It is time to put things into perspective: driving pleasure has nothing to do with engine performance. It may be that modern marketing sees it differently, but it is simply not true.
To be fast is much more to do with staying fast and less with being fast.Of course, the less talented person is greatly helped by the powerful engine. On the brakes, like a girl, played through the bend and then turned the tap on the straight again - it can be done quickly, of course. But how about: in the last groove in the corner, circling the chassis up to the slide through the bend and practically not letting off the gas?
Nothing comes of its own accord here, you are responsible for what will happen. They call it "jinba ittai" in the land of the rising sun - the unity of driver and vehicle. And they worked hard to make you really one with the car. Lighter, shorter, more focused. No part has remained of the old, everything has been revised, even if only a gram of weight or a percent more stiffness has actually been gained. The sum counts.
Once on the country road you will notice it immediately. Today we have almost forgotten the lightness of a car that weighs just a ton. No power games with large turbochargers, active chassis or highly complex dynamics control units. Everything is very easy in the MX5. Even the chassis. No rock-hard cushioning, the sportiness is suggested only by its relentless rigor, but a sensitivity and movement that even surprises you at first.
In the curve it seems that the chassis has practically no rolling resistance. When turning in, the whole car dives in and noticeably lies down on the wheels on the outside of the curve, as if the stabilizers had been accidentally removed. It really feels a little loose at first, the MX5 looks almost shaky and yet, after the second, third juicy curve, you notice: the control is there. It gives you really good feedback despite the side tilt. Perhaps this is the biggest advantage of the small weight.
Because: that's exactly how they wanted it. The engineers tell with shining eyes how they constructed this movement into the setup. It should lie in the curve, because this rolling corresponds to the force that acts on your body during the curve frenzy and the MX5 is in total harmony with you. It's wonderfully cheesy and yet we understand the philosophy of the Japanese - because it really works incredibly well.
On the country road, the soft roadster translates curve surfing naturally and very predictably. It feels wonderfully balanced. If you miss a certain sharpness when turning in, you counter with a wonderfully creamy finish in the rear swivel. No ultra-high level of grip, instead: let it run. In contrast to some sports car competition, whose talents can only be experienced far beyond the speed ranges permitted in public, the MX5 is a very everyday athlete. It's just always fun because you can get it where it really tickles.
Of course, this philosophy also has disadvantages. For example, when things get really rough. If you want to get the last ten percent out too. Then he is a bit overwhelmed. The movements become too strong, the front axle can no longer keep up and the engine really runs out of juice.
But that has always been the case. The MX5 was never the real thoroughbred racer. It shouldn't be either. That's why the big 160 HP engine is not needed. Instead, take the small 1500, book the Sportsline equipment with the Bilsteins and the delicate lock, and: enjoy.
Because we have almost forgotten that in our performance society.
It takes understanding and feeling, plus self-confidence. Anyone who brings this with them will reap driving pleasure. Because he brings the car and himself to the limit. So wherever driving pleasure really begins. A car that has supported this style perfectly for years is the Mazda MX5: a crisp chassis, a tight fabric roof and a cheerful engine that you have to do real acceleration with hard work on the gear lever.