For over 25 years the Mazda MX-5 has been the most accessible means to get into something with its priorities right. Ok, so it isn’t the most powerful sports car out there, but it is one of the most capable in terms of putting a smile on your face. From MK1 to MK3 this two seater drop-top has connected the driver to the road via a communicative and well balanced platform. Anyone who throws a “hairdresser” comment in its direction has clearly never driven one. Whilst this all-new MK4 car promises to preserve that character first instilled in the Mk1, can Mazda recreate that delicious recipe we crave? The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is your answer to that question.
100KG lighter than its predecessor and not as large proportionally, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is one of those designs that looks fresh whilst recognisably a car from the MX-5 family tree. Visually it is more dynamic at the front with a creased bonnet and raked headlights. However, let your eyes follow the bodywork around to the rear and short overhangs remind you where this model stems from. Those tail lights actually feature a pattern very similar to the very first MX-5. Deploy the new cars roof, now just one easy motion, and it is evident that the designers aim was to make it as attractive come rain or shine.
Inside you sit snug with the car wrapping around you. This feeling is emphasised with the external colour flowing onto the top of its door trims. Again, to any MX-5 owner everything feels new but familiar. A slick six speed manual transmission falls to hand whilst three pronged steering wheel is aimed at your chest. Mazda’s brilliant new infotainment system sits front an centre bringing you navigation, DAB radio, and access to social media.
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 comes in two flavours, both offering a slightly different proposition. The entry-level 1.5 litre model might not offer the power or mid-range torque of the 2.0 litre, but it is a joy to rev the nuts of and is arguably more involving to that end. The larger capacity engine means that strong overtakes don’t necessarily require you to drop a gear, as much fun as that is, but instead you can make good progress with a firm prod of the throttle. New dampers and a limited slip differential also find their way into the 2.0 litre car. That last feature also means that the more powerful MX-5 is the one to pick if you want to torture some rubber. Overall the handling in both cars is beautifully nimble with direct steering that responds to the smallest inputs. Brake feel is another highlight.
Clicking through that rifle bolt gearbox and pipping the ace on each apex is immensely satisfying. It is very clear that Mazda are onto another winner with this 2016 Mazda MX-5. We can not wait to spend more time with it and bring you our full verdict.