Three-cylinder engine in the cards, too
The current fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 has only been on sale for a year or so, but plans for its replacement are already afoot. Those plans that include the use of carbon fibre and downsized engines.
Though the fifth-generation Miata, due in 2021, will stay the same sort of size as the current car - which shrank quite significantly from its predecessor - it will also get lighter thanks the adoption of carbon fibre.
MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto said: “The size is right, but in the future, lightweight materials will be very important and will be used in this car.
“Now carbon fibre is very expensive,” he added. “But we have in development affordable carbon fibre, so the MX-5 will be lighter in future.”
Yamamoto did not specify a target weight, but bear in mind that, at its most basic, the current Miata weighs just over 2,300 pounds (1,043 kilograms).
Weighing less would mean the MX-5 would be able to use a smaller engine. Yamamoto said: “It’s a simple concept. The vehicle weight gets lower, there’s a smaller engine, smaller tires. It’s a lightweight sports car.”
Again, Yamamoto has not specified what that smaller engine would look like, but it is likely to be a three-cylinder unit. Right now, the smallest engine available in the Miata is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder making 129 horsepower.