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Mazda MX-5 Superlight concept at 2009 Frankfurt motor show

Fri, 11 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700

By Ben Pulman

First Official Pictures

11 September 2009 09:30

To celebrate 20 years of the MX-5, Mazda has produced this special Superlight concept which be unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show next week.

Mazda started with the facelifted version of its third-gen sports car and pared it back to basics to create an uncompromising sub-1000kg two-seater sports car. According to project lead designer Hasip Girgin, the challenge was 'to evolve the MX-5, developed to perfection during the last 20 years, to a higher and extreme level.' As such, Mazda seems to be treating the MX-5 Superlight like a portly Caterham, claiming the lack of a windscreen and roof makes the driver and passenger feel more connected with the environment.

And with no windscreen the aluminium bonnet has been extended towards the cabin with a sheet of carbonfibre that forms the single rear-view mirror and curls around the instrument cluster. Two new roll-over bars (fitted with brake lights) ensure protection in this fully functioning concept, and also help reduce wind buffeting.

Inside the occupants sit on lightweight carbonfibre bucket seats and are held in place with four-point belts. Carbonfibre is also used for the dashboard frame, fibreglass makes up the plain dash, and the gearstick and handbrake are made of aluminium.

There’s no air-con system, but the Superlight has two emergency kill buttons for the fuel and electricity cut-off, plus a starter button for the 1.8-litre four-pot. The 124bhp/123lb ft engine is in production-spec, but a Mazdaspeed cold air intake and exhaust system do their best to add some extra noise. The Superlight also has a 50mm wider track, a special 30mm lower Bilstein coil-over suspension kit and the 17in wheels from the 2.0 MX-5.

Thanks to the weight savings the Superlight weighs 995kg, will sprint to 62mph in 8.9 seconds, achieve 44.8mpg and only emit 150g/km CO2, compared to the regular 1.8's 1080kg, 9.9sec, 40.4mpg and 167g/km.

By Ben Pulman