germany.

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