Mazda MX-5 GT

28 Jun, 2012 3:45pm Dean Gibson

One-off Mazda MX-5 gets a power boost to unleash the roadster's full potential

Verdict

5
Jota Racing has worked its magic to produce the MX-5 GT, and in the process has transformed the fun-loving roadster into a focused sports car. Mazda needs to build this car - if only so everybody can experience that exhaust note alone.

Over the years there have been dozens of special edition Mazda MX-5s. On the whole they have been largely cosmetic exercises, with exclusive colours, special wheels or extra trim inside, but no boost in power. But Mazda's next MX-5 special goes that one step further.

In celebration of the MX-5's entry in the British GT4 championship, Mazda commissioned Jota Racing - the team behind the race MX-5 - to build a special version of the roadster. And if enough people express an interest in the car Jota has built, then Mazda will put it into production.

The new car is the Mazda MX-5 GT, and it's more than just some racing stripes and one-off orange bodywork. It's based on the top-spec MX-5 Roadster Coupe, and as well as 18-inch wheels from the MX-5 Black special edition, the GT has been lowered to give it a sportier look. A carbon fibre front splitter has also been added, plus side skirts and a bootlip spoiler at the rear, also in carbon fibre. Inside, there's Alcantara on the seats, handbrake and gearlever gaiter, a carbon fibre dash insert, and neat red rings on the air vents, too.

But it's under the bonnet where the most important changes have been made. The standard 2.0-litre engine has been tuned to give 205bhp with the fitting of a sports exhaust and a remapped ECU. Many people have cried out for more power from Mazda's roadster - so have the updates done the MX-5 justice?

In a word, yes. Power delivery at low revs is much the same as a standard MX-5, but get past 2,000rpm and there's a surge all the way to the raised rev limit of 7,800rpm. What's more, the sports exhaust has a hard, raspy edge to it, which simply encourages you to aim for the redline in every gear.

Turn into a corner, and the MX-5 GT responds sharply, much like the standard car, but with far less body roll. Exit a bend, and you can get straight back on the throttle without worry, as the MX-5 copes easily with the extra power.

The payoff for this improved cornering ability is a stiffer ride, but it's still tolerable, with only the biggest bumps in the road proving uncomfortable.

The Mazda MX-5 GT is a sharper, more focused roadster - the only problem is that it's not scheduled for production. But that's where the public can make a difference. If response to this one-off special is positive, we can expect a limited run of cars to be produced soon.

Disqus - noscript

I saw it today at the Goodwood festival of speed. It is amazing how good looking it actually is considering the fact that the MX5 is getting old now. There i say, i kind of preferred it to the GT86.

I spoke to a Mazda rep and he said the reception had been fantastic.Mazda will be stupid not to make this car. Potential to steal some sales from GT86 if priced right.

Those black wheelarches look like some chav's add on....

Apart from that, they should make it, but not two tone.

If they don't make it, this great car might be ignored by many new sports car buyers. sixtronic is right there.

First thing people are thinking about at the moment is the 86. While that is, indeed, an attractive buy, the MX-5 is an excellent ride but has become visually unremarkable; too familiar. With more punch and flatter cornering - the only things people have complained much about - it can be back on top of the list.

Keep the black arches, but dump the after-thought graphics!

nice car....but 29k ouch

MX-5 = great car

Mazda UK, it's dealers and attitude to customers = DIRE

I had an hour's test ride in this on Saturday at Mazda, Tamworth. It's a fantastic car; with the roof down the exhaust note is spot on and the power delivery is very smooth. If Mazda can produce a stripped-down version and concentrate on the suspension, engine and exhaust rather than flash graphics and electronics I'll certainly buy one. My mk3 felt decidely unspecial driving home afterwards :(

Key specs

  • Price: £29,000
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 205bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 6.5 seconds (est)
  • Equipment: Lowered suspension, remapped ECU, sports exhaust, air-con
AEX 1337
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