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Mazda has today unveiled the fourth in its iconic series of extreme makeovers, a rally-ready Mazda2 Extreme, at the 2008 Melbourne Motor Show.
The Mazda2 Extreme was borne of a simple idea: Take one of Australia's most popular lightweight hatchbacks with a proven pedigree as the driver's choice, add a sizeable dose of adrenalin, pump it full of steroids and … watch out.
The Mazda2 Extreme is the fourth in a stellar line of extreme Mazdas produced by Mazda Motorsport in Australia. It follows in the tyre tracks of the Mazda RX-8 (2004), the original Mazda2 Extreme (2005) and the Mazda3 MPS (2007).
The second-generation Mazda2 has been a runaway success for Mazda since its launch in September 2007, with more than 7,000 sales in just six full months. The Mazda2 Extreme builds on the unchallenged driver's car reputation of this popular five-door hatchback, taking it to a new level of exhilaration.
The engine is still under development however Mazda Motorsport’s goal is to increase the car’s real world performance by at least 20 percent. A three-inch sports exhaust helps airflow from the engine and will ensure the Mazda2 Extreme has the raucous soundtrack it deserves. The standard car's five-speed manual transmission is unchanged, and, like the production version it is based on, drive is delivered to the ground through the front wheels.
The car’s suspension system has been redesigned by Australian suspension tuning expert, Murray Coote, renowned for his work on some of the world’s leading rally and racing cars.
Coote configured a suspension package that tailors the Mazda2's competent on-road skills for the dirt-road intensity of rally competition. Sports-tuned springs and shock absorbers team with purpose-built 15-inch Bridgestone Potenza rally tyres and lightweight Compomotive Motorsport alloy wheels.
The Mazda2 Extreme stands out visually with a striking blue, white and yellow paint scheme that epitomises Mazda's Zoom-Zoom DNA. Black flared wheel arches give the car a more aggressive stance, while four-spot Hella rally lights ensure this is one machine that can see in the dark.
The Mazda2 Extreme's cabin has been prepared for battle; a full PCD roll cage has been installed and the standard Mazda2 front seats replaced with Italian Sabelt race seats each equipped with five-point safety harness. A Momo steering wheel, hydraulic handbrake, fire extinguisher and medical kit complete the internal makeover.
In its current form the Mazda2 Extreme retains its standard braking system. This includes antilock brakes with emergency brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
The end result is a Mazda2 like no other; a Mazda2 Extreme ready to rally.
"This was a surprisingly challenging Extreme car to do," said Mazda Motorsport chief Allan Horsley. "Starting with such an agile car really put the pressure on when it came to improving its real-world abilities."
"I think the result was well worth the effort. This Mazda2 Extreme sits proudly alongside our other Extreme cars like the RX-8 and Mazda3 MPS."
Commenting on the Mazda2 Extreme, Mazda Australia’s managing director Doug Dickson said: "Mazda Australia, under the direction of Allan Horsley, has an excellent reputation for pushing the envelope in the design and modification of cars."
"It seemed an obvious decision to unleash the Extreme beast lurking within our Mazda2 five-door hatchback. The Mazda2's popularity with Australian buyers is at an all-time high. This award-winning light car is selling far above our expectations because it looks good, it represents great value for money, and it’s an enjoyable car to drive."
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