Mazda says the next generation of the Mazda MX-5 roadster will use carbon fibre to continue the weight-saving trend started by the current model.
The news comes from the U.K.’s Autocar magazine, which got the skinny straight from the head of Mazda’s MX-5 development program, Nobuhiro Yamamoto.
He says the car is the right size, but that lightweight materials will be “very important” to the future of the diminutive roadster, citing developments in more affordable carbon fibre. That material, also known as carbon fibre-reinforced polymer, is a plastic reinforced by carbon fibres and is currently expensive to produce, limiting its use in the auto industry to high-end sports cars.
The latest MX-5’s 1,058-kg curb weight — 72 kg lighter than a similarly-equipped third-generation model — is what makes it entertaining, despite a 2.0L engine making a modest 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.
But if Mazda has found a way to produce carbon fibre at a price that makes it feasible for a $30,000 vehicle like the MX-5, it could be the breakthrough that leads to the material becoming more common across the industry.
Don’t get too excited about a new MX-5 just yet: with the current one was introduced last year as a 2016 model, and the fifth-generation model won’t come to market before 2021.
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