The all-new Mazda MX-5 will arrive in mid-August, and to say it has been eagerly-awaited would be an understatement.
Mazda has made a lot of noise about the latest MX-5’s engineering, which has been particularly focused on weight saving as a performance enhancer.
While the original NA model’s kerb weight was a lithe 940kg, the second-gen NB moved up to 1030kg as equipment and safety requirements took precedence. The NC, for the record, had ballooned to 1100kg.
For the Mazda MX-5 ND, engineers have reversed the trend, with a claimed weight of 1009kg for the base model.
Mazda claims 40 per cent of the weight saving is due to structural innovation, 30 per cent of the via chassis and powertrain refinements, and the remaining 30 per cent for the increased use of lightweight materials.
In base 1.5-litre four-cylinder form with six-speed manual transmission, the entry MX-5’s engine will be 17kg lighter than the 2.0-litre power unit found in its predecessor. The transmission loses 7kg and the differential an amazing 10kg. Thanks to increased use of high-tensile steel sheet and aluminium, along with ultrahigh-tensile steel use increasing from 12 per cent to 21 per cent, the body-in-white adds stiffness and loses almost 20kg. The suspension system is 13kg lighter. Even changing the front and rear bumper reinforcements to aluminium has realised a benefit of 4.2kg.
As a teaser to driving enthusiasts, the news of lighter weight and stiffer structure is about as compelling as it gets. We can’t wait to drive the new MX-5.