Mazda threw a big party when it introduced the 2016 Miata MX-5 last year. It told us about how its 2.0 liter SkyActive four-cylinder engine pumps out 155 horsepower and 148 ft-lbs of torque. It waxed eloquent about the subtlety of its styling, the shape of its mirrors and the size of its wheels. In fact, it told us everything about the new car except how much it weighed.
Mazda said prior to the introduction that it hoped to cut 150 lbs from the current version of the car and now we know they came within a hair of hitting the target. The official weight of the 2016 Miata is 2332 pounds, though you have to add 50 pounds if you equip your Miata with an automatic transmission. (Heresy!)
The original Miata, known as the NA, came in at a featherweight 2,100 pounds. Some Mazda fans had hoped the 4th generation cars, which will be known by as ND models, would be that light as well. But higher passenger safety standards, pedestrian protection regulations, and customer expectations for every electronic doodad and gizmo known to science have added mass to every vehicle. At 2,332, the new Miata is still one of the lightest cars for sale in America.
It certainly is the lightest sports car and should be a spirited performer with 150 horses on tap. For those who need more oomph, turbo kits are readily available from a number of aftermarket specialty houses, and Mazda may yet add forced induction to its option list. But for most of us, the ND Miata should still be one of the most fun-to-drive sports cars ever produced.
It was never intended to run with the Corvette ZL-1, the Dodge Viper or the Ford GT. It is what it is, a modern interpretation of the Lotus Elite and the best selling sports car in history. For the money, there is nothing that can touch it for smiles per mile.