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SEMA 2016: Mazda MX-5 Miata RF And MX-5 Speedster Concepts Debut In Sin City

LAS VEGAS (November 1, 2016) – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is no stranger to the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, providing its designers the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild to create some truly stunning dream cars. This year proves no different with its two concepts: the lighter, more ruthlessly efficient MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution and the stealth-like MX-5 RF Kuro, based on the 2017 MX-5 RF retractable fastback that will be going on sale early next year in the U.S.

MX-5 Speedster debuted at the 2015 SEMA Show as an ode to the lightweight, frills-free, pure driving experience of 1950s sports cars. Weighing just 2,080 lbs., MX-5 Speedster’s 150-lb. weight loss—an 11-percent reduction versus a stock MX-5 soft top—propelled its performance and elevated the open-air experience for which the roadster is known.

Following last year’s SEMA Show, MX-5 Speedster spent the summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., where it ran the 1.16-mile hill climb. MX-5 Speedster then returned to Mazda Design Americas, where the Irvine, California-based team that created it experimented to see just how much lighter they could make their project. Led by Design Manager Ken Saward, the team extracted what remained underneath its dashboard and replaced its gauges with a digital display. They swapped its Brembo front brakes with the lighter rotors and calipers from the MX-5 Sport and Grand Touring models to further the weight reduction. Its 25.1-lbs. stock battery was replaced with a Braille GreenLite G20 Lithium battery that weighs just 4.5 lbs.

Ultimately, the design team shaved an additional 100 lbs. from the MX-5 Speedster—a total of 350 lbs., or 15 percent from the original MX-5 soft top’s starting weight. Now, it weighs a scant 1,980 lbs.

Painted White Ether, MX-5 Evolution further hones Mazda’s performance heritage, complete with an adjustable suspension from the MX-5 Global Cup racecar and BFGoodrich g-Force Rival R1 grooved racing slick tires, sized 225/45R17—the same model of tire used as the race cars competing in the Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.

“With MX-5 Speedster Evolution, our goal was to further deliver the essence of what MX-5 has represented for the past 27 years—lightweight engineering and pure driving joy,” said Saward, who also owns and races a Spec Miata. “In the future, we might see if there is anywhere else we could take out weight.

Joining MX-5 Speedster Evolution on the Mazda stand is a new concept based on the 2017 MX-5 RF that will be going on sale early next year. Called MX-5 RF Kuro, it is a car that also adopts much of the MX-5 Global Cup technology but in a much more street-focused package. MX-5 RF Kuro also shares its adjustable suspension with the MX-5 Global Cup racecar as well as its Brembo dual-piston front brake calipers. It is painted Satin Black Metallic, a semi-matte black metallic color.

“We wanted to give MX-5 RF Kuro a stealth look to complement its sleek profile, providing subtlety and purpose,” said Saward. “As we move our brand in a direction we call ‘Mazda Premium,’ we want to embrace our longstanding motorsports heritage and reach forward with breathtaking designs like the MX-5 RF.”

Both vehicles were built using parts that Mazda autocross and racecar drivers can purchase via for their MX-5s. Specifications are as follows: 


EXHAUST Racing Beat Custom Center Exit Exhaust
GRAPHICS Sticky Fingers Design
WHEELS RAYS 57 Transcend Gram Lights 17 x 8.5 wheel 40mm offset
TIRES BFGoodrich Rival G force R1 225/45R17
AERO KIT Carbon Fiber Mazda Design Aero Kit
INTERIOR Custom Trim Seats w/Carbon fiber Delta Seat
BRAKES Stock MX-5 Brake package
SUSPENSION Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Adjustable Suspension: Dampers (Multimatic) and Springs (Hyper Coil)
BATTERY Braille Lithium G20 


EXHAUST OpenFlash Performance center exit exhaust (1 lb. lighter; approximately 6-7 horsepower increase)
GRAPHICS Sticky Fingers Design
WHEELS RAYS 17-inch Global MX-5 Cup Wheel
TIRES BFGoodrich Rival G force 215/45R17
CONCEPT COLOR Satin Black Metallic
BRAKES Brembo Dual piston Front calipers (Global MX-5 Cup Brake Setup)
SUSPENSION Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Adjustable Suspension: Dampers (Multimatic ) and Springs (Hyper Coil)

MX-5 Speedster Evolution and MX-5 RF Kuro concepts are on display at the SEMA Show on November 1-4 at the in the Mazda booth, #11647 in the North Hall.

Find additional photos of the MX-5 Speedster Evolution and MX-5 RF Kuro by visiting:

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at

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