Mazda MX-5 Superlight - Click above for high-res image gallery
With an endless string of concepts cars peppered across these pages, we often find ourselves saying, "Yeah, I'd drive that." But with the Frankfurt-bound Mazda Superlight concept, we're saying "Hey – I wanna build that!"
Conceived and created as a way to celebrate the MX-5 Miata's 20th anniversary – along with showcasing Mazda's focus on lightweight performance – the Superlight's new profile and 2,194-pound curb weight is the brainchild of the automaker's European R&D center in Oberursel, Germany.
Based off the recently facelifted roadster, the most obvious change to the Superlight is its speedster profile, which involved removing the windshield, retractable roof and frame. From there, Mazda's European team extended the aluminum hood towards the cabin and mounted an aluminum, wide-angle rear-view mirror, along with a set of roll-over hoops fitted with LED brake lights.
The passenger compartment benefits from a thorough stripping, with the removal of the sound insulation, carpeting and air conditioning unit. In their place goes a set of carbon fiber racing buckets coated in the same brown leather as the steering wheel, armrests and aluminum shifter and hand brake. The dash is a custom fiberglass and plastic unit, with the stock MX-5's gauges joining an engine-start button bringing to life the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder (putting out 126 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque) and equipped with a Mazdaspeed cold-air intake and exhaust. But with the diet and minimal engine mods, the run from 0-to-60 MPH comes in at 8.9 seconds.
The track has been increased by 50mm all around to accommodate the larger four-piston calipers and slotted discs, with the whole package dropped by 30mm courtesy of a Bilstein B16 coil-overs. Eibach anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear, and the Superlight rolls on stock 17-inch wheels coated in 205/45 rubber.
According to Mazda Motor Europe's Chief Designer, Peter Birtwhistle, "I've dreamed of building a Mazda MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time. Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for it." Ripe indeed, and color us inspired. Now if we can just find the right donor car...