Mazda MX-5 Superlight Concept
From Mazda press: The world of automobiles and individual mobility is changing towards energy efficiency, environmental compatibility and uncompromised safety - along with dynamic attributes and driving fun. In its efforts to offer pure driving enjoyment, while meeting its ecological and social responsibilities, Mazda has been focusing on weight reduction as a core base technology. Reducing weight has always been a tradition with the MX-5 since 20 years and it provided the inspiration for Mazda's latest show car providing a radical expression of the cult roadster.
This year Mazda celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first MX-5 roadster, which laid the cornerstone for its Zoom-Zoom brand philosophy - reason enough for our designers to create a fully-drivable show car, the MX-5 Superlight version. There are no plans to build this car, but it demonstrates how individual mobility can be maintained in a way that uses fewer natural resources.
Mazda's European R+D center in Oberursel has created a show car that represents the essence of Mazda's fun-to-drive aspect. Based on the brand icon Mazda MX-5 Roadster, the MX-5 Superlight version is a pure, uncompromising two-seat sports car meant to be affordable to just about anyone. The main challenge for the design team in creating this study was "to evolve the MX-5, developed to perfection during the last 20 years, to a higher and extreme level," says Project Lead Designer Hasip Girgin.
The result of their efforts is a roadster show car with an exciting design that is especially lightweight and distilled down to the very basics of sporty driving, that still manages to provide modern safety technologies. In an increasingly digitalized world, it creates a linear, direct bond between man and machine. Its conceptual purity means even better driving dynamics and fuel efficiency. It accomplishes this by keeping the vehicle below the 1000 kg threshold, a weight that was felt to be almost unattainable for a modern sports car until now. As a study for lightweight construction and driving enjoyment, the MX-5 Superlight version is the ideal ambassador for Mazda's brand values.
The Mazda MX-5 Superlight version concept is fully-drivable, but there are no plans to produce it in the near future. Under the bonnet is the cultivated and frugal MZR 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired to the production roadster's five-speed manual transmission. It develops 93 kW/126 PS of maximum power at 6,500 rpm. For an appealing engine sound, there's a Mazdaspeed cold air intake made of polished and powder-coated aluminium and a Mazdaspeed exhaust system, both of them specific to the MX-5 Superlight version.
These systems deliver more intake air-flow, and less exhaust-gas back pressure. The engine sound is designed to suggest an engine with much higher displacement than the concept actually has. During charge cycles, a high-resonance bubbling sound in the muffler delivers the exciting sporty sound you would expect from a very powerful engine.
The show car is designed to provide improved driving dynamics as well, and uses a four-piston, fixed-calliper brake system with perforated discs that, because of their size required an increase in track of 50 mm. A specially tuned chassis with a Bilstein® B16 coil-over suspension and Eibach® stabilisers give the body of the MX-5 Superlight version a ground clearance that is 30 mm lower than the production MX-5. Its sporty hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion steering system is the same as that of the regular roadster. Its linear steering, coupled to a precise-shifting five-speed manual transmission with short shift travel, have contributed to the character of the world's most successful roadster for years. Also from the production model are the roadster's 205/45 R17 original-equipment tires and alloy wheels from the 2.0 version, which are some of the lightest on the market today at less than 8 kg.