Mazda has announced that it will bring a customised version of its all-new CX-5 crossover to Tokyo Auto Salon next month, along with tuned variants of the Mazda2, Mazda3, RX-8 and MX-5.
Tokyo Auto Salon is THE event for fans of Japanese performance cars, and although the CX-5 might not be the most sporting model in its stable, Mazda is keen to capitalise on its own tuner cred by displaying a mildly modified version of its latest CUV.
Mods for the CX-5 are limited to a lower ride height, large-diameter matte black wheels, bigger brakes and an eye-catching red paintjob. No power mods, no lairy sound system.
However at the opposite end of the performance spectrum is the MX-5 Black Tuned-2012, a harder-core version of Mazda's ever-popular roadster that features Brembo brakes, a height-adjustable Bilstein suspension, Recaro seats and BBS alloys.
Sitting alongside the MX-5 Black Tuned-2012 will be the latest MX-5 NR-A Jinba Ittai (above), a club-racer variant that's equipped with Enkei wheels, sticky Bridgestone tyres, Bilstein dampers with 20mm lower springs, Endless brake pads and fixed-back racing seats.
The limited-edition RX-8 Spirit R will command a corner of the Mazda stand. The RX-8's swansong, the Spirit R is a Japan-only special that retains the standard car's rotary powerplant, but adds a set of deeply-bolstered Recaro seats, unique head and tail lamp clusters, Spirit R badging, bronze-coloured alloy wheels, red upholstery and special piano-black interior trim.
With production of the RX-8 winding up, the Spirit R will be the last hurrah for Mazda's only rotary offering. A replacement has not been announced, however a revival of the legendary RX-7 badge has been rumoured.
Mazda's diminutive Mazda2 (or Demio, as it's called in Japan) will also have a presence at Tokyo Auto Salon. Unlike the Mazda2 Turbo concept that debuted at SEMA earlier this year, though, the Tokyo Auto Salon 2's will be milder in nature.
The first Mazda2, the 13-Skyactiv-2012, features extra chrome exterior trim, Alcantara-upholstered seats, headliner, steering wheel, door cards and a-pillars, plus high-gloss interior trim.
The second Mazda2 show car (below) is based on the Japanese-market Smart Stylish edition, and has a lower suspension than standard, BBS wheels and a unique M'z bodykit.
Like the 13-Skyactiv-2012, its enhancements are cosmetic only.
The freshly-updated Mazda3 (Axela in Japan) follows a similar formula. Built around the SP20 Skyactiv, the Mazda3 20S-Skyactiv-2012 show car has a sporty bodykit, BBS alloys, a black leather interior and high-gloss interior trims.
Mazda makes no mention of engine or suspension modifications for the 20S-Skyactiv-2012, so while its appearance suggests links to the Mazda3 MPS, it's probably best that you don't get your hopes up.
The Tokyo Auto Salon begins on January 13. With Japan's automakers starting to rediscover their sporty side, look out for more Auto Salon news in the coming weeks.
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