Mazda Makes a Superlight MX-5

By Editors on September 14, 2009 11:10 AM

Mazda's European design group has created its own bit of eye candy for the Frankfurt Auto Show in the form of this low-slung, low-mass speedster variation based on the current MX-5. Officially part of the MX-5's year-long 20th Anniversary celebration, the Superlight is a one-off "track car" that weighs in at a mere 995 kilograms (2,194 pounds) -- making it about 10 percent lighter than the standard Euro production model. "I've dreamed of building a Mazda MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time," says Peter Birtwhistle, Mazda Motor Europe's chief designer. "Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for it. We show how lightweight a car today can be."

Beyond jettisoning its windshield and folding top components, the Superlight's cabin has been stripped of all unnecessary creature comforts, starting with the air conditioning, carpeting, mats and sound insulation. Carbon fiber gets the call as a replacement material for several items, highlighted by new racing-style bucket seats. Also on hand is a pair of custom rollover bars that also serve to limit wind turbulence around the passenger's heads and house the car's custom LED brake lights.

Underhood, changes to the Superlight's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine has been confined to a polished/powder-coated Mazdaspeed aluminum cold-air intake and a MAZDASPEED exhaust system. However, the car's reduced curb weight helps trim 0-100 k/ph (0-62 mph) time from 9.9 to 8.9 seconds, while allowing it to return even better combined fuel economy and CO2 emission numbers than the stock MX-5. The already brilliant baseline handling of Mazda's diminutive roadster receives a major boost courtesy of a 2.0-inch increase in track dimension, a 1.2-inch lower ride height and more aggressive Bilstein coilover suspension package complemented by unique Eibach anti-roll bars. Stopping power is tweaked thanks to bigger four-wheel disc brakes with four-piston calipers and perforated rotors. Alas, Mazda says there are no plans to put the Superlight into even limited production.

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