Mazda reveals featherweight MX-5s at SEMA Las Vegas

Spyder and Speedster concepts debut at 2015 aftermarket show

Mazda has revealed two lightweight MX-5 concepts at the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas. The Spyder and Speedster concepts have both shed weight and gained new performance parts, and are comprised almost entirely out of readily available aftermarket products.

The Speedster is the more extreme of the two cars, having been substantially pared back compared to the standard car in an effort to minimise weight. The doors and seats are carbonfibre, and even the windscreen is gone – it’s been replaced by a thin wind-deflector – and the combined result is a new kerbweight of just 943kg, which is a significant 104kg less than the standard car.

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Under the Speedster’s bonnet is Mazda’s 2-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine, which produces 158bhp and 147lb ft of torque when fitted to the regular car – equating to a power-to-weight ratio of 153bhp/ton. In the featherweight Speedster, that output grows to 170bhp/ton. 

Inside, the bespoke carbon seats (created by Mu-Len Delta Seat) are covered in Alcantara, while underneath, the Speedster is suspended on K&W adjustable coilover suspension, set so the car sits 30mm lower than the production MX-5. The standard wheels are swapped for 16-inch RAYS 57 Extreme Gram Lights, wrapped in Kuhmo Ecsta V710 slicks, and the results make for a track-focused car that should be both lighter and sharper than the production model.

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Mazda’s other new concept, the Spyder, receives fewer performance modifications, but it does gain a raft of new aesthetic features including a bikini top roof (a la Porsche Boxster Spyder), carbonfibre aero kit and a new grille intake. 

Other visual changes include a Mercury Silver exterior, as well as an interior strewn with Prima natural full-grain leather, sourced from specialist Spinneybeck. The chassis hasn’t been completely ignored however, as the Spyder receives adjustable coilover suspension and 17-inch Yokohama Advan Racing RS II wheels, complete with semi-slick Yokohama Advan A048 tyres.

Though the resulting car is just 0.4 per cent lighter than the standard model at 1043kg - so its 2-litre engine wouldn't offer any noticeable straight-line performance gains - the Spyder certainly makes for a more visually sporting package.

The two new concepts are currently on display at SEMA, one of the world’s biggest aftermarket equipment shows, in Las Vegas. Neither car is due to enter production, but they both serve as demonstrators for how far the current MX-5 can be evolved using parts available on the aftermarket.

The arrival of these concepts suggests Mazda’s performance intentions are stronger than ever, as they follow the Tokyo motor show’s RX-Vision concept - which could preview a future rotary-engined production model that's expected to rebirth the RX-7 nametag when it arrives in 2017.

There's also a racing version of the MX-5; you can read more about that here.

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