Mike Stevens | Jun 2, 2012


Mazda's 'NC' MX-5 is nearing the end of its life cycle, and speculation is rife on what the next model will deliver.

For its part, Mazda has promised a platform that will remain loyal to the original "Jinba ittai" formula, focusing on a lightweight build, moderate power and segment-leading handling.

While the small roadster has always stayed true to tradition, Mazda has shown in the past that it isn't averse to the odd dose of forced induction.

Its new Yusho prototype, revealed at this week's Leipzig Auto Mobil International Show (AMI) in Germany, proves the point.

From the outside, the intentions of the Yusho - Japanese for "victory" - are clear. Sitting on lowered suspension and wide 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in semi-slicks, this factory customised MX-5 looks the business.

Under the bonnet, the Yusho backs up its looks with a supercharger-packing version of its 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, boosting output to a relatively massive 177kW and 274Nm of torque - up from 118kW and 188Nm.

Helping the supercharger get the most out of the MZR engine are new fuel injectors and metal sport catalysts, and power is sent to the rear hoops through a strengthened transmission package.

The all-important performance figures haven't been released, but with the regular model shuffling to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds, we can likely expect this example to hit a sub-seven-second century.

While these sorts of enhancements aren't unusual in the aftermarket world, it's something else to see the brand's own team put it together.

What can we expect from the all-new model? A Skyactiv engine is assured, and forced induction is unlikely - but for the rest, only time will tell.


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