MAZDA has launched a special edition version of its popular two-seater MX-5, but customers will need to act fast as the run is limited to just 150 models.
The latest MX-5 R-Sport is based on the 1.5-litre 132ps 2020 MX-5 but has some distinctive styling cues to help it stand out as a little bit special.
The rear-wheel drive convertible looks dynamic when viewed from any angle with its grey soft-top hood, Polymetal Grey bodywork, piano black mirrors and stunning 16-inch RAS gunmetal alloy wheels to complete the look.
Move inside and you are greeted with gorgeous burgundy Nappa leather seats with silver stitching, chrome circular air-vent surrounds, a vinyl leather dashboard and a beautifully styled cockpit that is totally driver-focused.
On-board technology is plentiful and includes a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, heated seats and climate control, power-operated and heated door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, dusk sensing lights and a Premium Bose sound system with nine speakers - a feature that is most welcome when driving with the top down.
With 132ps of power and 152Nm of torque at your disposal, this petrol-driven MX-5 with Mazda's SKYACTIV-G engine, can reach from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and maxes out at 127mph. According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, it can deliver a combined 44.8mpg with carbon emissions of 142g/km.
Given ideal driving conditions, such as a warm, sunny day and quiet country lanes, the MX-5 is guaranteed to put a smile on any driving purist's face as it fizzes through the twists and turns displaying its agility, pinpoint accuracy out of bends and excellent grip.
The acceleration is sharp through the six-speed manual gearbox and there is always ample power on tap to overtake. The steering is nicely weighted with lots of driver feedback and it's a car that feels like it's going much faster than it actually is, but it's still worth keeping a watchful eye on the speedo.
You can feel a little vulnerable on motorways driving alongside large juggernauts and the driver visibility is poor especially with the roof up which is normal for two-seat convertibles, but there are rear parking sensors to help when reversing.
Comfort levels within the MX-5 are certainly snug and space to store stuff is limited to the boot with its 130-litre capacity and a couple of small-ish cubbies within the car. But, once again, that's the same in most sports-themed two-seaters out there.
I did find the centre console on the passenger's side had a rather sharp edge which lowered the standard, but otherwise the refinement levels are excellent with a good mix of high-end materials.
Lowering or raising the roof is done manually, but only takes a matter of seconds and can be completed while sitting in the car which is handy.
The MX-5 is famed for its dynamic driving ability and this car retains the award-winning chassis and mechanical set-up as the 2020 model it is based on. And thanks to its lightness, combined with Mazda's i-ELOOP and i-stop kinetic recovery, along with stop-start technology, fuel efficiency is high and carbon emissions low.
The MX-5 also comes fitted with a host of safety features and driver assist systems to help protect occupants, other road users and also prevent accidents happening in the first place.
Systems include front smart city brake support with autonomous emergency braking, rear smart city brake support, lane departure warning system, driver attention alert and traffic sign recognition.