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Offline AshSimmonds

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Mazda MX-5 Superlight concept car: first official photos

By Tim Smith

This is the Mazda MX-5 Superlight show car – an MX-5 speedster with weight stripped out and windscreen relegated to the scrapheap. Think of it as the purest MX-5 yet.

Sadly, it's just a concept car at present, destined to be shown at the Frankfurt motor show in autumn 2009. Designed in Oberusel, Germany, it is Mazda’s present to itself for creating (over to you, Mazda PR  machine) 'the best-selling two-seat sports car in the world'. 

Of course, this isn’t any old milestone; the MX-5 has been around for 20 years exactly – worming its way into our hearts since its debut in 1989. To some it is single handedly responsible for reviving the small sports car market that many thought had died with the British motor industry.

On first glance, you’ll notice the lack of windscreen and door handles in this MX-5 speedster. What you won’t notice is the lightweight technology that allegedly improves driving performance, handling, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

No technical details have been released yet, meaning we at CAR can only guess it will be conventionally powered by either of the MX-5’s current line of 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol engines.

'It's like the Smart Crossblade – it has no windscreen!' I hear you scream. Quite. A robust flies-in-the-teeth experience is guaranteed with the lack of glass and A-pillars.

The chances of the MX-5 Superlight being put into production are, we think, remote. But then you never can tell with companies like Mazda.

Offline AshSimmonds

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2009 Frankfurt Auto Show: Mazda MX-5 Superlight

FRANKFURT, Germany — Mazda was kind enough last month to send us a teaser image or two of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight ahead of the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, which opens this week. Now, a whole raft of images, plus full specs, have been revealed — unofficially — in advance of the show, compliments of Carscoop and other Web sites.

As Mazda informed us back in August, the MX-5 Superlight, designed at the firm's European design studio in Oberursel, Germany, is intended to deliver "improved driving performance, handling, fuel economy and CO2 emissions."

Tucked under the hood is a lightweight MZR 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, returning 125 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque, mated to a five-speed gearbox. That compares with the larger, 2.0-liter unit in the U.S.-spec 2010 Miata MX-5 Touring, which churns out 167 hp and 140 lb-ft and comes with a six-speed manual. The MZR engine in the Superlight features a Mazdaspeed cold-air intake and exhaust system.

Mazda has slashed weight on the MX-5 Superlight to 2,194 pounds, which helps contribute to the car's decent acceleration (zero to 60 mph in less than 8.9 seconds) and a combined fuel economy of 37 mpg. CO2 emissions have been trimmed to 150 g/km.

The weight-loss regimen included losing the windshield and convertible top, with airflow improved by adding faired-in rollover bars with integral LED brake lamps. Lightweight carbon fiber bucket seats have been installed; seats, steering wheel, shift lever and handbrake are trimmed in saddle leather.

Mazda has fitted the Superlight with 205/45R17 tires, vented front and solid rear disc brakes, Bilstein coil-over shocks and Eibach stabilizer bars.

Inside Line says: Good-looking and plenty of fun — a highly entertaining twist on sustainability. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent


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