Size and weight were preoccupations for the project’s engineers. No one would describe the original MX-5 as large, yet the new model has been made 55mm shorter still. It’s the most compact MX-5 yet and, save for the original, the lightest.
Throughout the development, a rigorous ‘gram strategy’ was applied to ensure that the roadster had no superfluous mass. Thus the all-new suspension, still consisting of front wishbones and rear multi-links, is 12kg lighter thanks to its aluminium components.
The engine frame is aluminium, as are the front wings and bumper reinforcements.
The front cross-member is high-tensile steel, a much higher proportion of which is used in the body, too. The rear cross-member benefits from a more rigid truss structure, while suspension mounts have been reinforced all round. The result is a claimed 100kg reduction in kerb weight compared with the previous MX-5. The additon of the hard top roof to the RF model will increase the overall weight, but should appeal to those looking for a driver's car to use all-year-round.
That presents the prospect of this car being a true sub-one-tonne rear-drive open-top (Mazda quotes the 1050kg kerb weight of the 1.5-litre car to EU standard, adding 75kg for a driver and luggage), without being as stripped out as a Caterham or as overtly spartan as a Lotus. Moreover, the weight is ideally distributed 50/50 front to back and the centre of gravity is slightly lower than before.