Thursday, 1 August 2013

Mazda Roadster MPS Concept

Mazda Performance Series
Prior to the arrival of the Roadster Turbo model, Mazda showed the world what a more performance oriented version of the NB roadster could look like. An early version of the Roadster MPS concept was on show at the 2001 Tokyo Auto Salon. Painted in a stunning yellow mica and fitted with a unique hardtop, the early MPS featured a new design for the front bumper that was also used as the basis for the NB2 optional front airdam. There were also new design side skirts, headlamp trims, wheel arch extensions, 17" alloy wheels, MPS wing badges, and a GT-style rear wing.

The original MPS

The following October, another version of the MPS debuted at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. This new MPS concept was painted Velocity Red Mica and was given a restyled front end. The new look featured unique individual headlights along with revised air intakes. The main grille opening was larger for improved cooling air flow, and there was also an integrated intake hole higher up. This intake fed a special enclosed intake manifold for the four individual throttle bodies. The MPS used the BP-VE S-VT engine modified to 2000cc, and producing 200PS and 190Nm, quite an increase from the regular car.

The vents in the front wings were intended to reduce build up of air pressure and front end lift at speed. The rear bumper featured a cut out for the centre exit exhaust as well as vents from the wheel arches. The side skirts were slightly different from the yellow car and the GT wing was removed in favour of a smaller lip spoiler.
To cope with the extra power the car was fitted with a 4-pot brake conversion which used 314mm ventilated discs. The car also had a hub conversion to use 5 PCD 17" x 7 wheels and 215/40/17 tyres. The car had a wider stance of +50mm at the front and +60mm at the rear, hence the enlarged arches. For handling improvements there was additional chassis bracing and upgraded monotube dampers.

For the 2002 Auto Salon, another new version of the MPS was on display. This one was referred to as the MPS Clubman and was finished in Sunlight Silver. The 2002 car's specification was different to the previous year's. This time the car used the older BP-ZE engine again fitted with individual throttles and was rated at 185PS, it was also fitted with a 4 point roll bar, 6 spoke OZ gunmetal alloys, and NB1 tail lights.
With the imminent arrival of the 3rd generation NC model in 2005, the MPS model never made it to production. It was a useful marketing exercise to gauge reaction to a performance model, and likely informed the development of the Mazdaspeed turbo model which appeared shortly afterwards. The unique exterior looks of the MPS concept lived on after Japanese tuning company D-Technique adapted it into their TD-1001R conversion.