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Mazda answers roadster challenge

Revitalised: Mazda's current MX-5 (above) will make way for a facelifted version in October.

Mazda's popular MX-5 roadster will receive a freshen-up in October

Mazda logo12 Jul 2000

MAZDA will answer the challenge of the imminent Toyota MR2 with a facelifted version of its evergreen MX-5. The updated MX-5, due in October, is expected to carry over the existing car's mechanicals but a few cosmetic revisions will ensure it stands apart visually. Meanwhile, Mazda Australia is still evaluating the feasibility of offering a turbocharged version of the roadster - known as the MX-5 SP (Special Performance). Mazda Australia spokesman Mr Mike Quist says the only obstacle remaining is to ensure the force-fed MX-5 retains the durability of its standard sibling. Although running on relatively light boost pressure of 6psi, the turbocharger is believed to boost power output from 106kW to around 160kW, while torque is increased from 165Nm to well over 250Nm. Given that the MX-5 weighs only just over 1000kg, the SP variant promises sprightly performance. Pricing is tipped to be around the $55,000 mark, well below the Honda S2000's price tag of $68,450. While the MX-5 SP may not have the cachet of the Honda, its performance should be in the same ballpark. Mr Quist suggests its "Q-car" appeal would make it a popular choice with enthusiasts. On a more sedate note, Mazda will launch a facelifted version of the slow selling Eunos 800 around the same time as the updated MX-5 makes its debut. The changes will be limited to minor cosmetic revisions and enhanced equipment levels. Mazda's range will be further supplemented early next year by the Premacy compact people-mover and Tribute off-roader.

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