Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: June 8, 2016
We last left off where I stated on record that I disliked Miatas, then after a weeklong test drive with the fourth-generation ND MX-5, I came off rather impressed and gave it two thumbs up. Now to further solidify my opinion about the world’s best selling roadster, I’ve been given a little more seat time behind the priciest and sportiest variant, the MX-5 GS loaded up with the new $4,400 Sport Package.
What this little piece of kit gets you is 17-inch BBS forged alloy wheels in a dark finish, Brembo front brakes, red painted front and rear brake calipers, and Recaro heated sport seats with a leather and Alcantara trim. While the upgrade is hardly going to change the MX-5’s underlying driving dynamics, it does give the car some extra sporty aesthetics.
Draped in a Meteor Grey Mica paint with black canvas top, the MX-5 looks downright sinister, which can’t really be said about the bubblier red MX-5 that we had last year. Regardless of the paint, Mazda has done a stellar job injecting the MX-5 with a higher ratio of testosterone over estrogen. The design looks manlier, less girly, and those sexy BBS wheels are to die for.
But let’s talk about why I was so skeptical about the MX-5 at first. It’s a small, cramped, and claustrophobic roadster, and you don’t really “hop” into the MX-5 either, you sorta, fall in. Worst of all, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder found under the hood only makes a measly 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. “What gives?” I thought to myself.
On paper, things didn’t look too good. The interior, though larger than before, feels snug and cozy, but with the top up it feels more like a sarcophagus. The cupholders are positioned right where your elbows rest, so a slight nudge will launch your pumpkin spice latte up into the stratosphere. Storage options are limited: there is no passenger side glovebox, only a vertical box between the seats and a few tiny alcoves in the center console. By the way, doesn’t the steering wheel cap in the middle looks like an oversized Rockets candy. I digress.
“How could this be the world’s best selling roadster?” I asked my colleagues. After a few heated debates filled with expletives and nasty words, they forced me to buckle up inside the MX-5 and go for a drive.
While my time with the MX-5 last year wasn’t some revelating time warp through heaven’s gates, it was a rather big eye-opener. Mazda knows that power isn’t everything, so they didn’t try to cram a big turbocharged engine under the hood. Instead they kept things light, and squeezed out the right amount of horsepower to keep this featherweight from diving into illegal speed realms.
They also tried to place the engine as close to the center of the car as possible, to benefit handling and offer a perfect 50:50 front and rear weight distribution. Mazda also appreciates lightweighting. Hence that’s why the MX-5 has no back seats, and no room for golf clubs. They tried to keep the MX-5 as light as possible, and ended up with a curb weight of 1,058 kg that seems to defy the laws of gravity. Matched with a more than capable sports suspension with Bilstein shocks and a limited slip differential, and the MX-5 seriously handles like nothing else on the market.
And that’s what the MX-5 is all about: handling. All I’ve been doing this week was carving corners at the brink of the speed limit, and wagging that tail out without even breaking a sweat. The MX-5 is so controllable, so predictable, and so graceful. It instills such a huge volume of confidence in the driver that the MX-5 makes you feel like you tackle any famous racetrack around the world and set a few records.
Better yet, it’s a convertible too. So when the sun escapes the clouds and the beams of Vitamin D are scorching the Earth, feel free to pop open that canvas roof and let your skin soak it all up.
How about that new Sports Package? Yeah if you’ve got the extra cash lying around, why not make your MX-5 stand out a bit more. I’m not sure if those bigger Brembos have more bite than the standard ones; I didn’t notice a terrible difference, and if I recall correctly, the standard ones were just as good. The Recaros hug your body more than the regular seats, but I’m not sure if that’s something you want from an already cramped roadster. Those BBS wheels are a steal though.
The MX-5 the everyman’s sports car. The engine revs purely and freely, and the drive is just phenomenal. The new MX-5 is the one that won’t deplete your entire savings account, and won’t scare you with near-death experiences. Time and time again, I’ve learned that the MX-5 impresses not on paper, but on the road.
型号 Model: 2016 Mazda MX-5 GS Sport Package
顏色 Paint Type: Meteor Grey Mica
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $35,300
試車售價 Price as Tested: $39,700
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,309
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 3,914 / 1,918 / 1,240
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,058
引擎 Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0L inline four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 155 hp @ 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 148 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed manual
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 8.8 / 6.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 8.5
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 205/45R17