Now 25 years young, Mazda has introduced its latest and greatest MX5.
The all-new, fourth-generation MX5 roadster is lighter, roomier and sexier than ever and at $31,990 (+ORC), the 1.5 litre, six speed manual is not only the pick of the litter, it’s a mere $2000 more than the original car, introduced to the world in 1990.
And if the word ‘fun’ appears in your motoring vocabulary, stop reading immediately, grab your wallet, head to your nearest Mazda dealer and join the queue.
I’d lusted for a drive of an MX5 since its launch and many years ago I had my first experience, which didn’t go well. It was small, slow, cramped and frankly I couldn’t wait to get out of it. Like an awkward first date. “Yes, thanks for a lovely night. I’ll call you”. Yeah right.
How things have changed.
Outright power still isn’t the MX5’s thing; the 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine puts out just 96 kilowatts and the torque curve shows there’s not much below 4,000rpm, but when the tacho swings beyond that, it springs to life, its free revving and sweet shifting six-speed manual gearbox a brilliant combination. Icing on the cake comes in the form of perfect 50-50 front/rear weight distribution.
That’s it for the stats, because we all know the MX5 is about the drive, so let’s go.
With a flick of a lever I drop the canvas roof and look up at a cloudless sky. Perfect weather for a spot of wind-in-the-hair motoring and to see if the facts and figures are as alluring behind the wheel, as they are on paper.
After navigating the first few turns, the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes”.
The electric power steering, a first for Mazda, is well-weighted and accurate, making it child’s play to place the MX5 precisely and the slightly soft ride absorbs bumps and dips with polish, with a hint of body roll that makes it predictable and fun.
And the 50-50 weight distribution? Well, it gives the MX5 impeccable road manners; nimble, poised, balanced, a joy to drive.
Whether it is the delights of the top down and a wind in your hair jaunt along a winding road or stuck in the drudge of rush hour, the MX5 never fails to put a smile on your face, just like a puppy.
Inside is bigger, the multi-function steering wheel is perfectly sized, the pedals placed to allow easy heel-and-toe revving on downshifts, the stubby gear lever falls easily into you palm and you sit low in snug sports seats looking over the front guards.
Analogue instruments can be read at a glance, the circular HVAC controls and vents add a neat retro touch and it has a small screen for the MZD Connect infotainment unit. And the roof doesn’t rob the albeit small boot, that’s big enough for a couple of overnight bags.
Roof up or down, the MX5 is a head turner with its sweeping body lines, long bonnet, short boot, cats eye headlamps, alloy wheels and slightly puffed guards.
The overwhelming appeal of the MX5, now in its 25th year doesn’t look like abating with generations of new buyers lining up to discover the joys of the world’s most popular roadster.