The MX-5 is everybodys darling: You probably won't find an owner, you won't read a test report that says fundamentally negative things about the little roadster. The recently published Mazda cheering fits that the two-seater has now made the 1 million production mark. After 27 years of construction, which doesn't sound that great at first. But this makes the MX-5 by far the best-selling roadster in the world. And there are reasons. Reasons that you can understand very well after two weeks of testing.
The fourth generation of the Japanese has only been on the market for a few months. And it marks both a new beginning and a return to the first model presented in 1989. Because the current MX-5, with a tare weight, is as light-footed as the ancestor. But the Japanese were also consistent: if the fun mobile had grown from generation to generation, it has now become shorter (around 10 centimeters) and narrower. With what, unfortunately, one has to state that for some fans it has become a little too spack. You shouldn't necessarily bring well over 1,80 meters and a total weight of 80 kilos into the vehicle.
The MX-5 brings driving pleasure to an even higher level. Anyone who has ever driven a version of the first to third generation could now say: That is not possible. We say: yes. Because the Luftikus is not just as light as when it was born, it is of course much better motorized than it used to be, where 115 horsepower had to be enough at the beginning. The 2,0-liter engine today produces 160 hp, is well connected to the gas and spreads a good mood with its sonorous hum. With a maximum of 200 Newton meters, it is not a torque monster, but must rather be considered real driving fun in the higher speed regions.
7,3 seconds for the standard sprint or 214 km / h top are not breathtaking values for a sports car. But that's the highlight of the MX-5. Together with the still short and crisp six-speed gearshift, the precise steering, the low seating position and the chassis, which is even blessed with some residual comfort, great fun is guaranteed. You just pray for the next curve. By the way: It even works with the smaller 1,5-liter petrol engine with just 131 HP that is also available. But if you can pay the equipment-adjusted 1.500 euros extra, you should do that too. Because, above all, the larger displacement ultimately makes a difference.
So while space is at a premium - the trunk has even been reduced by 20 liters - and weight is increasing, the Japanese are taking a new path in design. So far, the MX-5 has been rather nice and has bridged the road road history of the 60s in terms of looks. The fourth generation has now come to an end, the surfaces are smoother, the Japanese shows corners and edges and looks quite aggressively from the narrowed headlight eyes on the street. In other words, it looks the way Alfa fans should actually want it. Especially if it comes in a chic red like our test car.
The MX-5 does a little in Italian, but is otherwise a typical Japanese product: great quality, well thought-out and practical. Therefore, the usual praise on the roof must also be set at this point. It is now known that the experienced driver opens the convertible top and throws it backwards, it takes less than 4 seconds. Just add 3 seconds to close. There is no electric roof. But the already ingenious system has been improved again for the new generation. It is lighter and it only jumps a few centimeters when you release the lever and lock it. With which the roof can now be closed practically without any effort. The ladies are happy.
So it is worth opening the roof again in the MX-5 for a few kilometers, for example from the motorway exit to your home. Precisely because it is so quick and easy. This is only available from the Japanese. Wrong: It is now also available from the Italian. With the 124 Spider, Fiat has now launched the MX-5, which is identical in construction but has a more powerful engine. Japanese original in Italo look or Italian roadster produced in Japan? The roadster fan has to make this decision himself.
(Peter Eck / SP-X)