This yellow hottie from down Mexico way is the Mastretta MXT – you may remember it from the racially charged Top Gear kerfuffle earlier this year. Built on a bonded aluminum chassis very similar in concept to that of the Lotus Exige and Elise, it is a rare home-produced and conceived sports car from the heart of Latin America. Mastretta is located about a quarter-hour outside of Mexico City limits in Ocoyoacac.

Currently on sale in Mexico and Europe, the edgy package is based on said British bonded alloy chassis with a carbon fiber floor panel and rear engine cradle. The body is all composite construction and the MXT hugs the earth on 17-inch Toyo tires.

The MXT's current powertrain is a 2.0-liter turbocharged affair mounted transversely in back, good for 247 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 257 pound-feet of torque peaking at 3,950 rpm. Sourced from Ford, it's the formerly Mazda-engineered pre-EcoBoost unit that was used in hotter Focus and Fiesta units worldwide until recently. At just 2,100 pounds, the 0-60 time is quoted at 4.9 seconds. Click through to the jump to continue reading.
Related GalleryMastretta MXT: LA 2011


General Manager Carlos Mastretta tells us that the Mastretta MXT at present sells for the equivalent of $58,000 in Mexico, and he insists that once the car is sellable in the rest of North America, that that price will remain intact for us, too.

The trick is that in upper North America – i.e. the U.S. and Canada parts – clients will get the chassis and body assembly sans engine and transmission. After getting their inert sports cars, customers can choose essentially whichever 2.0-liter T-ish engine they might desire, thus the car can qualify under the "specialty" homologation loophole group with relaxed emissions and crash test cost hurdles.

Mr. Mastretta has an interesting family legacy that should add a nice bit of brand equity to the MXT effort. His father was at the polytechnic university in Milan, Italy, in 1931 and '32 as a student, where he was instructed by young engineering professor Enzo Ferrari. Hence, says Mastretta, the very real Italian influences behind this effort.

With any luck, we'll be driving the MXT in Europe in January using our French connections. We're eager to see what she's like and to decide if North Americans could warm up to a semi-locally produced track day two-seater with an interesting pedigree.