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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a friend that just picked up a pristine 1991 Mazda Miata with 11K on the clock for $12K. We were discussing weight when he brought up the fact that his car was nearly as light as my Exige without all the fancy-schmancy materials (and price to go along with them). Really. Come to find out, his Miata is only 2,100 lbs, with my Exige weighing about 2,020 from the factory.

:shrug:

Looking at the cars side by side, the Exige looks a lot bigger, but in fact isn't. The Exige is wider by 2.1", but shorter in height by 2.6", and in length by 5.5"! The Exige is a smaller car!

Taking into account the great pains Lotus has gone through to make the car lightweight via the design, materials and manufacturing process, why isn't the car lighter? Seriously, it doesn't even have bumper beams! Take the bumper beams out of the Miata and you'd be nearly idential in weight with a bigger car, heavier engine, heavier materials, standard manufacturing process, etc...

What am I missing?
 

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I have a friend that just picked up a pristine 1991 Mazda Miata with 11K on the clock for $12K. We were discussing weight when he brought up the fact that his car was nearly as light as my Exige without all the fancy-schmancy materials (and price to go along with them). Really. Come to find out, his Miata is only 2,100 lbs, with my Exige weighing about 2,020 from the factory.

:shrug:

Looking at the cars side by side, the Exige looks a lot bigger, but in fact isn't. The Exige is wider by 2.1", but shorter in height by 2.6", and in length by 5.5"! The Exige is a smaller car!

Taking into account the great pains Lotus has gone through to make the car lightweight via the design, materials and manufacturing process, why isn't the car lighter? Seriously, it doesn't even have bumper beams! Take the bumper beams out of the Miata and you'd be nearly idential in weight with a bigger car, heavier engine, heavier materials, standard manufacturing process, etc...

What am I missing?
Was it a stripped down Miata? I would challenge how he went about weighing his Miata or is it just speculation that his car weighs 2100 pounds.
 

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depends on what year... i think the first generation miata is around 2100lbs... but the new models are up at least to 2400lbs if not more.
 

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To be a bit fairer you might want to compare the

1991 Mazda at 2100 lbs with the first generation 1996 Elise at 1600 lbs

I'd guess that back then, safety regulations allowed for a lighter car?

Both cars have put on a few hundred lbs in weight over the years (tends to happen as you get middle aged:) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
depends on what year... i think the first generation miata is around 2100lbs... but the new models are up at least to 2400lbs if not more.
Definitely, the last model Road & Track tested in December of 2006 weighed 2,550 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To be a bit fairer you might want to compare the

1991 Mazda at 2100 lbs with the first generation 1996 Elise at 1600 lbs

I'd guess that back then, safety regulations allowed for a lighter car?

Both cars have put on a few hundred lbs in weight over the years (tends to happen as you get middle aged:) )
True, but you're missing my point. The Miata is a normal car, made with normal materials and traditional manufacturing techniques, hell, it even has bumper beams!

Contrast that with the Lotus, where every single thing on the car has been engineered to be light. It simply doesn't make sense that the car is only 80 lbs lighter. I'm sure it's partly due to the fiberglass body, but honestly, if the Elise/Exige were made out of standard materials and using standard manufacturing techniques, I think it'd come in very heavy, maybe even as heavy as an S2000 (2,800 lbs).

Think about it, something's wrong.
 

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I'd guess that the tiny wheel/tire on an early Miata is lighter than what's on the Exige. It also doesn't have the oil coolers and all of the plumbing associted with them. Also no wing, smaller windshield...it will add up on the Exige.
 

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Well I don't know why the Elise went from 1600lbs to 1900 lbs.

I'd be curious to know whats adding the extra weight myself...

I'm guessing it went up for a reason forced on the design by safetly regulations though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd guess that the tiny wheel/tire on an early Miata is lighter than what's on the Exige. It also doesn't have the oil coolers and all of the plumbing associted with them. Also no wing, smaller windshield...it will add up on the Exige.
True, it all adds up, but everything you mentioned has been engineered to be light on the Elise/Exige, not so with the Miata.

Speculate for me what the Elise/Exige might weigh if it were made of regular materials.
 

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True, it all adds up, but everything you mentioned has been engineered to be light on the Elise/Exige, not so with the Miata.

Speculate for me what the Elise/Exige might weigh if it were made of regular materials.
I don't think the other poster was missing your point. The contemporary Elise, the S1, to the Miata you're comparing it to is 500 lbs, or nearly 25% lighter. That is not insignificant. And that's HIS point.

As far as the Elise/Exige being engineered to be light, the engine/trans were not.

The selection of the engine/trans was not because of its engineering superiority, either in power or weight, but because it fit in the engine bay, and Lotus could work out an economically feasible arrangement with Toyota.

That's always been the way Lotus has worked. See the Renault engine in the original europa, for example.

The exise is still about 400 to 500lbs lighter than a contemporary Miata. And compare the Exige with the weight of the Miata with the retractable hard top, not the standard convertible version. Apples to apples helps.

400 or so lbs is a LOT when you're starting with a small/light platform to begin with. Look at guys here shedding a handful of lbs by replacing the battery! As the car gets lighter, you run out of things to pare down, so smaller incremental gains wind up being significant.
 

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The original miata was engineered to be as light as possible. It's chassis is not nearly as stiff as the elise chassis and it's got a smaller 1.6 liter engine. I think the car got at least a hundred pounds heavier as various safety stuff was added to it between '91 and '97 and the engine went up to a 1.8 liter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't think the other poster was missing your point. The contemporary Elise, the S1, to the Miata you're comparing it to is 500 lbs, or nearly 25% lighter. That is not insignificant. And that's HIS point.

As far as the Elise/Exige being engineered to be light, the engine/trans were not.

The selection of the engine/trans was not because of its engineering superiority, either in power or weight, but because it fit in the engine bay, and Lotus could work out an economically feasible arrangement with Toyota.

That's always been the way Lotus has worked. See the Renault engine in the original europa, for example.

The exise is still about 400 to 500lbs lighter than a contemporary Miata. And compare the Exige with the weight of the Miata with the retractable hard top, not the standard convertible version. Apples to apples helps.

400 or so lbs is a LOT when you're starting with a small/light platform to begin with. Look at guys here shedding a handful of lbs by replacing the battery! As the car gets lighter, you run out of things to pare down, so smaller incremental gains wind up being significant.
I understand what you're saying, but I still don't buy it, the car should be lighter when the company's MAIN GOAL is to make every little piece the lightest it can be...and knows the ounces on the traction control button.

You want apples to apples? Speculate what an Elise would weigh if it were manufactured using traditional methods and traditional materials, then compare it to a standard Miata. I think the Miata would be lighter, and I don't know why.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The original miata was engineered to be as light as possible. It's chassis is not nearly as stiff as the elise chassis and it's got a smaller 1.6 liter engine. I think the car got at least a hundred pounds heavier as various safety stuff was added to it between '91 and '97 and the engine went up to a 1.8 liter.
You're telling me that the 1.6 Mazda motor weighs less than the 1.8 Toyota motor? I don't think so, but I'll do a little research on it. I think that nearly everything on a Miata weighs more than on an Elise, regardless of functionality.
 

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MX-5 Miata minimum curb weights

(1st gen)
1990-1991: 2182 lbs.
1992: 2214 lbs.
1993: 2223 lbs.
1994-1996: 2293 lbs.
1997-1998: 2359 lbs.

(2nd Gen)
1999: 2299 lbs.
2000: 2332 lbs.
2001-2003: 2387 lbs.
2004-2005: 2447 lbs.

(3rd Gen)
2006-2008: 2441 lbs.
2009: 2447 lbs.

Total gain of 265 lbs. (12%) over the past 20 years.
 

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I understand what you're saying, but I still don't buy it, the car should be lighter when the company's MAIN GOAL is to make every little piece the lightest it can be...and knows the ounces on the traction control button.

You want apples to apples? Speculate what an Elise would weigh if it were manufactured using traditional methods and traditional materials, then compare it to a standard Miata. I think the Miata would be lighter, and I don't know why.
Well, the Elise WAS meant to be light, but not as light as it can be. There were tradeoffs made. You mention the traction control button's weight.

Ok, then explain why there is even an Engine Start button at all, when the ignition key assembly could be used to start the car?

And it is a full 300 to 400 lbs lighter than a current Miata BECAUSE it's not made the same way. How much lighter do you actually think it could, or should be?
 

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The goal is not just light weight. The main goal is to have a quick, responsive and safe sports car. The main factor of the S2 Exige/Elise weight gain is chassis rigidity. If you drive a Miata (Especially an older one) and a Elise back to back, there is no doubt the Lotus chassis is much more rigid and responsive.

if you use conventional materials to make the Exige/Elise you would either have a much heavier car, or a much floppier car. make your choice.
 

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...you have to give mazda credit for relentlessly persuing the same lightweight design objective as lotus...yes, they're different companies with completely different manufacturing techniques, but weight reduction has always been a fundamental design objective on the MX-5, just as the original elan from which it was inspired, so given comparable market, regulatory, and performance pressures it's not at all unexpected that both cars have trended similarly over the years...
 
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