The Mazda MX-5, the world’s favourite sports car, returns. And this time, Mazda has really nailed it.
The world’s best-selling sports car, the Mazda MX-5, was already synonymous with driving fun. This fourth iteration is also the most powerful model yet. For 2019, Mazda has given its “traditionally peppy-but-not-quick” MX-5 17% more horsepower, says Mark Rechtin on Motor Trend. And while in the old MX-5 “you’d feel the power delivery wane and hear the engine get reedy, not so with the new gen”.
Then again, most folk don’t buy an MX-5 for its power. Rather, “they delight in its handling, which is communicative and direct at up to 80%, then thrillingly (some might say startlingly) tail-happy at the extreme”. In the end, it is the same “lovably annoying” MX-5: “flittery, flighty, wiggly and floppy”.
Other than the engine, Mazda didn’t change much – “it really didn’t need to”, says Chris Perkins on Road & Track. The MX-5 was already one of the best sports cars on the market, regardless of price. With this engine, it is simply better. “You still get steering with real feel, world-class brakes… and a compliant chassis that loves bumpy, cambered back roads.” There is also a new exhaust system, a telescoping steering column, and new trim – GT-S, “essentially a more luxurious Grand Touring model with the stiffer suspension and limited-slip differential of the Club model”.
Nor has there been much change to the tiny cabin, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. “You wear this car like bath water, although the introduction of reach (as well as height) adjustment for the steering is very welcome for taller drivers.” The boot, while minute, will swallow three or four squashy bags. “Above all, however, the MX-5 feels just so direct and connected that it’s hard not to be having a good time even when you’re driving to work.” It’s quite simply “the best sports car for the money in the world, full stop”, says Motor Trend’s Scott Evans. “They nailed it.”
Price: from £18,999; Power: 181bhp @ 4,400rpm, 151lb ft @ 4,000rpm; Top speed: 136mph; 0-62mph: 6.5 secs; Fuel economy: 40.9mpg/33.6 EU Combined/Urban; CO2 emissions: 156g/km