Mazda MX-5-mad Brits will get two more exclusive branded models to choose from: the Niseko soft top and Niseko roadster coupe, named after the Niseko ski resort on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The entry-level model soft top is a 1.8-liter 5-speed going for £17,995, while the roadster coupe gets a 2.0-liter 6-speed and will set buyers back £19,995. Both come with £2,000 worth of extras, including Icy Blue Metallic or Sunlight Silver Metallic free of charge. They also sport 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color trim, chrome all over, icy blue stitching inside, and Niseko badging.
The models will go on sale January 1. Prime ordering for MX-5's in England begins in February, so get your orders in early -- there will only be 240 soft tops and 560 roadsters made. Follow the jump for the full press release, and check out the gallery of hi-res images below.
SPECIAL 'MAZDA MX-5 NISEKO' BRIGHTENS WINTER GLOOM
The latest Mazda MX-5 can truly be described as an all-weather, all-year sports car with its enhanced heating and air-conditioning systems. Now, to celebrate its continuing status as 'Britain's favourite sports car brand' this winter, Mazda is introducing a pair of special edition 'Niseko' models, named after Japan's most prestigious skiing resort.
As the latest edition of the world's best selling roadster, the rear-wheel drive Mazda MX-5 Niseko boasts unrivalled handling and driving dynamics, and represents extremely competitive value for money. Available from £17,995 on-the-road, the Niseko offers up to £2,000 worth of additional or exclusive extras over and above the equivalent standard models.
On sale from 1 January 2008, both the 'entry-level' 1.8i Niseko soft-top (126ps, five-speed) and the £19,995 2.0i Niseko roadster coupe (160ps, six-speed) are available in an exclusive new bespoke colour 'Icy Blue' metallic, as well as Sunlight Silver metallic – for no additional charge.
"Mazda MX-5 customers have traditionally given a warm welcome to each new 'special edition' model introduced during our roadster's 18 year history," commented Mark Cameron, Mazda UK marketing director. "Now, for the first time with the Niseko, we are offering a 'special' model in both soft-top and roadster coupe forms and with co-ordinated brown leather seats and interior trim. Personally, I think the new 'Icy Blue' colour is going to appeal particularly to women buyers, although since launch the third generation Mazda MX-5 has achieved a 50/50, male/female sales mix as predicted.
"Traditionally, MX-5 buyers spend more on accessories and do more to individualise their cars, than other Mazda owners. Although the majority of those buyers use their MX-5s all-year-round, the peak ordering period is from February through to May, so the introduction of Niseko in January will boost sales at the back end of winter and give us a head-start for a spring sales boom," added Cameron.
Special exterior features of the Mazda MX-5 Niseko include: unique design 17-inch alloy wheels, unique body-colour finish for the style bar trim, front fog lamps, Chrome Pack (door handles and headlamp bezels, and surrounds for the side-repeaters, front grille and fog lamps) and special edition 'Niseko' badging on each front wing, plus a unique dark brown premium cloth for the fabric roof (soft-top only).
Inside, both Niseko models feature unique dark brown heated leather seats with co-ordinated door trim and icy blue stitching, plus dark brown leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake. They are also equipped with a dark-silver dash panel, stainless-steel scuff plates and Niseko-branded luxury interior mats, with a suspension strut tower bracing bar beneath the bonnet.
As well as adding the special Niseko features, the generous standard equipment of the donor vehicles ensures that buyers can enjoy: driver's seat height adjustment, electric windows, central locking, MP3-compatible radio/single CD player with six-speaker audio system, climate control air-conditioning, stainless-steel scuff plates, twin chrome exhaust tail pipes and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobiliser.
Niseko owners will also enjoy a degree of exclusivity as production of this latest Mazda MX-5 model will be restricted. Just 240 examples of the Mazda MX-5 1.8i Niseko soft-top and 560 units of the MX-5 2.0i Niseko roadster coupe will be made available in the UK.
Despite all of the additional specification, both Mazda MX-5 Niseko special editions remain in the same insurance groups as their standard counterparts – 11E (1.8i) and 13E (2.0i).