Old vs New: Mazda MX-5 MkI vs Mazda MX-5 MkIV

Mazda's mighty roadster fights it our with itself on our drag race runway. Can the original car beat the latest version?

The new Mazda MX-5 is finally here but can it really be as good as the original? Well, to find out we brought both of them to our runway for a head-to-head drag race.

Mazda has kept the focus on pure driving fun when it comes to the MX-5 family. Those cute looks have spanned the generations, although it’s new styling is quite different from the simple lines of the first generation car.

• Old vs New drag race challenge - in pictures

Early models came with a 1.6-litre 114bhp engine but this is the later 1.8-litre model with 16bhp extra. The MX-5’s appearance has really stood the test of time. Today it doesn’t look particularly dated when parked alongside modern cars.

Jump forward 26 years and we get the 2015 MX-5. However, this is the 1.5-litre option, so already things are looking tricky for the newer car. It’s got a smaller engine but almost the same brake horsepower and, actually, the original should do 0 to 62mph two tenths of a seconds faster…

And the winner is... OLD

Well the years have obviously taken their toll on the older MX-5, which is lighter and would have originally been slightly more powerful, we expected it to do better than it did. When we ran the drag race with the head start for the original MX-5 it took 16.9 seconds with the new model taking 16.4 seconds.

It was so close we decided to run the race again, with both leaving at the same time, and this time the new MX-5 came home a second faster but we think that's still a great result for the original. 

Old vs New drag race videos

Like a good drag race? Check out our epic Drag Race Shoot-out videos here...

Recommended

Mazda MX-5 review
Mazda MX-5 1.5 2015 front
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 review

The Mazda MX-5 is a legendary small sports car that delivers driving thrills and everyday usability
12 Jul 2021
New Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture 2021 review
Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture - front
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture 2021 review

The new Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture is the latest in a long line of special editions of the world’s favourite roadster
8 Jul 2021
Best sports cars 2021
Best Sports cars - header
Mazda MX-5

Best sports cars 2021

From the McLaren 720S to Mazda MX-5, these are the 10 sports cars that we think are the best on sale
3 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021