The next-gen MX-5 Miata thread

Discussion in 'Auto News' started by homeforsummer, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Genuinely good news! Mazda seem to be one of few manufacturers who actually have a clue when it comes to the development of the car. While everyone else is buggering about trying to figure out how to make an engine cleaner with hybrid tech, electricity, hydrogen or diesel, Mazda think "hang on a second... if the car wasn't so damn heavy in the first place then we wouldn't need a big, gass-guzzling, emission-spewing engine".

    Not only that, but a reduction in weight can only be a good thing for the already excellent handling. Are we going to see a return to the ethos of the Mk1?...
     
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  2. Jim Prower

    Jim Prower Premium

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    WHOO! Lighter!

    This is wonderful news!
     
  3. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Too bad it won't be a return to the steering of the old MX5... though with what I've seen with the new Mazda6, it's possible to inject at least some feel into an electric rack through good engineering.

    Mazda has been on this lightweight kick for quite a while. The current MX5 is not any heavier than the last NB MX5. The new Mazda6 (global, not American) is lighter than the old Mazda6, while still being bigger. The new Mazda2 is much lighter than the old one, though it's mostly because it's now a true supermini instead of being a class-straddling subcompact.

    The only true "porker" on Mazda's lots is, ironically, its most important model, the Mazda3... simply because it sits on the relatively heavy C-platform. And even there, the Mazda3 is the lightest of the 3 C-platform compacts (Focus and Volvo S40/C30 being the other two).

    While I'm not of the opinion that the current NC MX5 is in any way heavy... still... hooray. An all-alloy 2.0 is still a must, though... at least a 1.8... but the availability of a small displacement motor in the MX5's replacement would be splendid. A high-revving 1.6 liter with about 140 hp, with an optional turbocharged 170 hp version would hit the spot.
     
  4. forza2.0

    forza2.0 (Banned)

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    As far as I know of all the germans plan for lighter cars for the future to help combat mpg targets and emissions targets.

    It has already started with the mk2 TT, new A4 and new ibiza. Cannot remember if the mk6 golf carries on this tradition.

    Funnily enough the creators of the self styled "ultimate driving machine" are allowing the next gen Z4 to get porkier. I really dont understand what BMW are doing of late, building nothing but heavier vehicles, silly suv's and their latest trend of PAV's.
     
  5. the Interceptor

    the Interceptor Premium

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    A great approach by Mazda, finally someone is talking about weight. They are not the first applying downsizing though, this trend has hit a lot of manufacturers lately.
     
  6. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    I remember reading somewhere that the Mk6 will be little different from the Mk5. I also think I read that they said the Mk7 would be lighter and smaller, though.

    Back to the topic though, I'm definitely glad Mazda are continuing this policy of reducing weight. The Mazda 2 is a fabulous little car and much of the credit for it's impressive fuel efficiency, good performance and great handling can be attributed to the low weight.

    As for the MX5, if they're aiming for less than 1000kg, as the article mentions they're actually going to be pretty close to the Mk1, which is very good considering there'll be 22 years between the launch of the Mk1 and Mk4...
     
  7. Tornado

    Tornado

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    Meanwhile, Toyota, Honda, GM and Ford get bigger.
     
  8. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    To their credit, at least the new Fiesta is lighter than the model it replaces. Though then to be fair, it's basically a Mazda anyway :lol:

    And heavier Hondas are disappointing, considering how light the original Insight was. One step forward and two steps back...
     
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  9. niky

    niky Moderator

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    And VAG building the Q7, Touareg and Phaeton is aiming for... what? Admitted they're ahead of the curve in starting their development of downward-sized models (like the next Cayenne, the Q5, etcetera)... but really...

    Let's get some perspective here... the Golf was one of the first compacts... and a hatchback at that... to break the 1.3 (metric) ton barrier... it's a porker. In fact, the Mark 5 is often cited in articles written regarding the weight of modern cars (opposite the MINI... but to be fair, the last Mini was a complete flyweight... and was designed about half-a-century ago).

    the Z4 may be a porker compared to the likes of the S2000, but it's only about 30 kilos heavier than the Z3 was and there's not that much difference between the top end models of the TT and Z4.

    If you were complaining about, say, the BMW 3-series, I'd say you were right on the money, but let's bear in mind that all the Germans are overweight for their size classes... and Volkswagen doesn't have the excuse of rear-wheel drive for the extra weight they have over, say... Hondas.

    ----

    RE: Honda... while the Civic is heavier than the last one, it's still at the light end of the compact spectrum, despite the rigid new chassis. The Fit is growing, though... which I don't like... but at least the extra interior space makes up for the increase in weight... and from a test-drive by my brother and partner at our website, fuel economy has improved with the latest i-VTEC engines and automatics... at least in long drives... whether it can maintain its advantage over generation one in stop-go traffic remains to be seen.

    -----

    One sad effect of the need to meet new crash regulations and the drive for lightness is the plastification of new cars. Simply to stay at around the same weight as the NB MX-5, the NC MX-5 has plastic everywhere... even the sunvisors are flimsy plastic pieces instead of resilient fabric-covered ones like on the old MX-5. And the Mazda2, despite losing a lot of weight by being smaller than the previous Mazda2, is literally draped in the thin, cheap stuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  10. forza2.0

    forza2.0 (Banned)

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    Models all planned and developed long before the economic downturn. The issue with BMW is, that they already have a full SUV range, yet now they are concentrating on making a whole niche selection of SUV's and dont seem to be concentrating on their bread and butter stuff too much. VAG however are seemingly just sticking to, a small suv, mid sized suv and then a large suv.

    The golf got heavier and heavier yes, but now VAG have said that they need to reduce its weight. The weight increases doesnt matter as much in a premium hatchback as much as it does in a premium sports car/roadster. Weight dulls the feedback that a sportscar/roadster should feedback to the driver.

    I think the new Z4 was said to be seeing a substantial weight increase, albeit the bmw guys still say it will be awesome and class leading. But then they would say that wouldnt they.

    yeah the new 3 series is a porker, the new M3 weighs about as much as the b7 RS4, which isnt cool at all.

    Hondas have rear wheel drive? I knew the s2000 has but accords? Anyhow the golf is only like 50kg heavier than the civic, and the accord is more A4 sized than passat.
     
  11. Dave A

    Dave A Premium

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    This is debatable, sure weight is more important for handling in a sportscar than a hatchback but at the same time it's more important for economy in a hatchback than a sportscar. Weight reduces economy as well as performance.
     
  12. Bones Brigade

    Bones Brigade

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    he is saying both VW and Honda are predominantly FWD. So there is no excuse for VW's extra weight.
     
  13. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    I just read that sentence out loud to Milford Cubicle. I won't say what she said, but suffice to say that the NC MX-5 is much heavier than the NB was in either generation. The NB wasn't even notably heavier than the NA.

    Most NAs ran a few hairs under a tonne - some quite a lot less, but none more. 980kg is a good ballpark. Most NBs, especially the post May 2001 revisions, weighed a few kilos over a tonne - I can't think of one under a tonne mind. 1020kg is a good ballpark for a late NB. The NC starts at over 1,100kg.

    For reference, the NB is as heavy as the NA with a young adult in the passenger seat. The NC is as heavy as an NB with me in the passenger seat. That's a hell of a weight penalty, particularly over the NA. It's also probably worth a note that the entry level NC is as heavy as a Mk3 VW Golf 2.8 VR6.


    This all explains why, despite increasing engine power outputs over the generations, the top engine car has had more or less the same performance figures in each generation.


    The MX-5 survived 14 years with nothing bigger than a 1.8, and only shifted to a 2.0 because they had the weight of the NC to move around as quickly as the NB did. And because Ford had a load of 2.0 Duratecs floating about and Mazda had a bunch of MZR stickers going begging.

    If they're returning the MX-5 to about the weight of the NA, they won't need any more than about the power of the NA - 130hp from the top-spec 1.8 - to get the same performance. A 2 litre, an engine you need to thrash or a turbo are all unnecessary add-ons to what's always supposed to have been a simple, lightweight car.

    Jinba ittai
     
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  14. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Completely agree, and I was thinking the same thing. The MX5 has never been about screaming performance, so a mental engine or an oversized one are unnecessary. It just needs to be usable (so needs decent torque, not just big power), characterful, and fun. With a car under a metric ton then they could easily get away with the base model only having 115-120bhp, just like the NA 1.6 did.
     
  15. Perfect Balance

    Perfect Balance Premium

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    This is great new. I'm excited about this. I've always thought about buying a "newer" car in a few years when I could afford it, but I was always disappointed at the choices. Maybe this will give me something to look forward to and save my pennies.
     
  16. Jim Prower

    Jim Prower Premium

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    I hope with the weight drop comes a price drop, too.
     
  17. YSSMAN

    YSSMAN Premium

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    Good move on Mazda's behalf, a loss in weight is a welcome change to the ND (?) Miata. I'm all for the decrease in displacement as well, as long as the car is light and they get the gear spacing right, a 1.6L sounds just about perfect. Although, I'd like to see the eventual return of a Mazdaspeed model with a turbocharger...
     
  18. Leonidae

    Leonidae (Banned)

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    they should finally do the proper coupe-version instead of that CC-thingie.. that alone would save weight and improve chassis rigidity.
     
  19. niky

    niky Moderator

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    RE: NB to NC... whoops... my bad. It's Mazda that claims the NC isn't any heavier than the top-of-the-line outgoing NB. Still... a change of under 100 kgs ain't bad... and the NC still isn't that heavy for a modern automobile.

    Well... if they make it lighter, they can go back down to 1.8... even the lowly 1.6 NA was a joy to drive... and drive quickly. And that had no top-end power to speak of (just got to drive one again after a long time... a friend just picked up a cherry NA with just 37,000 kms on the clock... even the paint is original).

    What really sucks with the NC is the fact that it really doesn't give you that much more elbow room than the older cars... in fact, the reason that my bud picked up the NA is because he actually fit in it... whereas the newer car felt cramped by comparison, due to the extra crash structure and the solid rear deck.

    ----

    RE: the SUV-ification of BMW... yes, it's sad, isn't it? Even sadder that they're releasing two small SUVs in the coming year... the X1 and the Mini-based SUV thingamajiggy... absolutely pointless... and I hate the idea even worse than I hate the X3. So who says VAG is the only one downsizing SUVs in the premium market? ;)

    Unfortunately, unlike VAG and MB, who can and do build small FWD cars and vans, BMW stubbornly refuses to build anything but rear-drive "sportscars"... (Witness the patently useless... but fun... X6).

    Still, they're not just sitting still. BMW zipped up a lot of awards at the 2008 International Engine of the Year with their new turbocharged magnesium-aluminum engines. They're putting alloy blocks on their diesels to make them lighter than before... it might just be a matter of time before economy needs and a shrinking market force BMW to consider giving up their 50:50-ish mantra and start using more alloys in the rear ends of their cars to lessen overall weight.

    ----

    One thing we're forgetting in all of this back-slapping kudos being given for making cars lighter... why not give credit where credit is due to the manufacturers who've been keeping weight down all this time? Like Honda with the Civic and the Fit? Or even Toyota... who have managed to keep the (heavier) new Corolla on the light side of the automotive spectrum? The previous Corolla was a somewhat boring car, but it was pretty nippy on the racetrack, simply because it was the lightest car in its class by far. The new one with the smaller four pot still measures under 1200 kgs. And that's with a bigger back seat, a quieter ride and more elbow room.
     
  20. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    I wouldn't call the MINI pointless, it's probably the most relevant of any BMW-produced SUV to today's roads and fuel prices. And the X1 wouldn't be nearly as pointless if it wasn't joining the X3, X5 and X6 which already occupy the range. In an ideal world I'd actually only want the X1 to remain (despite it's ugliness) because despite BMW's efforts to make it almost as big as the X3 (which itself is almost X5-sized) it'll still be the smallest and "greenest" of their SUVs. But if that fails, then the only one that should remain really is the X5, because it's objectively the best one in the range. The X6 is a complete irrelevance even if I do prefer the looks of it to the rest of them.

    The Civic is actually quite an impressive example. The base model EG Civic from around the time of the NA MX5, the 1.3, weighed roughly the same as the MX5 at about 950kg (even a little less actually). The current base model Civic in the UK, a 1.4 5dr, weighs 1180kg, which is only 100kg more than the current MX5. Not bad, considering the current Civic is a very reasonably sized family car and still remains light by modern standards. I saw an EG Civic parked next to a current Nissan Micra the other day, and the Honda looked tiny next to it.

    Hopefully many more manufacturers will take Mazda's lead though and make subsequent models lighter. An article in Autocar I read recently said that the model to eventually replace the 159 should be a fair bit lighter as they plan to use the upcoming 149's platform as opposed to the heavy platform shared with GM.
     
  21. ///M-Spec

    ///M-Spec Staff Emeritus

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    Building cars that are the lighter than rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz, apparently.

    328i sedan: 3,340 lbs.
    335i sedan: 3,594 lbs.
    A4 2.0TFSI (CVT): 3,527 lbs.
    A4 2.0TFSI quattro: 3,626 lbs.
    A4 3.2 quattro: 3,827 lbs.
    C300 Sport: 3,527 lbs.
    C350 Sport: 3,614 lbs.

    335i Coupe: 3,571 lbs.
    A5: 3,737 lbs.
    S5: 3,891 lbs.
    CLK350: 3,585 lbs.
    CLK550: 3,720 lbs.

    550i/6: 3,946 lbs.
    550iA: 3,968 lbs.
    A6 4.2 quattro: 4,222 lbs.
    E550: 4,100 lbs.

    Z4 Coupe 3.0si: 3,108 lbs.
    Z4 Roadster 3.0si: 3,086 lbs.
    TT Coupe 3.2 quattro: 3,219 lbs.
    TT Roadster 3.2 quattro: 3,219 lbs.
    SLK350: 3,318 lbs.


    *all weights are US spec from manf. website or cars.com, and with manual transmissions where available.


    ALL cars are getting bigger and heavier, people. Not just German cars or luxury cars.


    M
     
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  22. Milliethemutt

    Milliethemutt

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    Good to see the Mx5 will be going back to it's old school roots. I will looking for a NA one once I move and get a garage.

    Which is 4 wheel drive.....
     
  23. niky

    niky Moderator

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    And they're just luverly... the moment my mate got his, I stole the keys and went for a drive... just as I remembered it... only even better, as most of the test-units that have come my way in the past six months, including the NC MX5, have had electric racks that are total crap.

    Don't you start picking on me, too... :lol: Okay, okay... rear-drive biased.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  24. harrytuttle

    harrytuttle

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    Which they've all been doing since...1980? At least since the Mustang last had a 4-cylinder without a turbo.

    But hasn't Mazda been talking this same exact line for years now? I don't mean with the Mazda2, I mean specifically with the Miata/MX-5. When the current version was just launched, they spoke enthusiastically about how they were intensely detail-oriented with weight loss, and how this was a lighter, nimbler, better car. Sure, it weighed more, for all the reasons discussed, but this is hardly news for them.

    If they even follow through this time.
     
  25. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Considering the MX5 increased in size and certainly in quality and strength from NB to the NC model, I think their efforts at weight reduction were to reduce the increase over the NB as opposed to actually reducing the weight, which as we know isn't the case. The NC is still a light car by modern standards. Even the basic Lotus Elise S is a good 140kg more now than the original Elise was when it was first released.

    I don't doubt at all that Mazda can bring the weight of the MX5 back under 1000kg.
     
  26. Wolfe

    Wolfe Premium

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    I want to see every manufacturer say this.

    Edit: Okay, maybe not ones like Caterham or Ariel, but if they want to give it a shot...
     
  27. Keef

    Keef Premium

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    Mazda, meet Lotus. Lotus, Mazda. Two companies that get it. Hopefully Mazda can stick to this plan. Honda has been coming up with some lightweight concept cars lately, but I hope they actually get back to making flyweight hatches.

    As a matter of fact, I was looking at a list of all Honda's engines and the cars they were in and years of manufacture, and it was obvious. They've all been on a trend of getting larger, with wider power and torque bands and therefore less peaky and exciting in my eyes, and generally more "pedestrian". Though every company is making more power and being more efficient, few are making the engines that made the old school Miata and CRX so much fun. Not to mention British roadsters of yore. Those small, high-strung engines coupled with the cars' light weight was a recipe for excitement.
     
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  28. niky

    niky Moderator

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    I don't know... torque is always fun... the new Type-R K20 stands to me as the Holy Grail of current naturally aspirated engines... more power and more torque than most of the competition (even though that torque comes at an ungodly 5k rpms).

    And while their engines have been going up in size, Honda has been holding back increasing engine sizes for some of their line until long after everyone else has gone up... they still refuse to build a V8 (and current market conditions mean that they probably never will), their V6 is capped at 3.5 liters as opposed to the 3.7 and 3.8 liters that others are using now (and what a wonderful engine it is)... and even though the S2000 is now an S2200, that's still a lot less engine than the competition.
     
  29. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    I partly agree with what you're saying, but I also agree with niky that torque is definitely a good thing and high revs aren't, necessarily. I love driving things that like to rev, I like the sound of cars at high revs, and in performance cars my preference is always to vehicles that have high-revving, naturally aspirated engines. Such as Hondas - the marque being one of my favourite car companies for many reasons not least their engines.

    But in reality, I like torque. It offers much more practical performance in day to day use for me - I don't spend much time revving to the redline, but I do spend a lot of time in slow and moderately paced traffic, darting for gaps, and good torque also allows me to make decent progress whilst still getting the 45+ miles to the gallon I've been doing recently.

    Also to comment on the old British roadsters - many of them are characteristically more torquey than top-endy - the engines in things like MGBs, Triumph Spitfires - even the Lotus Elan - and the like are a bit harsh at higher revs - the midrange is where it's at. You're right about the light weight though. Which is why it's fantastic that Mazda are going the way they are.

    Historically really it's always been companies like Honda making the high revving cars - I was reading up on the Honda 1300 Coupe 9S yesterday, 900kg, 1300cc and 110bhp - 88bhp/litre, all back in the early 70s. And who can forget the S800 and it's 8500rpm red line?
     
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  30. ///M-Spec

    ///M-Spec Staff Emeritus

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    Between low end performance ("torque") and high end performance ("revs"), I prefer a balanced solution myself.

    In my mind, the 'problem' with peaky motors is the same reason why they're fun: in order to enjoy the motor, you are committed to driving them hard. This is fine if you're in the mood for full attack mode. Not so fine if you're just casually driving around town.

    On the other hand, a motor that gives you everything it's got by 3500 RPM then dies off at 5500 RPM with another 1000 RPM to go is utterly anti-climactic.

    The wife used to have an NA 1.8 and I felt the motor was biased towards low end performance more than I would have liked. I liked reving it hard and thought it made a great noise, but I also felt that it wasn't overly productive at the top end. The 1.6 was probably a sweeter motor at the top, but strangely, I believe the 1.8 is more square.


    M