A POWER hike for the Mazda MX-5 has transformed the world's favourite roadster.
With an uprated 2.0-litre SKYACTIV engine free-revving all the way to 7,500rpm and producing 184ps, the latest MX-5 is the quickest yet.
Nought to 60mph now takes just 6.5 seconds for the manual convertible and that's an improvement of 0.8 seconds over the previous 160ps engine.
The hard top RF model is not that far behind and now rated at 6.8 seconds - 0.6 of a second quicker.
Those figures may sound inconsequential but explore the upper limits of the rev range and the car flies through the gears with 700 more revs to play with before the red line.
It makes the latest MX-5 even more fun to drive and the more powerful engine is just one of a number of changes.
There's also some tuning to the exhaust note to enhance the open top experience, telescopic adjustment has been added to the steering wheel to improve driver comfort, some extra safety features and a new range topping GT Sport Nav+ model.
Prices are unchanged for the entry level 1.5-litre models starting at £18,995 for the convertible and £22,595 for the RF while the 2.0-litre cars cost a few hundred pounds more and now come in at £22,295 for SE-L Nav+ convertibles and £24,095 for the RF fastback with its folding metal roof.
Automatics carry a £1,200 premium and are available only the two top grades.
In GT Sport Nav+ trim the MX-5 comes fully loaded for £25,795 for the roadster and £29,195 for the RF and we have just tried out both.
Adaptive LED headlamps, blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alerts are standard on the new GT models while lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, driver fatigue sensors and emergency braking systems front and rear are fitted on all but the basic MX-5s.
What impresses about the new 2.0-litre engine is not just its easy revving performance but also its fuel economy which on both models exceeded the official figures by some margin.
Stop/start is now standard on the 2.0-litre yet our runs covered hundreds of miles through the countryside and saw an average of 44 to the gallon for the slightly heavier RF and 45.9mpg for the roadster recorded on the trip computer.
Officially both are rated at 40.9mpg with emissions of 156g/km.
Top speeds are also increased marginally to 136 and 137mph respectively but it is in the higher echelons of the rev band where the new MX-5 comes into its own.
As such the MX-5 is even more engaging than before and even the 1.5-litre has received a small power boost up to 132ps, although its performance is unaltered.
Mazda is making no major changes to the looks of the MX-5 and - with the exception of a gloss black rear spoiler on the GT Sport Nav+ - it keeps all its good looks from the previous models launched back in 2015 for the roadster and 2017 for the RF.
With more than a million MX-5s sold since it first appeared back in the 1980s the car has become the top selling roadster in the world - and more than 100,000 of those have been in Britain.
The fourth generation car cut new territory with its angular shapes and pound for pound is still a great two seater, now with a little more oomph.