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Mazda MX5 - SA launch

Broadcast dates : 18th December 2005
24th December 2005

The Mazda MX5 can take credit for re-inventing the sports car genre. Launched in 1989, and based unashamedly on the Lotus Elan, the MX5 spawned a host of imitators, including the likes of the BMW Z3 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK.

The MX5s strength is that it retains strong links to its design DNA. The latest car is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Its a beefier version in third-generation form.

Its the classical mechanical layout of the MX5 that has made it so successful. Front-engined, rear-wheel-drive. When the first-generation car was launched in America, dealers were adding up to 30 per cent on its list price, because demand was so high.

The MX5 has avoided the trap that the likes of BMW and Merc have fallen into making ever-more powerful versions and losing the quintessential sports car vibe.

The Mazdas power output and grip remain modest enabling the open-top experience to be enjoyed in full.

The new car is still classic in its approach, with a sense of its own heritage. There are few concessions to hi-tech, and every feature has been carefully considered.

We liked the vibi-ness of the tan upholstery, but it does highlight a cheapness to some of the plastic. Boring-old black would have been better.

A 200 cc increase in engine size has boosted power to a 118 kiloWatts. And with weight having increased by just 10 kilograms, the new MX5 is sportier than ever in all respects.

The front-engined, rear-wheel-drive configuration means predictable sports car handling. 

Mazda is well aware that its success formula is precious, and the MX5 design team havent messed with it, in the third-generation car.

New MX5 rear view

Old MX5 rear view

David is an unabashed fan. But then, when have we have known The Bullard to be bashful? Hes a committed second-generation MX5 owner and hes pumped up about the new car.

The new engine induction noise sounds good. But Mazda still needs to improve on the rather drone-like exhaust note maybe visit the Harley Davidson factory for tips. Still, David is willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Mazda MX5
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1998 cc
  • Power: 118 kW @ 6 700 rpm
  • Torque: 188 Nm @ 5 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 7,9 seconds
  • Top speed: 210 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 8,2 litres/100 km (claimed)
  • Price: R241 990

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