Many people reckon the best British sports car ever made is the Mazda MX-5. Yes, you read that right. You see, Mazda – the Japanese car company – launched its first MX-5 back in 1989 in a bid to rebirth a sports car formula that was once the speciality of British car makers. In particular, the MX-5 has always taken inspiration from the Lotus Elan of the 1960s, a lightweight convertible that put fun and driver involvement above all else. Not only did Mazda pick up where cars like that left off with its MX-5, it has positively maximised the formula’s potential with tremendous success.
The numbers speak for themselves. Since the MX-5 launched some 33 years ago, Mazda has produced more than a million examples, making it the best-selling two-seater convertible sports car in the world. It has passed through four generations, with the same magic applied through each variant, starting with the pop-up headlight original right through to the very latest model. If you’ve ever owned an MX-5, you’ll know how much of a community of enthusiasts the model has behind it. Drive past another and you might get a smile and a wave.
So, if the sudden arrival of sunny weather has had you dreaming of a convertible motor, the MX-5 is a proven, jolly way to go topless this spring and summer. The third-generation car you see here is actually a folding hard-top model, so it has a metal top rather than the fabric one that most MX-5s come with. That means you get better insulation in the cold months, as well as an electric folding system so you can get the roof down at the touch of a button. Bliss. Better still, since this is a 2015 car, it comes with far more mod cons than its predecessors, including essentials like Bluetooth connectivity and satnav.
Yet none of that modernness hampers the MX-5’s classic car charm; that much is ensured by the lightness and relative simplicity of the two-seater model. With a 1.8-litre petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, this is motoring in a traditional way. The engine’s grunt – 126 horsepower – is delivered to the back wheels, and thanks to the lightness of this machine, it can sprint from zero to 62mph in a peppy 9.6 seconds. Also, it can sip fuel at an impressive 39 miles per gallon, which for the average UK driver, means it’d cost about £36 to fuel per week at the time of writing.
It doesn’t cost the Earth to buy either, because at £13,000 – or the equivalent monthly rate – this MX-5 is, we think, terrific value for money. And with only 33,910 miles on the clock, it’s still pleasingly fresh. With sunny spells and blue skies settling in for March, we’re finding it very hard to not request delivery of this car from a cinch preparation centre to cinch HQ. It’d certainly make the lunch run that much more enjoyable.
We’ve used the manufacturer’s original specifications in reviewing the MX-5. Driving styles and conditions can affect a car’s overall fuel efficiency.