Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to race a car around the Oulton Park circuit.
Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to race a car around the Oulton Park circuit. The car was a Mazda MX-5 and the event was in celebration of its 10th anniversary. This is a car that was, and probably still is, recognised by Guinness World Records as the World's best-selling, two-seat convertible sports car ever.
And it is still scooping awards and accolades! So it is no surprise that the Mazda MX-5 is now celebrating 20 years and still going strong.
Since its launch in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 has undergone two complete re-designs and a good few facelifts, in order to keep pace with technology, emissions controls and design cues. But throughout that time, the same underlying principles that made the original so popular, have been retained. One of those principles is Jinba Ittai, which translates as a feeling of oneness with the car combined with a sense of fun.
In 2006, Mazda added the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, or MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top as it is known elsewhere. That is a bit of a mouthful but is an apt description of what it does. The intention was to attract even more customers who might be swayed by the extra security a hard-top affords but with the option of topless motoring, should the weather allow.
Moving onto the 2009 edition, the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe continues to attract, with its sleeker appearance giving the impression of much more expensive metal. Another reason for choosing the Coupe is that is quieter than the Roadster, now even more so, with the new improvements that have reduced the noise level by 2.7dB. The road noise in the soft-top, with the roof up is quite loud and will have you reaching for the volume control.
The Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe differs from the soft-top in other ways, too. For instance, the front grille has a mesh finish with a chrome surround, while the soft-top has a fin-type grille. The headlamp bezels are chrome and not silver and the door handles are silver rather than body-coloured, on the Roadster. Apart from that and a couple of other differences, the 2009 upgrades apply to both versions.
On the subject of body colours, there are of eight from which to choose. That said, the new Sunflower Yellow is not available in Europe but the other two new colours, Aluminium Metallic and Metropolitan Grey Mica are, but both add £385 to the price. Marble White is only available in soft-top form and all Roadsters come with a black fabric roof.
In terms of exterior styling, Mazda has kept the trademark smiling face, although the front grille has morphed from an oval shape into a grin, bringing it right up to date. The new front bumper slopes downwards at the corners, emphasising the fog-light housings and counterbalancing the new headlight clusters.
Pronounced wheelarches frame the 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels portraying a muscular, sporty attitude, while the newly-designed sill shape leads back to the equally new rear bumper. This rather chunky rear end displays has the same athletic characteristics, a notion that is enhanced by the twin, chromed, tailpipes.
Mazda MX-5 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mazda Mazda MX-5 2.0i PowerShift|
|Colour||Metropolitan Grey Mica|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||132 mph|
|Transmission||6-Speed Sequential Automatic|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||46.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 09/11/09)||£20,195|