Speculation was rampant that the 2016 Mazda Miata would break cover at the New York International Auto Show this year, and it did. Sorta. What Mazda actually gave us for the Miata’s 25th anniversary was the debut of an all-new SkyActiv chassis, which may not look like much right now. According to Mazda though, this new chassis represents a return to the Miata’s lightweight roots.
For the 25th Anniversary of the Miata, Mazda rolled out many of their favorite concepts and models to help celebrate, as well as the new SkyActiv chassis architecture for the upcoming 2016 model. The SkyActiv chassis is part of a diet plan for the already-featherweight Miata, with the overall goal of dropping 220 pounds off of the 2,400 pound curb weight of the 2015 model. That’s almost a 10% weight savings if true, bringing the 2016 Miata a lot closer to the original’s 2,100 pound curb weight. Even though designers have shaved weight, they’ve also added a suite of impressive features that keeps the Miata modern.
Electric power steering is on tap for the 2016 Miata, as well as a sturdier multi-link rear suspension. Engine options are expected to be of the 1.5 and 2.0 liter variety, and I’m expecting generous use of aluminum and lightweight steel to make sure Mazda hits its weight goals. Efficiency should be up too, proving you can have your cake and eat it too, if you’re a Miata driver at least.
Alas, the reveal of the rest of the Miata is still probably a year away, but to tide the faithful over, Mazda did reveal a special 25th Anniversary Edition 2015 MX-5 Miata. Just 100 units of this metallic red model will be available for sale in the U.S., and buyers will get a host of aesthetic and performance improvements. Lighter engine internals increase revving capability, and cars bought with a manual transmission get Bilstein shocks standard. Even the 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels were designed with weight in mind.
The 2016 Miata has captured my imagination with its naked chassis, and like many of you, I’m eager to see the rest of this nimble Mazda.
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