A new chapter in MX-5 story
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.