1 Mar 1998
Mazda didn’t want to mess around with its icon, so the second generation MX-5 was only slightly heavier despite the addition of more body stiffness, extra safety equipment like a dual front airbags and luxuries like more cabin room, a bigger boot, central locking, better audio and extra sound deadening.
Minor steering and suspension recalibrations were also carried out.
The upshot was a quieter, safer, more refined and comfortable two-seater sports car that lost none of the exquisite handling and roadholding properties. Sales significantly increased.
The same-but-different all-new body looked more modern and was significantly more aerodynamic, helped by the deletion of the US regulations-breaching pop-up headlights for (lighter) fixed units.
Yet 40 per cent of the NB was carryover, including the floorpan, brakes, windscreen and engine block. The latter formed part of a significantly revised powerplant that now produced 106kW. The five-speed manual and optional four-speed auto transmissions remained.
The permanent colour range was now white, red, dark green, navy blue, black, silver and gold.
In March ’99, 150 10th Anniversary editions arrived with a six-speed manual gearbox, “Blue Mica” paintwork, blue soft top, two-tone suede-like trim, sports steering wheel, and balanced engine components and sports suspension for extra responsiveness and smoothness.
In early 2000 the MX-5 Heritage featured a maroon hue, six-speed manual gearbox, leather trim, glitzier trim and polished alloy wheels. Only 100 were sold.
The revised NB II arrived in October 2000, sporting a new nose, redesigned tail-lights, revised suspension and steering, new cabin trim and a more efficient 113kW 1.8L engine.