Mazda MX-5 Black Edition

New special-edition MX-5 promises bold looks and a thrilling drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

The MX-5 still has the power to put a huge smile on your face, and the driving dynamics are as sharp as ever. This limited edition adds some extra visual punch to the roadster’s simple recipe, and it’s well worth the £360 premium over the Sport. While a number of hot hatches offer more power for less, few can match the open-air drama and rear-drive thrills of this brilliant roadster. We can’t recommend it enough.

Inspired by its GT racer, Mazda has launched a limited-edition MX-5, and Auto Express was first behind the wheel.

The new Black Edition doesn’t get the roll cage of the stripped-out track car – currently being driven by our own senior road tester, Owen Mildenhall, 
in the Britcar Championship. But Mazda has provided plenty of visual oomph to set it apart from the rest of the range.

There are three unique paint finishes to choose from, including the bold Spirited Green metallic of our car. The folding hard-top is available solely in 
contrasting black, though.

Only 500 examples of the Black Edition are being built, and as the name suggests, everything from the roll hoops, wing mirrors and grille to the foglight surrounds is finished in menacing black.

Inside are more unique touches, such as a numbered plaque, alloy pedals and contrasting stitching on the leather upholstery. Some of the plastics are starting to feel their age, as is the layout of the dash, but it still feels durable and built to last. In addition, the folding hard-top is simple to operate.

On the road, the peppy 157bhp 2.0-litre engine revs keenly to the red line, and all the controls are perfectly weighted, making it easy to exploit the taut chassis. The narrow pedal box is ideally laid out to allow quick heel-and-toe downshifts, and every trip is a reminder of how rewarding the Mazda is to drive.

There are some sacrifices for this dynamic prowess – namely the tiny luggage bay and high 181g/km CO2 emissions. But even after six years on sale, the MX-5 is still as good as ever.

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