The Mazda Miata (or MX-5 as it is now called) is one of those quiet-yet-consistent cars that rarely gets much press, positive or negative. Yet it has been leading the roadster revolution for two decades now. It is a light, agile car that dominates autocross and road racing events across the country due to its availability and affordability. But for such a light, small car, it doesn’t get all that great of gas mileage, with the 2010 model averaging about 25 MPG between highway and city driving.
But Mazda aims to change that in 2011. Rumors circulating about seem to suggest the 2011 MX-5 will get a Sky-G engine, which Mazda unveiled without much fanfare. This engine could get as much as 70 mpg while still cranking out a respectable 150 horsepower in the featherweight roadster.
The plan for the 2011 MX-5 is two-fold. Mazda will to shed almost 300 pounds from the current MX-5, dropping its weight down to about 2,200 pounds. Weight is the enemy of fuel economy, and as a convertible the MX-5 has pretty poor aerodynamics which explains its rather poor ratings. But the Sky-G engine will help with that.
The Sky-G utilizes the latest in direct-injection technology, low-friction engine blocks, and piezo electric injectors to squeeze the most mileage out of the classic internal combustion engine. Coupled with the Sky Drive 6-speed transmission and lighter weight, the next MX-5 should almost double its current mileage to 50 mpg, and perhaps even as much as 70 mpg without sacrificing the power that makes it a fun car. The next-gen MX-5 will likely draw at least some design cues from the Superlight concept car (pictured above) Mazda debuted earlier this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
Mazda is also working on a turbocharged diesel version, called the Sky-D. One has to wonder when they are going to put that into a MX-5!
Source: Inside Line | Image: Mazda