Mazda released the MX-5 Miata last year, but the Japanese automaker is still looking for ways to lighten the next model of the Miata.
According to automotive online publication Autocar, the Japanese automaker is turning to super lightweight composite materials like carbon fiber to help the next-generation MX-5 Miata cut weight.
Mazda announced that the next-gen MX-5 model will make extensive use of ultra-light materials in order to reduce weight without the car shrinking down in size. Mazda believes that it can solve the weight challenges by developing a new, more affordable type of carbon fiber material. The company is already working hard to make carbon fiber materials more affordable.
In an interview, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, head of the Mazda Miata program, confirmed that that the next-generation of Miata cars will weigh less and will have very limited changes in terms of design and size. This could be made possible by newer, expensive, super lightweight materials.
By reducing each model's weight, Mazda engineers have managed to make their cars more reliable aerodynamics-wise. Couple that with great fuel efficiency and a significant boost in speed, and you're really onto something. But it's not just the body and components. It's the powertrain as well. Yamamoto added that Mazda has planned to go with smaller tires and low-powered engines to keep the car lightweight across the board.
The existing version of the MX-5 Miata is already considered one of the fastest cars on the road today. The car uses high-strength steel and has the same size as the original sports car from 1990 and weighs less than its immediate predecessor. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that yields 155 horsepower.
Currently, it’s still unknown if Mazda will team up with another automaker or an engine supplier to help with the production and development of the carbon fiber materials. At this point, there's still no word on how much carbon fiber the next MX-5 will use. The new model is expected to arrive sometime before 2021.