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MX-5 gets more power

Created on 15/09/2018 @ 08:54
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The world’s most popular two-seater sports car just became more powerful, making the Mazda MX-5 an even more attractive option.

Mazda has upgraded its award-winning sports car with both convertible and RF versions of the MX-5 gaining a 2-litre engine, increased safety equipment and cabin refinements.

On sale since 1989 the MX-5 isn’t just popular for its stunning good looks, fun-factor, reliability and performance because it’s a sports car that’s affordable too with prices starting as low as £18,995.

In showrooms now, bosses claim the 2019 Mazda MX-5 has been carefully revised to ensure it‘s more exciting and engaging to drive than ever before, which was a difficult task.

I am a big fan of the 1.5 engine but was equally impressed by the more powerful and higher-revving version of the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G engine. Substantially redesigned with lighter pistons and con-rod, the 2.0-litre engine also features revisions to the camshafts and exhaust valves, fuel injectors, throttle valve and air intake.

That means an increase from 160ps to 184ps and a heightened redline, which rises from 6,800 to 7,500rpm. In addition with higher fuel pressure and more efficient combustion, there’s an increase in torque across the rev range, while peak torque rises by 5Nm.

As a result on the convertible 0-62mph performance improves by 0.8 of a second to 6.5seconds, while manual and automatic RF models see a 0.6 and 0.5 second increase, respectively, while tuning of the main silencer delivers a cleaner more powerful engine note.

Enhanced performance hasn’t come at the cost of efficiency because Mazda’s i-ELOOP and i-stop kinetic recovery and stop-start technology on 2.0-litre models means all 184ps cars have a lower C02 output than the outgoing 160ps car.

On sale from the 1st September, the upgraded 184ps 2.0-litre engine will initially be offered exclusively in the new range-topping GT Sport Nav+ trim in both the RF and convertible, while SE-L Nav+ and Sport Nav+ 184ps models will go on sale later in the Autumn.

You now get telescopic steering adjustment and improved seat sliding operation but there’s no hiding from the fact that the cabin is still tiny with a distinct lack of storage space and badly placed cup holders.

You also require an element of fitness to slip in and out of the driver’s seat and the boot’s not capable of holding that much luggage – so forget the golf clubs.

Outwardly styling hasn’t changed – why would it? The only visible differences appear to be the newly designed 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels, which would prove heart-breaking to scuff when parking.

Starting from £18,995, the MX-5 convertible is offered in SE+, SE-L Nav+, Sport Nav+ and new GT Sport Nav+ trim, while from £22,595 the RF is available in SE-L Nav+, Sport Nav+, and GT Sport Nav+, with the higher two trims available with an automatic gearbox.

Standard safety equipment has increased with Sport Nav+ cars and above now featuring Front Smart City Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Smart City Brake Support, Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Attention Alert.

Blind Spot Monitoring System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive LED headlights and a reversing camera are standard on GT Sport Nav+ and optional as a safety pack on Sport Nav+.

Many MX-5 enthusiasts have been waiting eagerly for this latest up-date but while performance is impressive and road holding excellent my money is still on the 1.5 still being the best seller.

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