Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 front 3/4

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 rear 3/4

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 profile

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 front 3/4

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 rear 3/4

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 hardtop detail

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 front fascia

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 side decals

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 wheel/tire

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 decal

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 hood decal

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 door handle

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 exhaust

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 engine

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 engine

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 engine detail

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 supercharger

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 interior

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 interior

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 seats

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 center console

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 gauge cluster

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 six-speed manual transmission

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 roll bars

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 fuel door release

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20 badge

The car you see above is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Super20, and as far as we know, it's the only one out on the road. Oh sure, people have been hotting-up Miatas since the little roadster's birth some two decades ago, but this Super20 is a hand-crafted Mazda original, first seen at the 2010 SEMA Show and the brought back out for the 2011 expo wearing the color scheme seen here.

It's very rare that we get to drive conceptual show cars outside of staged ride-and-drive events. Needless to say, when Mazda called and offered us a few days with its sweet little Super20 here in the Motor City, we immediately cleared our schedules.

Over the course of our week with the Super20, both Executive Editor Chris Paukert and I – Paukert being a second-generation (NB) Miata owner, for what it's worth – were able to flog the little yellow racer. Would this prove to be our favorite Miata yet?

Driving Notes
  • First, let's get one thing out of the way: It's unclear exactly how much power is being produced by the supercharged 2.0-liter MZR engine. Mazda's original press materials suggest somewhere around 250 horsepower for the Cosworth-supercharged mill – a full 83 hp more than the standard, naturally aspirated car. No torque specs were given, but it's easy to feel the extra thrust of power in the lower end of the powerband.
  • "Despite having a lot more power, the engine is still working way too hard at highway speeds (a sensation amplified by the overly boomy aftermarket exhaust and lack of sound deadening). Time for a taller sixth gear," Paukert notes.
  • Chris continues, "The ACT street clutch isn't as friendly in terms of modulation as the stock unit, but it's easy enough to get used to, and probably necessary considering the extra power the Cosworth supercharged MZR is kicking out."
  • As for handling, having this extra grunt in the Super20 only proves how great the NC Miata's chassis is. The Super20 had no issues putting power to the ground with poise, still being immensely forgiving all the while. "It's enough to make one wish for an intermediate stability control setting with a broader degree of play," Paukert notes.
  • This thing is a total attention-grabber, and not just because of the unique yellow-and-black color scheme. It's lower, wider, and looks downright mean because of it. Wherever we took it, the Super20 garnered all sorts of attention from people of all ages (and both sexes).
  • We love the finger-pull door latches – paying a tribute to the ones used on the original NA Miata. A nice homage.
  • Interior is your standard Miata fare, albeit with some suede inserts in the seats. That said, we'd love some more supportive chairs here, as the stock seats don't provide nearly enough lateral support, something we really noticed while flinging the supercharged Miata around.
  • Weight has been saved throughout the car's interior, including the removal of the storage and roll bar compartment behind the front seats. A half-cage has been added, as well as a fixed hardtop. Notice how the fuel door release just sort of hangs outside of the center console.
  • We won't fault the serious NVH issues of this car too much – it was designed to be a concept first and foremost, after all – but man, this thing is loud, and everything inside the car rattles. The fixed roof is no better for sound deadening than the normal soft top.
  • All in, the Super20 makes us wish for a proper stripped-out track day special edition. An all-new Miata is still probably at least two years away, so a more hardcore version would certainly be enough to keep enthusiasts entertained until then.

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      Typhon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope Mazda will offer an "R-package" version for the next Miata: no luxuries to keep the weight down, drivetrain and suspension upgrades, lightweight bucket seats and a proper roll bar (though ridiculous legislative restrictions might prevent this).
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Mr. Meaner
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sweet little budget Boxter! I guy in my hometown had a "Monster Miata." It had a 4.6L Mustang V8 with a supercharger on it. The thing was insane.
      bubba_roe
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like it. I just couldnt handle driving a Miata, it will for ever be known as a girly mans car.
        Typhon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bubba_roe
        Maybe then you could try a lifted Dodge Ram to reaffirm and project your perceived masculinity to everyone on the road.
        the.ting
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bubba_roe
        Your loss.
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bubba_roe
        Get over yourself, bubba
        colin.shark
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bubba_roe
        Insecurity *ESTABLISHED*
      Claud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is that the best Mazda can do...........That is ugly!
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Claud
        You're right. It needs some LED light strips, in-car touch screens, and wings that serve no purpose.
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Autoblg clowns had the car for days and didn't get it on a dynamometer? And then complained about how unclear the exta power was? Meh.
      Richard
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cannot understand why Mazda doesn't adapt the DIZI engine from the Mazdaspeed 3 for the Miata and be done with it. And I don't want to hear it doesn't fit...Chevy LS motors seem to fit just fine.
        imag
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Richard
        It's an engine designed for FWD. Packaging is a disaster for RWD. Also, just because a motor fits for the aftermarket doesn't mean it will work for the manufacturers. They need to pass crash and safety tests. The aftermarket doesn't. It is a shame; a stock V8 Miata would be the car of the year.
          domingorobusto
          • 2 Years Ago
          @imag
          All you have to do to make it RWD capable is move a few accessories and make a new intake and exhaust. Hardly a difficult process. I think as soon as they developed that engine they should have thrown it in the Miata to continue the Mazdaspeed MX-5 through the NC generation.
      AXEL
      • 2 Years Ago
      Silly autoblog, its not a miata if it isn't at 5k RPM cruising on the interstate. I wouldn't say it was working too hard at that speed, but what do I know I don't drive over-sized cars with overly complacent gearing to boast about highway MPG :)
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      The success of this will come down to cost and warranty. If neither of those are very good, I'd rather just go buy a used Miata and upgrade it the way I see fit. But if it isn't crazy expensive and comes with good warranty, it is an easy way to drop into a decently modified NC with a warranty.
      KAG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, that thing looks like a monster.
      Nicksaurusrex
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have an '99 NB Miata. I normally hate the NC's look, but this one looks and sounds soooo good. Like macaroni.... I wanna eat it :]
      Stumpy
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Best Looking NC I have ever seen. (This coming from a NB Turbo Owner). A few here have posted and I agree that a stripped down version with no bells and whistles... Just handling upgrades would be awesome. Also, not sure how many would agree with me, but bringing back the Coupe Miata would also be something I would be very interested in. ..
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