The 2016 Mazda Miata isn't even out yet, and already it's proving itself to be a modern engineering model. Today we learned the U.S.-spec Miata's official curb weight, and equipped with a manual, it comes in at 2,332 pounds.
Mazda kind of buried the news about the weight in a press release on the car's Forza Horizon 2 DLC debut today, but it's big news. That means it's going to be about 150 pounds lighter than the NC Miata it replaces, and that car was by no means a fatass. (With an automatic, the new Miata weighs 2,381 pounds.)
So what, you might be thinking, the Miata has always been light. What's the big deal? I'll let this Car and Driver story add the context that's important here:
Should Mazda's 2332-pound figure check out when we get a 2016 Miata on our own scales for a test, it (with standard anti-lock brakes, side airbags, traction-control, stiffer structure and all) would weigh just two pounds more than a 1994 model we tested.
Granted, the original 1990 Miata was lighter still (2210 on our scales), but in 1994 Mazda added a passenger-side airbag, additional underbody bracing, and side-impact door beams to meet crash regulations, making it a better comparison to today's car. In fact, we tested two other 1994 Miatas, and both (one was even the lightweight, manual-steering-equipped R model) were heavier than Mazda's claim for the new car. So, too, was a second-generation 1999 Miata we tested, as well as every fourth-gen model.
And there's no question that the 2016 Miata is a safer, more high tech and more advanced car than any Miata it replaces — yet it's about as light as the one from 20 years ago that had just two airbags. True, it's heavier than the Euro-spec Miata with the 1.5-liter engine, which came in at 2,205 pounds, but it's still crazy light.
That's an amazing engineering feat. We live in an era when cars are always getting heavier as they get more complex, and if new cars manage to shed weight, it's mostly in the name of fuel economy. I can think of few cars that manage to be as light, or lighter, than their 1990s predecessors.
Where did Mazda's engineers shed the weight? Pretty much everywhere, as Road & Track reported when they drove the car. The new Miata has basically become a cheap Lotus that will start every day. Bring it on.
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