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Mid-engined MPS sportster?

2009-10-15 08:30
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Suzusho
Model Surpasse V
Engine 2.3l turbo
Power 200kW
Torque 380Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Weight 850kg
When you think lightweight mid-engined performance cars, the area of origin is usually Eastern England.

Now it seems a manufacturer from the Far East (Japan to be precise) is awfully keen to unseat the position of Lotus as the world’s pre-eminent lightweight performance car manufacturer.

The company in question is Suzusho, based in Nagoya and managed by Toshio Suzuki. 

Until now Suzusho has primarily specialised in high-quality Lotus 7 replicas – a fact which makes their current prototype car’s Elise-challenging credentials even more peculiar.

Remember the ill-fated Maki F1 team of the 1970s? No, they did not have a sushi sponsor, but the team's erstwhile designer, Kenji Mimura, penned the Supasse V's styling. Think he had a Ferrari in mind when happening upon the rear taillight treatment?

Plenty of Elise design cues...

Suzusho’s offering is called the Surpasse V (you just have to love Japanese product naming semantics) and although the styling is a design quagmire of influences, there seems to be some rather neat engineering underneath.

The Surpasse V is constructed around an aluminium twin-tube monocoque spaceframe featuring double-wishbone suspension at all four wheel corners.

Thanks to the outlandishly styled (or contrived, depends on your point of view) fibreglass surfacing the Surpasse only tallies 850kg of mass, which lines it up nicely to challenge the Lotus Elise…

Scissor doors would not go down well in a simplicity-centred Lotus design universe...

MPS power with rear-wheel drive (finally)

Powering this oddball little performance car is Mazda’s 2.3l double-overhead camshaft geared and turbocharged in-line four. This direct-injection engine is well known to local Mazda MPS owners.

For the Surpasse V application it remains transversely mounted (in front of the aft axle, obviously) and thanks to some mellow tuning, power is boosted to 200kW, with rotational force peaking at 380Nm.

Suffice to say, with only 850kg to burden those outputs, performance should be swift - extremely swift.

It should give the Mazdaspeed engine an opportunity to shine too.

Torque delivery and steering duties have been separated and delegated to individual axles, which should quell much of the MPS engine’s notorious front-wheel drive torque steer characteristics.

Endurance racing steering wheel and stark instrumentation are only renderings for the moment. Production cabin will be unveiled at next week's Tokyo motor show.

Suzusho is due to showcase the Surpasse V at next week’s Tokyo motor show, with promises being made of sales availability early next year.

It remains highly unlikely the car will be exported to any markets outside of Japan – which is a shame, really.

Especially as the Surpasse V has a quintessential Oriental Elise feel to it.


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