A new chap­ter in MX-5 story

Halifax Courier - - Classifieds - By david pick­ers­gill

With ap­proach­ing a mil­lion MX-5s sold world­wide since 1989 and more than 120,000 in the UK alone, it’s been dubbed the world’s favourite road­ster.

There have been so many rave re­views of the latest ver­sion since it was re­leased to mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists in the spring that I’m not sure what I can add.

Per­haps I should just say “they’re quite right, you know” and leave it at that.

How­ever, two fun- filled days at the wheel of Mk4 ver­sion of the MX-5 (which goes on sale this week­end) left me so smit­ten with the sports two-seater that I need to share it with some­one – so here goes…

The new car is a lit­tle shorter and lower than its pre­de­ces­sor but, look­ing out from its com­pact cock­pit, it gives the im­pres­sion of be­ing a much big­ger ve­hi­cle, with very prom­i­nent front wheel arch bulges and a long bon­net.

Ex­ter­nally, the most ob­vi­ous changes from the Mk3 are the nar­rower head­lights and a smoothed down pro­file: it’s sleeker but re­tains that clas­sic road­ster look in spades.

In­side, you’re seated closer to the floor with just enough room for my 6ft frame, though I found my head just touch­ing the can­vas with the top up and my left leg catch­ing the off-cen­tre hand­brake. An ad­justable steer­ing col­umn was a no­table ab­sen­tee.

There are two en­gines avail­able: 1.5-litre (129bhp) and 2.0-litre (159bhp), both with more power than the 1.8 and 2.0 units they re­place.

Rev the 1.5 en­gine to­ward its 7,000rpm red line and you get a pur­pose­ful purr from the ex­haust while the 2.0 sports more of a growl; both are matched to a su­perb short-throw six-speed gear­box.

De­spite the of­ten soaked roads dur­ing our test drive, the MX-5 proved to be a su­perbly sure-footed drive.

While the big­ger en­gine ob­vi­ously of­fers more in the way of ac­cel­er­a­tion and over­tak­ing po­ten­tial, I wasn’t the only one to think the 1.5-en­gined car shaded it on agility.

A nice touch is re­vealed be­neath the bon­net where, in­stead of hid­ing be­neath an ar­ray of plas­tic cas­ings, the en­gine and as­so­ci­ated com­po­nents are left ex­posed in true old-school style.

Prices for the new MX5 start at £18,495 which, we were told, is a mere fiver more than the Mk3 and only £3,750 more than the Mk1 sold for 25 years ago.

Fun with a cap­i­tal ‘F’ and value with a cap­i­tal ‘V’, then. Ex­pect the MX-5 suc­cess story to add another chap­ter.

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