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Mazda MX-5 roadster distilled to Superlight concept for Frankfurt

Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Mazda's design and engineering team in Germany has taken the MX-5 roadster and boiled it down to its pure speedster form to create the Superlight concept. We'll get a close look at the car at the Frankfurt motor show.

Some changes are obvious. Gone are the windshield--which means we won't see this car on U.S. roads--and the exterior door handles have vanished, which is no big trick for the custom-car crowd.

But our friends at Mazda haven't given up any technical details yet. Based on the name, we expect the Superlight to make extensive use of lightweight metals such as aluminum or magnesium. And a sketch of the cockpit shows areas of exposed body structure. There's no word on what engine might sit under the hood. But a lightweight body makes the engine's job much easier.

Sketch of the interior of the Mazda MX-5 Superlight concept.

The production MX-5 isn't exactly a heavy car. But stripping away more weight will give it a boost in the fuel-economy department, techniques that could find their way to the production car.

This all comes as Mazda is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the MX-5, which was launched in the United States with the Miata name. We're looking forward to mid-September to get the full story.

By Dale Jewett