The opportunities for wrought magnesium products in a wide range of structural and functional materials for transportation, energy generation, energy storage and propulsion are increasing due to their light-weighting benefits, high specific strength and ease of recyclability. However, the current uses of wrought magnesium alloys for structural applications are limited due to comparatively low strength, high yield strength asymmetry and poor formability & superplasticity. In the present work, we developed an ultrafine-grained magnesium alloy with an extraordinary strength and ductility combination, exceptional high specific strength, zero yield strength asymmetry and excellent high strain rate superplasticity. © 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.