For the love of driving
Mazda’s latest roadster even closer to delivering an intuitive ride, like a horse
THERE is a reason why the previous three models of Mazda’s MX5 went on to become the world’s most popular roadster.
Mazda’s marketing material calls it Jinba Ittai — Japanese for the relationship between a good horse and its rider. We call it an intuitive ride. Other motoring hacks simply say the little MX5 has soul.
Whatever this elusive element is, it has helped to shift these Mazda sportscars in numbers for the past 25 years, leaving other, arguably better sportscars from Japan far behind, stuck on the showroom floor.
Talking of showrooms, since Mazda and Ford agreed to separate in South Africa, the MX5 is now available at 45 Mazda dealers across the country, and Mazda in Pietermaritzburg is keen to show you how the group’s Skyactiv Technology performs in this little roadster.
Enthusiastic drivers can look forward to especially tuned engines and transmission adapted for the front-mid engine, rearwheel drive layout, ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution with shorter overhangs, a low yaw inertia moment and the lowest centre of gravity yet as well as the redesigned chassis that will improve the MX5’s already legendary agility.
The Skyactiv tech really delivers linear pull from a standstill to redline along with outstanding real-world fuel economy in all Mazda models.
The best part of the Skyactiv tech is that it uses Mazda’s version of stratified injection with dual sequential valve timing, multi-hole injectors and special piston cavities to ensure fuel and spark meet at high pressure (13:1) and at precisely the right moment to ensure efficient and effective combustion that requires no turbo to blow in extra air or higher octane to limit knock.
A lighter and more compact intake and exhaust systems also squeezes the most from the engine by enhancing torque, and it does not sound half bad either.
Only one model goes on sale in South Africa, the 2.0 petrol engine that is specially tuned to make 118 kW at 6 000 rpm and 200 Nm at 4 600 rpm. A sixspeed manual transmission sends power to the rear.
The new engine is eight kilograms lighter than the 2.0-litre engine for the previous model, delivering quicker acceleration and a combined fuel economy of 6,7 litres per 100 km.
The engine adopts an aluminum head cover that harkens back to the first- and secondgeneration models.
Adopting a thinner material while maintaining NVH performance, the new head cover minimises the amount of weight increase and present functional beauty in the engine compartment.
David Hughes, managing director of Mazda Southern Africa, said this is the most compact MX5 yet, but the inside has not been stripped out to save weight.
There is a heads-up cockpit concept with stylish analogue gauges and a seven-inch display located on the dash for easy viewing of infotainment and communication-related information, including the group’s MZD Connect smartphone connectivity system, which is operated using the rotary commander or voice command.
A nine-speaker premium sound system is paired with a high-efficiency seven-channel hybrid amplifier to deliver clear sound.
A three-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty with roadside assistance and a service plan are included with the price of R389 800.
Going back to its roots, the new MX5 is the most compact Mazda roadster yet.