More Lightweight Mazda Designs from SEMA

By Ed Higginbotham
Nov 3, 2015 | Mazda

While the Spyder (left) enjoys an open air "bikibi top," the Speedster (right) tosses the idea of shelter out the window.
There's no doubt which one would be more practical, but which one would you choose?
The Speedster weighs a meer 2080 pounds.
The MX-5 Spyder is a sophisticated interpretation of the classic vintage roadster.
The MX-5 Speedster interior carries a kind of vintage feel.

Mazda revealed two design concepts today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, based on its all-new 2016 MX-5: the MX-5 Spyder and MX-5 Speedster.

These two designs are intended to take the MX-5’s fundamental tenants—lightweight efficiency—to an extreme. Interestingly, the extreme seems to produce a rather simple and and almost vintage attitude. So let’s take a look at what these two concepts actually are.

MX-5 Spyder

The MX-5 Spyder is a sophisticated interpretation of the classic vintage roadster, which is designed to accentuate the open-air experience. Its bikini top was developed by ASC – American Sunroof Corporation with the fabric supplied by Haartz.

Other highlights include its specially formulated Mercury Silver paint color, carbon fiber aero kit, grille intake and body toneau cover and lightweight Yokohama ADVAN Racing RS II 17-inch wheels. Its interior is adorned in Spinneybeck “PRIMA” natural leather, lending a sense of vintage motoring from behind the wheel.

Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT
Wheels: Custom Yokohama ADVAN Racing RS II 17 x 8 (42mm offset)
Brakes: Front Brembo four-piston calipers with vented rotors
Tires: Yokohama ADVAN A048 225/45/17
Shocks Springs: Adjustable coil-overs
Weight: 2301 lbs.
Exterior Color: Mercury Silver
Interior: Seats, doors, trimmed in Spinneybeck “PRIMA” natural leather

MX-5 Speedster

The MX-5 Speedster pares the roadster back to the essentials for an unadulterated, wind-in-the-hair driving experience, evocative of the open-top sports cars of the 1950s—even going to far as to eschew a windshield for a deflector. In the same vein, the utter dedication toward creating such a focused machine led the design staff to build the Speedster with custom 16-inch RAYS Extreme Gram Lights wheels, benefitting MX-5 with less unsprung weight. MX-5 Speedster finished in a new concept color called Blue Ether.

Other details on MX-5 Speedster include an adjustable coilover suspension, which lowers it by 30mm compared with the production-car specifications, a Racing Beat center-mount exhaust, an interior retrimmed in Alcantara, carbon fiber Mu-Len Delta seats created exclusively for MX-5 and carbon fiber doors. In all, the lighter-weight materials have helped contribute to a weight loss of more than 250 pounds, with MX-5 Speedster weighing 2,080 pounds.

Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT
Wheels: Custom RAYS 57 Extreme Gram Lights 16 x 8 (45mm offset)
Brakes: Front Brembo four-piston calipers with vented rotors
Tires: Kumho Ecsta V710 225/50/16
Shocks Springs: K&W adjustable coilover suspension
Weight: 2080 lbs.
Exterior Color: Blue Ether
Seats: Lightweight seats developed by Mu-Len Delta Seat exclusively for the 2016 MX-5, constructed of Carbon Fiber and trimmed in black Alcantara

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View comments on the GRM forums
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/15 2:02 p.m.

The Speedster reminds me of Aston-Martin's 100th anniversary concept:

They really should put a 2L engine option in the ND in any case, they'd have no problem selling them!

unk577 HalfDork
11/3/15 2:06 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: They really should put a 2L engine option in the ND in any case, they'd have no problem selling them!

In the US it's not a option, it's standard.

einy New Reader
11/3/15 4:20 p.m.

We need the V8 factory option !!

jstein77 SuperDork
11/3/15 7:22 p.m.

Weight: 2080 lbs.

Mitchell UltraDork
11/3/15 8:23 p.m.

The Spyder is gorgeous!

Schump New Reader
11/3/15 9:04 p.m.

The Speedster is a gorgeous...death trap. When the car is rolled, your vertebrae will wish they opted for roll bars of sensible height. A beautiful car, but I couldn't drive it bending the pedal stop for that reason. The Spyder, however, checks all the boxes. Beautiful, simple, well proportioned, ample recognition of F=m*a

Of course, me being 6'4" tall, it gives me the big middle finger I imagine. Just the same, Germans know how to engineer cars well, so my 34" inseam and orangutan arms and legs fit inside my daily driver 1973 914 2.0 pretty easily. I know I didn't come close to fitting in the sweet looking Sky/Solstice, and don't fit in late model Miatas either. Just the same, how many tall Asians are there vs Europeans or Americans? (Sports cars and motorcycles are the only drawbacks of being tall. That and having to pay more for dress shirts!)

Still, my 914 had a fiberglass roof, 15 ft^3 of trunk space, and it weighed 60 lb less than the Speedster. Well built too, aside from the factory rust exacerbated by the fact that it lived in CT the first 20 years of its life. I rear ended a big, old American boat after Formula SAE competition in May of 1995 looking for a spot to turn into the VT campus parking lot and the chassis faired well. The 4500+ lb American geast car's pointed rear bumper added extra curvature to my front hood and the impact barely wrinkled the body seam where the spare tire holder attaches to the front chassis. It was a hard hit and my bumper was still in straight, though the chrome bumper was totaled. I was impressed. Thanks Dwayne Moses for the $50 straight front trunk lid and what's his name, also a PCA club racer, who sold me sweet chromed factory steel bumpers with VGC bumper guards for $300. (Dwayne was only doing track events back then, just like me after I rustled my chassis, but he started to race his 911 a year or two later.)

Schump New Reader
11/3/15 9:29 p.m.

Tim, Ed, or editor:

Your caption is misspelled. "The Speedster weighs a meer 2800 pounds." Like a meer cat? Me thinks it's "a mere 2800 pounds." [Just the same, one online dictionary claimed meer is nearly equal to mere, but I've never seen it used in print this way.]

Nice write up, thank you. My favorite magazine never fails to disappoint!

Driven5 Dork
11/3/15 11:09 p.m.

Non-functional roll hoop height aside, the speedster looks absolutely fantastic...And the 16" wheel/tire package on it definitely looks better proportioned than the 17" wheel/tire package on the speedster.

Mitchell UltraDork
11/4/15 12:31 a.m.

The downside of course is that the MX-5's folding top is superb. I love that my NC's top can be flipped down and folded up in a matter of seconds.

The Porsche Spyder's top has great lines, but having to put it down or up would be such a drag.

mr2peak Dork
11/4/15 1:34 a.m.

That Bikibi top is gorgeous

TAParker Reader
11/4/15 10:29 a.m.

Looks awesome.....

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/5/15 4:38 a.m.

The Spyder concept also reminds me of the Porsche Boxter of a few years ago. It made it into production, but obviously at a much higher price-point to justify the limited numbers - following the common P-car theme of charging you more to give you less. Not sure Mazda could do the same.

Both a cool concepts, nonetheless. A ND is still on my short list of a possible new cars within a few years.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/9/15 10:52 a.m.

Actually, both of them are retreads of previous Miata concepts - the Speedster was 1995 and the Spyder was 2011.

There were four ND Miatas at SEMA this year. I'm willing to bet that ours was the only one being driven on public roads this weekend and used for commuting to work today

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