Mazda MX-5 Skyactiv-G 2.0 2018
The Mk4 Mazda MX-5 has only been with us for three years but already it’s cemented itself as a legend of the family.
We love it for its attainable thrills and back-to-basics character, and apparently so does almost everyone else, as is evident by the two-seater’s growing number of sales, which totalled a not unimpressive 39,773 in Europe last year alone. But while it’s successfully serving as the plucky halo car for Mazda by appealing to the mainstream, for some keen drivers, it is yet to really reach its full potential.
The reason relates to its powertrains. With just two engines available from launch, a 1.5-litre offering 129bhp or a 2.0-litre with 156bhp, the car’s never been able to garner the attention of those after something serious, something offering performance in a sports car package to rival the mainstream hot hatches of this world.
The car has looked underpowered next ti mainstay models like the 197bhp Ford Fiesta ST, and Mazda knows this. In fact, it’s always known this, because executives now admit they put the car to market in 2015 with the intention of further developing the 2.0-litre for more power. Now, the time has nearly come for these planned enhancements to be introduced to the road as part of a wave of updates.
From the 1st of September, the MX-5 will now come with a telescopic steering rack offering 30mm of welcome reach adjustment and optional Apple CarPlay, enhanicing the car’s appeal. The entry 1.5 model will also get a few small mechanical improvements to offer 1bhp more with 131bhp – although that’s not exactly something to shout about.
The 2.0, on the other hand, grabs headlines with a longer list of upgrades to offer a much more substantial 23bhp, with peak output now a rather healthy 181bhp. The changes to realise this new performance include lighter pistons and conrods, a wider throttle body and enlarged port area, as well as a bigger bore exhaust valve too.
There’s also a lightened flywheel to enhance the motor’s responsiveness and it contributes to an increased hunger for revs, with that peak bhp arriving at 7000rpm and the limiter now set at 7500rpm – respective numbers that are 1000rpm and 700rpm higher than before.