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These are Mazda's delightful MX-5 Speedster and Spyder concepts

Lighter, less roofy versions of rear-drive two-seater head to SEMA show

The SEMA motor show is good for fans of 900bhp Mustangs and curious bodyshop specials.

But this year’s show has yielded some less predictable concepts. Namely a couple of Mazda MX-5s that look even more delightful than standard. Meet, from left to right, the MX-5 Spyder and the MX-5 Speedster.

We’ll start with the Speedster, simply because it’s the one we’re more gagging to drive. It slices nearly 200 kilos from its base car’s kerb weight, tipping the scales at a mere 943kg thanks to its complete lack of roof.

The windscreen, you’ll note, is replaced by a dinky wind deflector, while the doors and seats are made of carbon.

Mazda describes it as “a study in the extremes of lightweight, purpose-built performance,” and the MX-5’s 158bhp 2-litre engine continues service. The ride height is 30mm lower, though, while there are smaller 16in alloy wheels, wrapped in very trackday-biased Kumho tyres.

With its skimpier kerb weight yielding a 168bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio - a 20 per cent improvement on standard - performance ought to be notably sharper. We’ve got our helmets and racing gloves at the ready, Mazda…

Those of a less track-biased disposition are likely to prefer the Spyder, meanwhile, which appears to have taken a leaf from the book of Porsche’s identically suffixed Boxster.

The traditional folding soft-top has been replaced by something Mazda rather teasingly calls a ‘bikini top’. Really.

It looks far faffier to deconstruct than standard, but much prettier to observe, while the interior is a less barren affair than the Speedster, with lots of lovely leather to “capture the character of a vintage roadster”.

The Spyder also uses Mazda’s 2.0 engine, and it comes with adjustable suspension and some rather sticky looking Yokohama tyres, too. It shares a carbon aero body kit with the Speedster, proving it’s little less focused. It’s 100 kilos heavier, but it’s fair to say it’s still a welterweight.

Two slightly different, conceptual takes on the MX-5, then, but we’d rather like to see both make production. But given Mazda didn’t follow through on its old Superlight concept, we shall remain cautious…

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