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Car reviews - Mazda - MX-5 - convertible

Overview

18 Nov 1989

MAZDA turned the sports car world onto its ear with the timeless Mk1 MX-5. Using the original Lotus Elan as inspiration, Mazda added space, comfort, reliability, useability and economy to the lightweight rear-wheel drive concept. And since driving pleasure was a priority, the MX-5 was engineered with a front mid-mounted engine layout for a 50:50 weight distribution, a very rigid body, quick rack and pinion steering, and double wishbone suspension. The result was a sensational handling roadster that also offered stunning style thanks to a hint of retro design. Worldwide acclaim and huge sales followed. The beautifully balanced chassis benefited from Mazda’s sweet revving 85kW 1.6L twin-cam 16-valve motor mated to a fine 5-speed manual gearshift. The simple manual roof mechanism has not been bettered, while a detachable plastic hardtop was an option. Beautiful details abounded, from the rorty exhaust note and chrome trim to the gorgeous 7-spoke alloy wheels. But it's the basic rightness of the package that makes the MX-5, especially in its earliest 1.6-litre form, one of the all-time great sports cars...

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 October 1989 to 1 November 1993

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