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Next-gen Mazda MX-5 could use carbon fiber to cut weight

25 Juillet 2016 - Autoblog

The current Mazda MX-5 Miata has only been out for a few years, but the automaker is allegedly looking for ways to lighten the next one.

According to a report from Autocar, Mazda is looking to carbon fiber to help the next-generation MX-5 cut weight and use a smaller engine.

Despite having more safety features, modern amenities, and a stiffer body, the current MX-5 is the same size as the original sports car from 1990 and weighs less than its immediate predecessor. In a recent interview with Autocar, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, head of the Miata program, revealed that the next generation of the Miata will probably stay the same size, but could be even lighter thanks to the utilization of carbon fiber. The current MX-5 uses high-strength steel and aluminum, and Mazda doesn't use carbon fiber in any of its cars. Carbon fiber is expensive to incorporate into road-going vehicles, and so Yamamoto notes that Mazda has been hard at work making it more affordable.

A lighter car could result in a smaller engine, Yamamoto said. In the US, the MX-5 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower, while the Japanese and European version comes with a 1.5-liter, 130-hp engine. A smaller engine would make the sports car even lighter.

It's unknown at this time if the automaker is collaborating with another automaker or a supplier to make produce carbon fiber, or if it'll make it in-house. There's no word on how much carbon fiber the next MX-5 will wear or how it will affect the sports car's price.

Autocar reports that the next MX-5 won't arrive anytime before 2021, which could make the ND MX-5's lifespan an unusually short five years long. With cars getting heavier, it's nice to hear that Mazda is working on finding a way to make its lightweight sports car even lighter.

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