The Mazda MX-5, or Miata as it was once called, has been around for a quarter of a century. Mazda decided to celebrate this achievement by creating 1000 examples of a special edition MX-5.
Performance – This special edition version has the “same” 2.0L engine that is found in the standard MX-5 and it produces 167hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The reason why I say “same” in quotation is because while the parts may be the same, Mazda chose the best of the best parts from the production line that closely matched their nominal tolerances and specifications. So while Mazda claims 167hp from this engine, in theory it could be a bit more than that. Obviously with that amount of power it’s not going to be winning any drag races but somehow it feels like it’s faster in a straight line than the more powerful Scion FRS. This is due in part to the short ratio gearbox that has a very lovely mechanical feel when shifting gears and the fact that the MX-5 is almost 100kg lighter despite being a convertible with a folding hardtop roof.
The lack of weight also has other benefits such as a respectable 8.4L/100km fuel efficiency rating on a highway and 11.1L/100km in a city. However, best of all is the way that this little roadster handles. The steering feel is perfect whether you’re parking the car to driving on a long boring highway to aggressively taking corners on a mountain road. You can feel every little imperfection in the road that you’re on through the steering wheel and you never have to guess how much grip the front tires have or don’t have. Speaking of grip, the Bridgestone Potenza tires that are original equipment on this MX-5 provide A LOT more grip than the Michelin tires that are original equipment on the Scion FRS. Around a race track, despite the MX-5’s lower power figure, I do believe that the MX-5 would be faster than the FRS. It doesn’t matter what environment the MX-5 is in because it performs brilliantly in all of them… except for maybe a heavy snow storm, in that case no small rear-wheel-drive sports car would do well.
Comfort – This 25th anniversary edition has few special touches that other normal production MX-5’s do not have such as a black and white leather cabin with contrasting red stitching. The design is simplistic and there are very few options to choose from. It has the standard features such as A/C, cruise control, and a modern Bluetooth stereo system but don’t expect to find a navigation system. Honestly I don’t mind not having a satellite navigation system because it would be a distraction and take away from the joys of driving this sports car. Another thing that you will struggle to find in this car is space. While there is enough headroom, just, taller drivers will find leg room to be a bit cramped and trunk space is… let me put it this way, a standard carry-on luggage would be the one and only piece of luggage that would fit in the trunk.
The MX-5 does have one good thing going for it in terms of occupant comfort and that is the ride quality. When you’re carving through canyon roads, the suspension provides you with the confidence to go through the corner at a very high rate of speed but when you just want to relax and drive through city streets, it feels soft and supple.
Odds and Ends – While most 2 seat roadsters come with a conventional cloth roof, as does the base model of the MX-5, this 25th anniversary edition is available with a metal folding hard top. The hardtop makes a big difference compared to the soft top because in the hardtop you feel more isolated from the outside world. It is a bit quieter and thus making the cabin a more relaxing and comfortable place to be in.
There is however one major drawback to the MX-5 and that is its price. It starts at $29,500 CAD for the base model and this GT equipped anniversary edition is approximately $40,000 CAD. Now the GT price is $10,000 less than its rivals from Audi and BMW but the base price is almost $3,000 more than the “it” sports car of the moment, the Scion FRS.
Thank you to West Coast Mazda for providing the vehicle and visit their website to view this and other vehicles that are available for purchase or lease. www.WestCoastMazda.com
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.