The fastest production vehicles from the past were more often than not strippers. They were devoid of most parts or components buyers want but everything added to a car adds weight. We’ve wanted to see a stripped Corvette or Mustang forever, but it looks like Mazda has beaten them to the stripper wars with the Miata MX-5 990S. And it’s just 2100 lbs from the factory.
Club racers love the Miata so it makes sense that Mazda would offer a naturally aspirated model that is devoid of as much as possible to get the poundage down. That included sound deadener, lightening up the hood, lightweight wheels, and Brembo brakes. It also appears that the navigation screen bonked onto the dash is gone. It also features an open rear end.
The Miata 990S loses a little weight here, and a little there
Some of these lighter-weight parts might seem trivial. The brakes only reduce the weight by 1.5 lbs. But the Mazda folks say 2.2 lbs of unsprung mass is equal to 22 lbs of sprung mass. So it is an exponential increase.
Development Chief Shigeki Saito told Japan’s Car Watch, “Horsepower and fun are not proportional, but lightness and fun are proportional. The lighter the car, the more fun it is. If you enjoy driving, I think this roadster is the best right now.”
Something new for the Miata 990S is “Vehicle Attitude Stabilization Control
Mazda has also added something new. The 990S features Vehicle Attitude Stabilization Control. This new technology helps to eliminate lean going into corners. It applies a slight amount of brake pressure to the rear inner wheel if there are more than 0.3 G cornering forces.
It tames the wheel lifting up and flattens out the corners. Like an electronically controlled suspension, if the driver doesn’t like it, he or she can turn the function off. Visual cues include black brake calipers with “Brembo” detailed in blue. There is also a blue soft top and AC vents.
What doesn’t make sense is that the 990S is only available in Japan. Yes, the 1.5-liter engine is a bit underpowered by today’s standards. But the optional 2.0-liter engine needs more heavy-duty components and won’t be available on the 990S. That might be part of the reason for not sending these to the US.
Now, just imagine what a carbon fiber driveshaft and small turbo for that 1.5-liter engine would add. Mazda gives enthusiasts a fun, new platform to begin slicing and dicing some of the other extraneous components for more weight savings and power. Just not in the US-at least for now.