2016 Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution

2016 mazda mx-5 speedster evolution – DOC692786

At the 2015 SEMA Show, Mazda wowed the MX-5 Miata fanbase with the Speedster Concept. Essentially a barchetta-style interpretation of the roadster, the Speedster Concept also showcased a more aggressive exterior and performance-enhancing chassis components on top of being significantly lighter than the standard MX-5. The vehicle was a hit with Miata enthusiasts, but the Speedster never made it into production, Mazda instead opting to launch the targa-roof RF model. A year has passed since the Speedster Concept made its official debut and it appears that Mazda didn’t quite abandon the idea, creating an improved version for the 2016 SEMA Show.

Dubbed MX-5 Speedster Evolution, the new concept is exactly what the name describes: a revised variant of the previous barchetta-style Miata. This isn’t evident at first glance though, as Mazda focused on weight-reducing measures rather than adding new features inside and out. The Japanese firm says that the new concept was inspired by the MX-5 Global Cup race car, which explains why it’s the lightest iteration of the current-generation Miata.

Although Mazda has yet to provide information as to what upgrades it used in order to shave more weight, the brand did say that the Speedster Evolution weighs in at less than 2,000 pounds and that is its about 350 pounds lighter than the standard roadster. Needless to say, this is pretty impressive for a road-going MX-5 and an exciting prospect as far as future production models go.

Exterior

The exterior of the Speedster Evolution is almost identical to the original Speedster concept and includes nearly all the features that Mazda showcased at the 2015 SEMA Show. Highlights include the more muscular bumper with the missing grille mesh and revised splitter, the new diffuser with center-mounted exhaust, race-inspired side skirts, and more importantly, the barchetta-style windscreen and rollover hoops behind the seats.

Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution

Mazda MX-5 Speedster Concept

Setting it apart from the original concept is the White Ether paint.

Setting it apart from the original concept is the White Ether paint instead of the Blue Ether color, the missing “05” decals on the front fenders, the body-colored windscreen, and new wheels. The latter feature an eight-spoke design instead of the previous multi-spoke layout and ditched the Kumho Ecsta tires in favor of BF Goodrich rubber.

Interior

Mazda MX-5 Speedster Concept

Mazda had nothing to say about the interior and has yet to provide pictures, but it’s safe to assume it is identical to the original Speedster concept. If so, the Speedster Evolution should feature bespoke carbon-fiber seats by Mu-Len Delta Seat , a bespoke “Mazda Design” emblem on the dashboard, and a “Speedster” badge behind the rollover hoops. Additionally, black Alcantara gives the interior a more race-inspired look. Other than that, the Speedster Evolution is pretty much a standard MX-5 without a roof.

Drivetrain

The Evolution is 100 pounds lighter than the first Speedster and 350 pounds lighter than the standard MX-5.

There’s no word on drivetrain either, but we know for a fact that the first Speedster concept has the standard U.S.-spec Miata engine under the hood. Thus it’s safe to assume the Speedster Evolution comes with the same 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G engine that cranks out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. I know some of you are disappointed that there are no updates in the output department, but bear in mind that the Evolution is 100 pounds lighter than the first Speedster concept and no fewer than 350 pounds lighter than the standard MX-5 Miata. As a result, it should be significantly quicker from 0 to 60 mph, a benchmark it is likely to achieve in around 6.2 seconds. For reference, the standard MX-5 needs 6.5 ticks to hit that speed.

The oomph likely routes to the rear wheels through a six-seed manual transmission, but the big question here is whether the Evolution carries over with the same chassis updates as the previous concept. Last year’s vehicle came with an adjustable coilover suspension from K&W, race-spec springs from H&R, and four-piston Brembo calipers with vented rotors, all of which turned the standard Miata into a more track-oriented car.

Conclusion

I remember that I was pretty impressed with the MX-5 Speedster concept, simply because Mazda took an already cool roadster and gave it the race-inspired barchetta treatment, alongside a handful of sporty exterior features and an enhanced chassis. The Speedster Evolution is my new favorite, despite not being a fan of the new white paint job and the missing decals. What I like most about it the fact that Mazda managed to reduce curb weight with another 100 pounds, essentially making the first road-legal Miata that tips the scales at under 2,000 pounds. This concept could open the door to an impressive lightweight MX-5 in the future and my fingers are crossed that the Japanese brand chooses the Speedster as its next limited-edition version of the Miata.

LOVE IT

  • Significantly lighter than previous concept
  • Barchetta-style body gives it a sexy, race-ready appearance
  • Numerous performance-enhancing updates

LEAVE IT

  • Just a concept for now
  • Standard MX-5 engine

Press Release

Always mixing performance and polish, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is offering a glimpse of its 2016 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) concept cars ahead of their formal debut. Borrowing style and speed from the Mazda MX-5 Global Cup racecar, as well as elevating Mazda’s iconic and lightweight sports car with premium details, are the MX-5 Speedster and MX-5 RF Kuro concepts.

Mazda first introduced the MX-5 Speedster to the world at the 2015 SEMA show, taking the base car’s lightweight ethos to a new level. For this year’s show, Mazda’s design team took a big step forward, creating the Evolution, painted White Ether, taking the concept a step further with more than 100 lbs. removed from last year. Now just under 2,000 lbs., MX-5 Speedster Evolution is approximately 350 lbs. lighter than a stock MX-5 soft top.

Mazda also is displaying the MX-5 RF Kuro concept, based on the 2017 MX-5 Retractable Fastback that will be on sale early next year. MX-5 RF Kuro is painted in a semi-matte metallic concept color developed in-house called “Kuro,” which means “charcoal” in Japanese. It rides on 17×7.5-inch RAYS forged wheels, 215/45R17 BF Goodrich Rival G-Force tires and the adjustable suspension from the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich.

Both concepts were conceived by Mazda Design Americas to showcase contrasting directions that create a “Mazda Premium” experience while paying homage to Mazda’s performance heritage. They were designed and built in-house by Mazda’s Design team in Irvine, California.

MX-5 Speedster Evolution and MX-5 RF Kuro concepts will be on display at the SEMA Show on November 1-4 in the Mazda booth, #11647, in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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