Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Mazda MX 5 Superlight - lightweight?

Mazda has built a lightweight version of the MX5 to indicate how much sportscar is in each MX5. They took off the windscreen, lightened many bits and pieces and added quite a number of racing and tuning accessories. The result is the Mazda MX-5 Superlight version. It's a prototype, production isn't impossible though. The result: 980 kg, 0-100 km/h in less than 9 seconds and a truly open and sporty feel when you drive the car, I reckon. So far so good. I am disappointed though. What this experiment shows is that you can't take a modern car and make it REALLY light. 980 kg for a small simple car is still heavy. Let me compare it with some other small simple cars from the past, what about the Lotus Elite with less than 550 kg, Lotus Elan with roughly 650 kg, Austin-Healey Sprite Mark II with 696 kg, Fiat 850 Spider with 720 kg, Alfa-Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA with 845 kg, or even the more luxurious cars like the Fiat 124 Spider with 907 kg, Porsche 356 S90 with 920 kg or VW Porsche 914 with 940 kg? They all were lighter than the Superlight MX5. Now, of course modern safety regulations and crash tests impact the weight, but by that much? I strongly believe to be able to build a lightweight car you need to engineer and construct it to be one, not to take stuff away off from an existing (heavy) car. And the Mazda MX-5 Superlight version is a clear proof for this.

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