December 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Recent reports are suggesting that the next generation Mazda MX-5 will be lighter and smaller than the current model. Now, there are reports stating that the new model will achieve an almost unbelievable fuel economy figure of just 3.4 l/100km – compared to 8.1 l/100km for the current generation MX-5.
The massive gain in fuel economy is expected to come thanks to the next MX-5’s rumoured 1000kg kerb weight (only 60kg heavier than the original MX-5) and Mazda’s new SKY-G petrol engine.
Mazda says that enhanced thermal efficiency is one reason the new Sky-G direct injection petrol engine offers significantly improved fuel economy over the carmaker’s current 2.0 litre engine.
The Sky-G motor makes use of an all-new engine block, designed to reduce mechanical friction and produce an optimal air-fuel mix.
Mazda also claims the new Sky-Drive automatic transmission chips in as well and improves fuel economy by approximately five percent. But whether the low reported fuel figures are based on an automatic or manual variant of the new MX-5 is unclear.
With the demands of modern safety requirements the next MX-5 will probably be only slightly smaller than the current model, meaning that smart design and lightweight construction will be vital for the success of the next generation MX-5.
To prove it’s all possible Mazda’s MX-5 Superlight concept (pictured) revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show weighed in at just 995kg, thanks to numerous weight-saving techniques.
December 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
The Mazda MX-5 has become the biggest selling roadster of all time thanks to a simple, unchanging formula of low weight and fun dynamics.
To celebrate the car’s 20th anniversary, Mazda recently unveiled a special edition model for sale in the Japanese domestic market, but that wasn’t enough. Now Mazda has released images of a speedster-style concept dubbed the MX-5 Superlight. The concept, which is set to be revealed at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, has the front windscreen removed and futuristic-looking roll bars at the rear.
While Mazda is keeping mum about the finer details, it is expected that a number of weight-saving measures have been undertaken on the car. The MX-5 Superlight was designed by Mazda’s in-house team in Germany, and other unique cosmetic and structural changes include the absence of A-pillars and door handles as well as the smooth front and rear decks.
In terms of engines, the concept is expected to be fitted with the standard MX-5’s range-topping 2.0L gasoline engine, and with all the weight-saving measures put in place the Superlight should be very rapid.
Sadly, a production version of the car will most likely never happen, and the MX-5 Superlight will most likely remain a commemorative concept for the 20th birthday of the MX-5.
September 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
The Frankfurt Motor Show ready Mazda Superlight concept has been on the radar for weeks now but details and fresh images of this radical vehicle have just popped up.
Conceived and created as a way to celebrate the MX-5’s 20th anniversary and also showcase Mazda’s focus on lightweight performance — the Superlight is the work of the automaker’s European R&D center in Oberursel, Germany.
Based off the recently facelifted roadster, the most obvious point-of-difference to the Superlight is its speedster profile, which involved discarding the windshield, retractable roof and its frame. From there, Mazda’s European team extended the aluminum hood towards the cabin and mounted an aluminum rear-view mirror, along with a set of roll-over hoops fitted with LED brake lights.
The passenger compartment has been stripped out, with the removal of the sound insulation, carpeting and air conditioning unit. What’s been put back in? Carbon fibre racing bucket seats coated in the same brown leather as the steering wheel, armrests and aluminum shifter and hand brake. The dash is a custom fiberglass and plastic unit, which makes use of the stock MX-5’s gauges.
The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine puts out 126 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque and comes equipped with a Mazdaspeed cold-air intake and exhaust.
The track has been increased by 50mm all around to accommodate the larger four-piston calipers and slotted discs, with the whole vehicle has been lowered by 30mm courtesy of Bilstein B16 coil-over suspension. Eibach anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear, and the Superlight uses standard 17-inch wheels.
Mazda Motor Europe’s Chief Designer, Peter Birtwhistle says of the project, “I’ve dreamed of building a Mazda MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time. Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for it.”
Check out the fresh images in the gallery below.