Roadster of the Year 2015: Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 is the 2015 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Boxster commended
Hot off the boat from Japan, the Mazda MX-5 has romped its way to victory as our Best Roadster of 2015 thanks to a new philosophy that takes the iconic two-seat convertible back to basics.
Mazda’s SkyActiv approach focuses on lightweight engineering, which means the new car actually weighs 100kg less than its predecessor and only 50kg more than the original.
All that’s needed to whisk the MX-5 along at an impressive pace is a 129bhp 1.5-litre engine – no turbo trickery here, just a revvy, naturally aspirated petrol unit with crisp throttle response and a sweet six-speed manual box. There’s more power from a 158bhp 2.0-litre engine if you want it, but it’s not vital.
The lack of weight makes for engaging and agile handling. With bags of grip, the car sticks to the road tenaciously in bends, while the light, quick steering and hi-tech underpinnings mean you’ll carve through corners with a smile. This balance of advanced construction and an old-school rear-wheel-drive approach makes the MX-5 a delight.
To further keep weight down, the roof folds manually in a single, one-handed action, plus the car does without sport modes, adaptive dampers and active exhausts.
It’s the same with the interior: although the driver-focused layout is comfortable and boasts plenty of kit, it’s simplistic and puts the focus firmly on fun. Savings in these areas also keep the price down to just £18,495 for the entry-level car, but Mazda hasn’t scrimped where it shouldn’t.
Safety is strong thanks to that stiff bodyshell, and with the car’s rakish, aerodynamic profile and upto 47.1mpg on offer, you can have your cake and eat it. This is the MX-5 that finally shakes off the hairdresser connotations of old.
MX-5 1.5 SkyActiv-G SE L (£19,245)
With Bluetooth, climate control and a seven-inch touchscreen as standard, the SE L model is the sweet spot in the MX-5 range, balancing cost with kit perfectly. You have to work the 1.5 engine, but the Mazda is so light it’s the most rewarding model.
BY adding four-wheel drive and manual options to the range, Jag has improved the appeal of its stunning F-Type even further. With its supercharged V6 and V8 engines, the soft-top boasts serious muscle and a lovable character on top of its huge performance. A cramped 196-litre boot is the only drawback, but the thrills on the road make you forget all about it.
Porsche Boxster S
Stunning looks, a sonorous engine and assured, agile handling mean the Boxster is a top roadster. Porsche has condensed its sports car know-how into a slick and manageable feelgood package that’s a joy to drive and own. With two luggage compartments totalling 280 litres of space, it’s even reasonably practical for a two-seater.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2015
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- 1IntroductionThe winners of the 2015 Auto Express New Car Awards have been announced
- 2Car of the Year 201512 years since the first generation model took the crown, the new Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Car of the Year
- 3City car of the year 2015The Skoda Citigo is the 2015 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Renault Twingo commended
- 4Supermini of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Polo is the 2015 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Mazda 2 and Skoda Fabia commended
- 5Premium small Car of the Year 2015The Mini Cooper is the 2015 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Compact family Car of the Year 2015The SEAT Leon is the 2015 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the MINI 5dr and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the Year 2015The Skoda Superb is the 2015 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 6 and Volkswagen Passat commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Passat Estate is the 2015 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year 2015The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2015 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year 2015The Nissan Qashqai is the 2015 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-3 commended
- 11Compact SUV of the Year 2015The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the 2015 Auto Express Compact SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Porsche Macan commended
- 12Large SUV of the Year 2015The Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Kia Sorento and Range Rover Sport commended
- 13Pick-Up Truck of the Year 2015The Mitsubishi L200 is the 2015 Auto Express Pick-Up Truck of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok commended
- 14Hot Hatch of the Year 2015The SEAT Leon Cupra is the 2015 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI commended
- 15Convertible of the Year 2015The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the 2015 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series and Porsche 911 Convertible commended
- 16Coupe of the Year 2015The Audi TT is the 2015 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Macan commended
- 17Roadster of the Year 2015 - currently readingThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2015 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Boxster commended
- 18Performance Car of the Year 2015The Porsche 911 GTS is the 2015 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the McLaren 650S and Mercedes-AMG GT commended
- 19Compact executive Car of the Year 2015The Jaguar XE is the 2015 Auto Express Compact executive Car of the Year, with the BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS commended
- 20Executive Car of the Year 2015The Audi A6 is the 2015 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Tesla Model S commended
- 21Luxury Car of the Year 2015The Mercedes S-Class is the 2015 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Mulsanne Speed and Range Rover commended
- 22Van of the Year 2015The Ford Transit is Auto Express' Van of the Year 2015, with the Fiat Doblo Cargo and Vauxhall Vivaro commended
- 23Green Car of the Year 2015The BMW i3 is the 2015 Auto Express Green Car of the Year, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Peugeot 208 BlueHDi commended
- 24Technology Award 2015GM's OnStar service wins the Auto Express 2015 Technology Award
- 25Car Advertising Campaign of the Year 2015Honda is known for its inventive and captivating adverts, and the latest Civic Type R is no different
- 26Readers' Design Award 2015We asked you what your favourite car design is for 2015, and the new Jaguar XF has taken the crown
- 27Social Media Award 2015Social media is all about interacting with your audience, and we've named Toyota the best social media brand of 2015
- 28Driver Power Award 2015Lexus has long been a force to be reckoned with in our Driver Power survey. This year the brand scoops the Driver Power Award
- 29Hall of Fame 2015We've inducted GM's Executive Vice President and President for North America Alan Batey into our hall of fame, plus the Land Rover Defender