By Patrick Olsen on Tue Nov 01 22:16:11 GMT-06:00 2011
Mazda rolled out a Spyder version of its iconic MX-5 Miata at SEMA, and while it’s clear that this is only a concept, Mazda says some elements may be used in future production cars.
The idea behind this Spyder is to turn a Miata into a lightweight racer that you can drive to the track on a sustainable fuel.
In the front, you immediately notice the Mazda “smile” is a little different. A black bar across the top of the grille disrupts the regular “smiley” face you get on the production version. Two aero humps adorn the rear of the car, nearly identical to the Porsche Boxster Spyder.A canvas-covered hardtop connects to the trunk through two strong canvas straps. It looks similar to the Boxster Spyder's top, too, and while the windows weren't up, we expect they are covered by the roof's overhang in a similar manner to the Porsche.
Inside, it’s tight. Really tight. Senior Editor Eric Rossi, who’s 5-foot-7, climbed in, and his hair rubbed the roof. Despite the small interior, there were several nice touches, like the white trim on the dashboard, custom floormats and unique seats and door inserts.
One thing you’d definitely notice from the driver’s seat is how little you can see out the back. With the roofline the way it is and the raised area behind the seats, you’d best have a good idea of what’s going on around you via the car’s side mirrors.
On the engine front, Mazda says this concept runs on isobutanol, which is like ethanol in that it’s made from natural material as well. Here’s how Mazda puts it:
“Although similar to how ethanol is produced from agricultural feedstock, isobutanol does not compromise vehicle performance for the sake of fuel economy,” the press release says, “and can be added to the current fuel distribution infrastructure without requiring modifications in blending facilities, storage tanks and retail station pumps. Isobutanol's compatibility with existing technology and infrastructures is a significant step toward meeting the demand in renewable fuels for transportation.”
The Spyder gets 17-inch gunmetal metallic alloy wheels and a great-looking paint job called Stratosphere White, which is stunning on the show floor. Check out the pictures below.
Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen was born and raised in California. He loves pickup trucks and drivers who pay attention. Email Patrick