In April 2016, the Mazda MX-5 reached 1 million cars produced, maintaining its crown as the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car. This Japanese roadster has always had a focus on affordable fun, so enjoy the fun of driving this iconic car with the best sports car hire Melbourne has to offer.
The Mazda MX-5 first appeared at the Chicago Motor Show in February 1989, when Mazda took the wraps off this lightweight, affordable sports car that would go on to be the best-selling two-seater convertible in history. The name MX-5 stood for Mazda Experiment and project number 5, taking over 7 years of design, engineering and testing before being released in May 1989. The Mazda MX-5 became the spiritual successor of the British sports cars of the 1950s & '60s, such as the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB and it was heavily influenced by the Lotus Elan.
Over the past 27 years, there have been four models of the MX-5 released:
The original model MX-5, known as the NA, was launched with a 1.6 litre engine of 85 Kw, a five-speed manual transmission and its characteristic pop-up headlights. There was an update to 1.8 litre engine in 1994, but it was never about the power, drivers were amazed at the handling and spectacular balance to flaunt its 950kg kerb weight, leaving the driver with a big smile on their face.
The 2nd generation MX-5 arrived in 1998, without it’s pop-up headlights due to pedestrian safety concerns. Known as the NB model, its sleeker looks made it look wider than its predecessor. Once you add in the options, the NB MX-5 increased its weight by 115kg. In 2001, a facelift for the NB saw the introduction of variable valve timing and a six-speed manual transmission.
In 2005, the 3rd generation or NC model was released. This car was a complete overhaul for the MX-5, with a more aggressive look from the flared wheel arches. Within two years of release, Mazda offered a power retractable hard top (PRHT) option for the first time. Two updates of the NC extended its life to ten years.
By 2015, many felt that the MX-5 had become too heavy and that Mazda had moved the MX-5 too far from the original NA models lightweight, affordable sports car mantra. So, when the 4th generation MX-5 was released to the public in September 2014, there was great anticipation on what Mazda would do to bring back that original feeling of the NA model from 1989. The ND MX-5 is shorter than the original and weighs in at 1000kg, lighter than its two predecessors. With SKYACTIV technology, there was a choice of two engines, a 1.5 litre or 2.0 litres. In late 2016, a new MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) model was announced. It features a rigid roof and buttresses that give the silhouette a more coupé-like appearance than the soft top convertible.
There is an appreciation that while there are common themes across all four generations of MX-5, the evolutionary process has made for interesting differences. In some ways, it's a case of the more the MX-5 has changed, the more the MX-5 has stayed the same. And in others, it has genuinely moved with the times. In any case, there is one thing hasn't changed over the last 27 years; the MX-5 remains a lot of fun to drive and is just as engaging today as it was when it first arrived.
Don't miss an opportunity to drive the world's bestselling sports car with sports car hire in Melbourne from Open Road Roadsters.