Tuning

SEMA 2011: Mazda MX-5 Spyder Concept

Mazda have returned to SEMA with some subtle but significant ideas for their record-breaking roadster.

As the best-selling two-seat roadster in the world that combines performance and affordability better than any other, it must be a challenge to create something new and exciting for SEMA each year. This time round Mazda turned to MNAO Design and Magna Car Top Systems to rework the roadster by replacing the 12-second Power Retractable Hard Top and single-hand-operation soft-top with a sweeping, single panel grenadine-red soft-top by Haartz Corporation giving the MX-5 a lower slung stance.

Complementing the roof is a Stratosphere White paintjob and 17-inch wheels in Gun Metal Metallic.The effort required to remove the bikini-style soft top is compensated by the substantial weight savings gained, and removing even more weight was achieved by changing the battery from lead acid to lithium ion and swapping the stock wheels with a lighter set of Advan RS wheels wrapped in Yokohama tires. The cabin area has been given a classy fit-out with black-leather seats and suede inserts, finished with Gray Metallic trim on the doors & dash; the MX-5's motorsport pedigree is also paid homage to by virtue of a MAZDASPEED short-throw shifter.

Mazda's reliable MZR 2.9-liter engine remains under the hood but now it's fueled by isobutanol. The beauty of this biofuel is that it has no negative impact on performance and is compatible with existing technology and infrastructure. It thus perfectly supports Mazda's mantra of "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom," that is, crafting exciting, fun-to-drive vehicles that create minimal environmental impact. Whether the MX-5 Spyder is a serious consideration remains to be seen, but with enough interest the bikini top could become a feasible aftermarket option.

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