I lately got in contact with Mazda Switzerland, and they gave me the opportunity to experience their all-new MX-5 special edition called “Million Stars” for a few days. Big shoutout to Mazda. I really appreciated and enjoyed it.
To be honest, I did not have any expectations to the driving experience, either the power or the quality of the car. Let us get into it.
The car is painted in “Deep Crystal Blue” (optional, 800,00CHF) over the “Pure White” leather interior. In addition to that bold colour combination the car comes with a “dark cherry” manually foldable roof. Definitely a sight to behold. But after looking at it for a few seconds, it feels alright. Well, quite good!
Got into the car, drove off and just felt at home immediately. Rarely had that feeling within minutes when driving a car I haven’t before. Mazda predicts to keep the MX-5 light and nimble to deliver an unforgettable driving experience. And they are truly proofing that it is still possible to build a light car with some “nice-to-have” gimmicks like heated seats, infotainment system, air condition (which works insanely good) and so on with around 1’200kg weight. So the 1998ccm engine variant does not feel underpowered at all. Sure it isn’t the fastest car, but the power output of 184PS is way enough. As a true purist I absolutely adored shifting. The clutch has a great response, the gear shifter crispy... or juicy? Well, it just feels awesome to change gears!
The car's design looks fresh, dynamic, young, different, harmonious and well proportioned. Even though the car is pretty tiny the side silhouette would never tell you. It's a good example to stick out in a monotonous traffic jam or filled car park. Something I quite like.
What it's all about
Driving. Just driving and enjoying the views, the sunbeams and the wind rushing through your hair.
The car feels truly well composed and well balanced. Despite having rear wheel drive the MX-5 does not tend to oversteer. Sure, because the power isn’t too much. But the traction level feels predictable. Due to the rather soft suspension the car might to understeer a bit which is a safety measure. The seating position is pretty low to give the Mazda some sporty aspects. It even doesn’t feel that tiny like it actually is.
Sticking with the suspension, the Mazda MX-5 is a rather soft driving car. Somehow an allrounder. Mainly because the MX-5 has a lot of female and older drivers which prefer to have a bit more comfort instead of a super hard and direct suspension. At least the OEM market is huge and filled with tuning possibilities. And if you aren’t in the mood for after-market and DIY tuning parts there’s even an optional sports suspension and some tuning parts directly available in the Mazda configurator. Head over and have a look by yourself:
The foldable roof can be opened and closed easily alone, even with one arm while sitting on the passenger seat. Just open the centre lock, push it backwards and down to bring it in place. A recognizable, mechanical “click” tells you that the roof is locked in and you’re ready to enjoy open-top-driving.
A bit disappointing was the infotainment system in my own opinion. It is slow, looks a bit outdated and doesn’t always work flawlessly. The car settings section always took very long to load and the Apple Car-Play sometimes didn’t connect at all. Either with USB connection. I honestly didn’t expect that. But the Bose sound system was excellent. The seats even have stereo speakers in the headrests which are able to play different things (driver: music and navigation, co-driver: only music). As well the whole quality according the interior materials and building assembly. Much better than the Alfa Romeo 4C or a Lotus Exige in comparison. And they even cost a lot more, nearly twice as much when new. Of course, they have a sportier suspension and more powerful engine. But that’s already it.
Now what to buy
Well that might be a difficult one. Depending on everyone’s own taste, wishes and preferences. If you want a raw and impractical sports car, then go for a Lotus and can transform to a Targa. The Alfa Romeo is as impractical as the Lotus but more efficient due to its very small sized, but stupidly fast turbocharged 1.75 litre engine. The Mazda MX-5 has a good fuel economy (approximately 7-8 litre on 100km) and is slightly more practical compared to the other two mentioned cars. It transforms to a convertible and can carry two large sport bags in the trunk. It is an enjoyable allrounder and in my opinion a very competitive option as a two-year-old car with a small mileage.
So the shown MX-5 “Million Stars” will set you back 40-45’000CHF while the base spec costs around 31’000CHF. Which isn’t a bargain. But still a good deal compared to the other small rather sporty convertibles.
And to finalize it: You probably ask yourself what my preferred choice might be. I’d unconventionally choose a BMW Z3 M Roadster, Honda S2000 or Lotus Elise. But if you’re not in the mood for an around 20-year-old car, the MX-5 should definitely be up on your list if you’re searching a two-seater fun convertible. Without any doubt.
All in all a car I could have never imagined to like that much I closely fell in love with.