Mazda MX-5 GT roadster, more Zoom, Zoom

In Car Reviews, Mazda by Neil Lyndon

On the first day of Christmas, Mazda’s press office sent to me a brand new Mazda6 estate in Soul Red Crystal metallic paint.

On the second day of Christmas, Mazda’s press office sent to me the new two-litre MX-5 GT Sport Nav+ with 184 ps in Soul Red Crystal metallic paint.

After those twin treasures, anything my loving family put in my stocking for the next 10 days of Christmas was bound to be a bit of a let-down.

Any household with one Mazda should consider itself fortunate. A household with two Mazdas on the drive, however, should consider itself among the blessed of the earth. The combination of the new Mazda6 estate and the MX-5 would be a dream for any family. One of the parents is lucky enough to drive the kids to school in the scintillating estate while the other gets to howl around the long way to work in the MX-5. That sumptuous prospect might be enough to turn Gandhi into a materialist.

The New Mazda6 has already been the subject of praise in on Drive.co.uk and the MX-5 receives adulation here about as frequently as a Muslim turns towards Mecca.

Little remains to be added so far as the state is concerned but I could write a chapter as long as the Koran about the MX-5.

The wonder is that, when they decided to squeeze an extra 700rpm and 23 bhp out of their existing two-litre SKYACTIV engine, Mazda’s engineers needed to do nothing at all to the chassis set-up to accommodate that extra power. A limited slip differential continues to be fitted as standard on all 2.0-litre models as is uprated Bilstein suspension.

So obsessed with engineering is this company that you can be sure that, if anything had needed to be tweaked in the chassis, they would have had two thousand boffins crawling all over the problem – as witness the changes they made to the engine.

You name it, they did it: lighter pistons and con-rods, stiffer crankshaft, revised camshafts, valves, ports, piston rings, a new dual-mass flywheel, fuel injection, throttle body, air intake and exhaust. The result of all this meticulous effort is an utterly gorgeous, creamy raucous engine that now screams up to its redlines at 7500rpm rather than 6800 and produces 181bhp instead of 158. The shove of peak torque continues all the way towards the top of that rev range – which we were careful to explore in the cause of fair reporting.

Heavens, what a difference these changes make! It’s almost hairy.

The rear-wheel-drive dynamics of the lightweight MX-5 have always made it a joy to drive at legal speeds but the extra powers of the new set-up make it, by a street, the best mass-produced car to drive in existence. Nothing but a Caterham, an Ariel Atom or a KTM comes close to the MX-5’s fleet-footed, foxtrot nimbleness and its stunning power out of a corner. In the past, you could always take liberties with an MX-5 because it was never going to bite you but this version has so much juice going to the rear axle that you might find yourself calling on the powers of the electronic stability control frighteningly frequently if you’re not careful.

Most surprisingly of all, this MX-5 finally makes sense of and fully justifies one of Mazda’s most asinine marketing devices.

My 16-year-old daughter really did exclaim “Zoom-Zoom!” as we turned into the road outside our house and I administered a big belt of gas to the MX-5 through the throttle pedal.

I was so startled by those words, I nearly stopped the car.

“What did you say?” I demanded.

“Um, zoom-zoom,” she replied, in more uncertain tones.

“Do you know that ‘zoom-zoom’ was a marketing slogan of Mazda’s for many years?”

“How am I supposed to know that?” she said, scathingly. “Is this a Mazda?”

This girl is so ignorant about cars that she would have believed me if I had told her she was travelling in a Zil. It was as if somebody had lifted a forkful of meat to their mouth and sighed “Aaaah, Bisto!”.

That’s how good the MX-5 is. It even brings advertising bullshit to life.


Car reviewed: Mazda MX-5 GT Roadster 184ps Sport Nav+ On the road £27,225 0-62mph 6.5secs Top speed 136mph Fuel Economy combined 40.9mpg CO2 emissions 156g/km Engine 1998cc 4-cylinder EU6 Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed manual

Watch what the others say on Youtube…

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Neil Lyndon

Motoring Correspondent

Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK’s national stage for 40 years, writing for every “quality” newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 – the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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