BBR Super 175 - Third-gen MX-5 1.8 gets welcome power boost

Oft-overlooked 1.8-litre MX-5 now makes almost 100bhp per litre

The third-generation Mazda MX-5 1.8 was something of an underdog even before the new fourth-generation MX-5 came along with better looks and a lighter chassis.

Now, Brackley-based BBR has extended its tuning expertise to the less powerful of the “NC” MX-5s with a new Super 175 package.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Alterations follow a similar theme to that of both the newer MX-5s and BBR’s existing Super 200 package for the third-generation 2-litre cars.

Pleasingly, it’s almost all “old-school” tuning methods owing to the car’s naturally-aspirated engine. It starts with a pair of camshafts with different timing and lift profiles to the standard car, helping increase both the spread of power and the peak output. Breathing is further enhanced with a new panel air filter and a 4-into-1 tubular exhaust manifold, while an ECU upgrade manages the alterations wrought by the physical changes.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The result is not just a peak output of 175bhp at 7300rpm compared to an official 124bhp at 6500rpm from the standard 1.8 - a 51bhp gain, or 39bhp as measured on BBR’s dyno. Torque too has increased to 143lb ft (from 123lb ft), but BBR also claims significant power gains from 3000rpm, so it’s not all about top-end power.

The standard exhaust system has been retained to the benefit of long-distance comfort and subtlety, but a pair of tailpipe trims allow it to stand out a little more than the regular car, while a small spoiler and BBR badging are equally low-key.

> Also read: Mazda MX-5 review

Pricing starts at £1914 (including VAT) if you’re prepared to fit everything yourself, or £2394 for a drive-in drive-out installation. BBR can also offer chassis upgrades for those wishing for a sharper drive as well as more performance.

Best of all, it’s possible to find early 1.8-litre MX-5s for as little as £3000 in the classifieds, so a tidy one of those would make a great basis for a fairly rapid, inexpensive sports car.



Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 Mk3 (NC) – review, history, prices and specs

23 Jun 2020
Mazda MX-5

2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport revealed

27 Apr 2020
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 refreshed for 2020

8 Jan 2020
Mazda MX-5

BBR Super 220 review

2 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020
Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake review

Good looks and stonking performance, if you can stomach the price tag
4 Jul 2020
Skoda Octavia vRS

Full 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS engine range detailed

Skoda’s engine range for the Octavia vRS topped by a 242bhp turbo petrol
3 Jul 2020
Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock revealed

The ancient Dodge Challenger lives on in new 807bhp widebody form – makes a Shelby GT500 look like a pedal car
3 Jul 2020