With all the focus on the latest, fourth-generation MX-5, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the third generation model it supersedes.
It’d be a shame to dismiss it though, when the cars are so affordable and still offer that desirable front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout.
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They still make compelling performance cars too, with the right aftermarket treatment. One of the best-known MX-5 specialists, BBR, has developed a new Super 225 package for the third-gen model that offers a significant power upgrade for the 2.0-litre cars.
What’s more, the package consists of naturally-aspirated tuning, rather than the more common turbocharging route. While it doesn’t quite match the 260-380bhp figures realised by BBR’s own turbocharger conversions, the kit should appeal to those for whom there’s no substitute for screaming top-end power.
The pack consists of a BBR-developed 4-into-1 exhaust manifold, high performance intake and exhaust camshafts, 3.5-inch tailpipes and engine breather system.
There’s also a set of individual throttle bodies, inlet extensions, 20mm alloy inlet ram pipes and a ramair foam air filter, yet the pack retains the original Mazda electronics system in an effort to reduce cost.
The upshot is 224.9bhp at 7900rpm, 67bhp up on the standard car. The engine isn’t as peaky as this figure suggests though, with over 150bhp available all the way from 4500rpm to the 8000rpm rev limiter.
Torque also jumps to 175lb ft at 4500rpm – 28lb ft brawnier than standard – but again, there’s a broad spread of over 150lb ft from 3200rpm to the rev limiter.
BBR’s Neil Mckay calls it the ‘ultimate normally aspirated parting gift’ for the third-generation car. Cost-wise, the Super 225 kit ranges from £3490 for those wishing to fit it themselves, to £4295 for a ‘drive-in, drive-out’ installation. BBR customers with the existing Super 200 kit get a reduced price of £2495 fitted.