Few could have predicted just how successful the Mazda MX-5 would become when it debuted in 1989.
Four generations later and the MX-5 is the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster ever, with more than 1.1 million produced since.
This year also marks 30 years of the Mazda MX-5, with the Japanese manufacturer revealing a special edition to help celebrate – a common trait throughout this car’s lifetime. So what better time to get behind the wheel of the MX-5?
Here’s everything you need to know about the iconic two-seater.
Which bodystyles can you get?
The Mazda has always been offered as a two-seat convertible with a manual-folding hood, with a removable hard top available on selected models.
However, with the latest version Mazda has introduced a folding hardtop – known as the RF, or ‘Retractable Fastback’. The electric-folding metal roof can be lowered in 13 seconds, which can come in handy should the weather take a turn for the worst. It is also slightly more practical and reduces wind noise, too.
What engines are available?
Mazda offers the choice of two petrol engines on the MX-5.
The range starts with a back-to-basics 1.5-litre petrol engine, which produces 130bhp and 152Nm of torque. It might not sound a lot by modern standards, but it’s a hark back to the original ‘80s car. It allows for a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 127mph (8.5 seconds and 126mph for the RF). It should also prove to be cheap to run, returning a claimed 44.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 138g/km.
The second unit is a far more powerful 2.0-litre unit, which develops 181bhp and 205Nm of torque. This version can sprint from 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds from 0-60mph and hit a top speed of 136mph. The RF is 0.2 seconds slower to 60mph.
Both engines come as standard with a rear-wheel-drive setup and a six-speed manual gearbox, although the 2.0-litre unit is available with an automatic gearbox. We would advise staying clear of it unless you need it, purely because it numbs performance.
What trim levels are offered?
Mazda offers five trim levels on the MX-5, with the equipment highlights as follows
SE+ - from £19,495
Leather steering wheel, remote locking, air-conditioning, LED headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels
SE-L Nav+ - from £21,295, £23,095 (RF)
This adds LED daytime running lights, a seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and Bluetooth, cruise control and climate control
Sport Nav+ - from £23,595, £25,395 (RF)
This grade includes 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, automatic lights and wipers, leather seats, keyless entry and a host of safety kit – including autonomous emergency braking, a driver attention alert and lane departure warning
GT Sport Nav+ - from £26,095, £28,095 (RF)
This high spec version brings sand-coloured leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and stainless-steel scuff plates
30thAnniversary - £28,095, £29,895 (RF)
This range-topping limited edition comes painted in ‘Racing Orange’ with 17-inch Rays alloy wheels, a gloss black styling kit, leather and Alcantara seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
What about personalisation?
There are plenty of options to personalise the MX-5, starting with the colours. Bold hues such as Eternal Mica Blue and Soul Red Crystal (Mazda’s trademark colour) are both fantastic shades, while more reserved colours are available.
The firm has recently introduced two new design packs to the range, too, including The Cup Pack, which adds Eibach springs, along with a sportier-sounding exhaust.
A Design Pack incorporates the Cup pack and adds BBS alloy wheels, a black aero kit and a subtle boot spoiler, which extends the car’s appeal further.