Mazda MX-5 turns 20

Minor styling tweaks and an automatic paddle-shift gearbox mark the MX-5’s big 2-0

The new 2009 MX-5 has had a bit of a facelift; there’s a new five-point lower air intake, new head and tail-lights, new front foglamp housings and restyled bumpers and side sills.

The Roadster Coupe is differentiated from its soft-top brother with a new meshed front grill and a splash of chrome on the headlamps and door handles.

Four powertrains are offered on the latest model – the 126bhp 1.8i, or the new 160bhp 2.0i with a five-speed or six-speed manual or alternatively the 2.0i with the new six-speed ‘Powershift’ automatic gearbox with paddle-changes. The best option for outright speed is the six-speed manual 2.0i which hits 60mph in 7.9 seconds, the ‘Powershift’ 2.0i, on the other hand, takes a full second longer.

As a car famous for its handling the 2009 MX-5 has a lot to live up to; Mazda engineers have fitted a revised double wishbone set-up which should see more responsive handling and better cornering.

Mazda is also claiming a drop in emissions and improvement in economy, with the 1.8i seeing a decrease from 38.7mpg to 40.4mpg. With the 2.0i hooked up to the six-speed manual fuel consumption shows a small decrease from 36.7mpg to 37.2mpg. Every little helps...

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