Mazda sold more than one million MX-5s in 27 years. Making it the world’s best-selling roadster by far. I bought one of the very first ones in 1990. A week in the fourth generation model turned into a trip down memory lane.
It’s a new beginning, but also at the same time a return to the roots. The first MX-5 was introduced in 1989. I happened to be in the States, riding a Harley-Davidson on Route 66, when I stumbled across it for the first time. At a car rental station. A red Mazda MX-5 Miata. I parked the bike and rented the stunning roadster for a day. And I was hooked. I bought one shortly after returning back to Germany. In silver. In 1994 the car followed me to South Africa. Where I unfortunately had to sell it to build my first house. If anybody knows a left-hand drive 1990 silver MX-5 with a colourful Momo steering wheel, let me know. It is most probably my old car.
But back to the new one. While it’s two predecessors gained weight and size, the 2016 model is ten centimeters shorter. And lighter. Mazda seems to be thinking, that honesty is the best policy. Front/mid engine, rear-wheel drive and low seating position result in pure driving fun. Just like in the first one. The car is as light as it used to be, but with a much more potent power plant. Acceleration and top speed are not breathtaking, but that doesn’t count in a car like this. It sounds and feels fast enough. The steering is precise, the six gear box shifts crisply and the sound is on a deep note.
In the looks department there is a huge departure from the first one. The newest MX-5 looks much more aggressive and muscular. The manual roof opens and closes in 3 to 4 seconds without any problems. What I didn’t have in my old one (and didn’t miss then) are new gimmicks, such as push button engine start, key less entry, seat heating, daytime running lights, hill assist and a 7-inch touch screen display.
The newest edition of the iconic MX-5 is retaining the original roadster feel and is still an affordable, refreshingly uncomplicated minimalistic two-seater with a retro touch.
Engine 2.0-l. 4 cyl. paired with a 6-speed manual
Power 118kW and 200Nm
Top Speed 214 km/h
0-100km/h 7.3 seconds
Price from R437 300