After almost ten years in the market, the NC is being replaced by the ND. We are talking about the fourth generation of the Mazda MX-5, which is now as light again as the first generation of the low-budget fun car. The MX-5 will be available at dealerships with two engines for the market launch on September 11th and 12th. Before that, the small toy with 131 and 160 hp was tested.
With the base price of 22,990 euros, the MX-5 remains affordable, even a well-equipped MX-5 with a Skyactiv-G 160 engine remains just under 30,000 euros, unless you also pack in the Alcantara-covered Recaro sports seats. The only compromise you have to make is space. Driver and passenger inevitably get closer, the trunk with 130 liters of volume and mediocre Tetris skills swallows around two on-board trolleys and odds and ends. But even in the cockpit there are still small storage spaces here and there. On the other hand, to be honest, the focus of the MX-5 is of course somewhere completely different.
The Mazda MX-5 is a mobile toy away from the daily stress of work and worries about the future. Into the small one, fold the roof back and off over the country roads. And in this case also the first time not only for women and men in the hairdressing school, but also for other men of creation. The fourth generation is visually not that playful anymore, even if he hasn’t completely given up the smiley face. The flat, tapered headlights give the MX-5 a “bad look” and are always made with LED technology.
What is immediately noticeable after entering the car is that I cannot bring the steering wheel towards me. Unfortunately, it is only adjustable in height and not lengthways. It is generally better to drive open in the MX-5, because even me (1.78 m) the top comes very close. The wildly shaped storm hairstyle doesn’t bother afterwards either. The handbrake is on the Japanese side of the center console, at least the short, small gear knob enchants with tangible action.
Thanks to the naturally aspirated engine, there is no turbo lag or any interference because the accelerator pedal position equals engine power. The power can be called up relatively accurately using the pedal. If you are interested, you should know that the standard consumption of 6.9 l / 100km is the consumption. In fact, it was possible to move the Skyactiv-G 160 with 6.9 to 7.3 l / 100km without much effort. If you are not interested in this, you should know that the sound of the MX-5 is best enjoyed pure. Of course, slightly tinny, with a roar, the exhaust system reports what the engine speed is. It gets picturesque on the coast when the little sports car echoes on the cliffs.
With a curb weight of exactly 1,000 kilograms plus the driver, the MX-5 is just the right motor to experience its limits and those of driving dynamics in a playful way. As the chief engineer of the MX-5 explained to me about the turbo and compressor, why too much power that is uncontrollable when you can have exactly the perfect amount of power to fully drive the car. He’s right, because the 160 hp are well-dimensioned to have fun in the mountains and on the country roads. Or to accelerate sideways out of a curve. It never becomes dangerous, because the chassis forgives almost every mistake, the rear feels exactly what is happening at the rear and the steering gives good feedback from the front axle.
The Skyactiv-G 160 in the Exclusive Line takes its mission seriously (unfortunately we couldn’t drive Sports Line with Bilstein dampers), while the Skyactiv-G 131 makes excursions more of a fun. Compared to its stronger brother, it is a little softer and not quite as tightly tuned. The body rolls a little more (“body roll”) than the Skyactiv-G 160, which is almost 25 kilograms heavier, and that somewhat inhibits driving pleasure in the mountains. The fact that it lags a little behind in performance and that it does not have enough thump (150 Nm torque) from the lower speed is of secondary importance.
Acoustically, both are on the same roaring wave, one a little louder than the other. You only notice the differences between the engines when you really want to get everything out of the naturally aspirated engines. In other words, if you never want to play with it, the 131 hp variant of the MX-5 is enough. However, if you want to get the fun car out to play with, you shouldn’t save on the meager surcharge of around 1,000 euros and treat yourself to the large engine. There is currently no more fun with rear-wheel drive for this meager price.
The pictures show the sapphire blue metallic, as well as the pure white paintwork and in both cases the exclusive line equipment. The blue MX-5 stands on 17 inch rims thanks to the Skyactiv-G 160 engine, the white one on standard 16 inch rims.
Click here for the driving report of the Mazda MX-5 (NC) in the Yusho edition, i.e. with a compressor conversion and motorsport equipment.
More voices about the new Mazda MX-5 at passion: driving, my-auto-blog, automobil-blog, 1300ccm and trendlupe.
Text / Photos: Fabian Meßner