There are those who refuse to see the light. Those who continue to worship at the altar of high horsepower. Those who refuse to see how ripping through a corner is much more joyful than ripping through a straight line.
The folks at Mazda are not those kinds of people. That’s why they have given us the 2016 Mazda MX-5.
A mere 155 horsepower and 148 lb/ft of torque emanate from the 2.0L SkyActiv 4-cylinder engine. All that Japanese fury is going to the rear wheels via a 6-speed short throw manual transmission. EPA fuel ratings are 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city.
You can get an automatic, but really…unless you don’t have full use of your left leg and your right hand, skip it and row your own.
The previous generation MX-5 had gotten pretty bloated, and one of the primary goals of engineers was to cut out some weight. The ND is 150 pounds lighter than the NC model, bringing it closer in weight to the beloved first generation Miata. This loss of poundage means that although the current model has fewer horses under the hood, it’s actually much quicker off the line.
There are three MX-5 models, and I spent my time in the aggressively tuned Club. Also available are the very bare bones Sport, and the more cushy Grand Touring.
If you like happiness, opt for the Club. Not only does it come with Bilstein shocks on all four corners with shock tower braces, it also had the optional BBS wheels with Brembo brakes on the front and a nifty aero package. It’s well worth the $3,400 price tag.
What really makes the Club stand out, however, is the limited slip differential. That’s right, no fakey McFakerstein torque vectoring system, but a real honest-to-God LSD. Wearing Bridgestone Potenza tires, the MX-5 sticks it in the corners and begs for more. Drivers may find themselves pushing their driving skills, increasing speed through the corners as they find that the car easily stays in line, even with the traction control off.
Mazda engineers have still left in the characteristic body roll, their reasoning being that it provides more feedback to the driver. While it’s true that under hard cornering one can definitely feel the load on the outside, it’s really part of the fun of the MX-5.
Most road feel comes through the chassis, however, as the electric steering is a tad on the numb side. It’s not terrible, and it certainly is direct and weights up very nicely at speed, but those used to the hydraulic set up in older Miatas will notice the difference.
There are a few other little dings, like the removable cup holders and the fact that a 7-inch touchscreen is now required (due to government regulations), but it’s difficult to find fault with the 4th generation roadster.
The Sport model will start at $24,915, the Club at $28,600, and the GT at $30,065.
Oh, and you can still call it a Miata. Mazda said so.
Find out more about the new design of the MX-5 right here!
|Emme is a driver, reviewer, rabble rouser, and Gazelle who can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and either one of her blogs.|