Mazda marks MX-5 anniversary with a reminder of what made this car so great

What really made the car a star was that while it drew inspiration from the classic MGB, it came with Mazda’s famed reliability

This 30th Anniversary version has a 2-litre engine with 184hp and 205nm, with emissions of 155g/km. The time for 0-100km/h takes 6.5 seconds.

This 30th Anniversary version has a 2-litre engine with 184hp and 205nm, with emissions of 155g/km. The time for 0-100km/h takes 6.5 seconds.

 

It may be better remembered for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War and even the birth of the world wide web. But 1989 was a momentous year for motoring fans as well. It was the year the MX-5 arrived.

The lightweight two seater was a homage to classic sports car motoring. It featured a long MGB-like bonnet covering a lengthways engine that powered the rear wheels harking back to classic sportscars of old.

It was a brave move by Mazda. The late 1980s was not an ideal time to launch a two seater. Yet the car instantly stole hearts. It was brilliant to drive with fast and direct steering and a short throw manual gearbox that ensured the most could be made out of the petrol engine’s 115hp/135nm power.

Since 1989 the compact car has become the world’s best selling sports car with sales reaching 1 million in 2016. The millionth MX-5 to roll off the production line is on display in Japan and if you look closely you’ll see my signature along with many other motoring journalists on its boot. Yes folks, I’m big in Japan. Well, I’ve left my mark at least.

The MX-5 (known as the Miata in the US) simply caught the imagination of motorists at a time when there was little to rival it on the market. While Toyota was going down the mid-engined transverse layout route with its MR2 sportscar Mazda’s decision to go with an old school driving layout proved the right one. The first generation, with its curves, sub one tonne weight and famous pop up headlamps is now considered a classic.

What really made the car a star was that while it drew inspiration from the classic MGB, it came with Mazda’s famed reliability. Three decades later and four generations on, a special 30th Anniversary model has been launched.

The MX-5’s key is that it is fun at any speed, unlike many supercars that only get exciting at speeds when you can expect to see blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror
The MX-5’s key is that it is fun at any speed, unlike many supercars that only get exciting at speeds when you can expect to see blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror

Power up

This 30th Anniversary version has a 2-litre engine with 184hp and 205nm, with emissions of 155g/km. The time for 0-100km/h takes 6.5 seconds.

The car weighs just over 1 tonne, which sounds heavy for a car this size but isn’t, and this MX-5 is as nimble as anything on the road today.

On the Autobahn it cruised with little fuss at 200km/h (top speed is 220km/h) and was very stable even in crosswinds. Roof up it is a relatively quiet cabin and with the roof down - well of course its noisy. The MX-5’s key is that it is fun at any speed, unlike many supercars that only get exciting at speeds when you can expect to see blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror.

But the beauty of the MX-5 is really on show on the twisty roads, where the car’s precision really comes into its own. A limited slip differential and Holstein shock absorbers add to the sport driving dynamic.

Little steering inputs deliver immediate results. Should you need to scrub off speed strong Brembo brakes are standard. The MX-5 is short on tech and lacks a lot of the modern advanced safety systems of your average hatchback but I didn’t miss any of them because the is wonderfully involving.

Limited edition models are to be cherished, but more importantly driven, and the 30th Anniversary MX-5 is no exception to that rule. Don’t mothball these cars. Only 10 out of a production run on 3,000 are assigned to the Irish market. Priced at just under €40,995 the car is available in classic convertible roadster guise or in RF retractable fastback form. It’s a firm fixture on my motoring wishlist.

Priced at just under €40,995 the car is available in classic convertible roadster guise or in RF retractable fastback form.
Priced at just under €40,995 the car is available in classic convertible roadster guise or in RF retractable fastback form.
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.