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Mazda planning sub-MX-5 roadster?

by Drew Johnson

The Mazda MX-5 is just about the closest you can get to a modern interpretation of the classic British sports car, but the latest version of the two-seater has stretched its seams a bit. As such, Mazda is reportedly working on a new roadster model to slot beneath the MX-5.

According to Auto Express, Mazda is readying a smaller roadster, tentatively dubbed the MX-2. The MX-2 would slot beneath the MX-5 in both size and price, and would also offer better fuel economy. Since the MX-2 would be lighter than the MX-5, engines ranging from 0.7L to 1.6L would likely be used in the two-door.

Despite its smaller size, the MX-2 won't be a slouch when it comes to performance. Thanks to a turbocharger, the MX-2's largest engine offering will likely develop about 160 horsepower, giving it enough performance to keep up with vehicles costing thousands more.

Style-wise, the MX-2 is tipped to ape some of its design cues from Mazd's Furai concept. That means plenty of swoopy, organic lines and an overall futuristic look.

A concept version of the MX-2 could hit the auto show circuit in the coming months, a production version expected in Mazda showrooms by 2012.