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

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

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 convertible

Mazda MX-5 review

29 Mar 2019
Mazda MX-5 convertible

Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition revealed

5 Mar 2019
Mazda MX-5 convertible

Best Mazda MX-5 special editions

11 Feb 2019

Most Popular

Ford Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review

Some might suggest the UK is falling out of love with family hatchbacks, but the Focus EcoBoost is a good reminder of why it remains a compelling pack…
9 Dec 2019

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 hypercar revealed

A true successor to the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed more about its spectacular T.50 hypercar
10 Dec 2019

McLaren 620R goes for the GT3 RS jugular

Limited run extreme Sports Series McLaren 620R road car brings GT4 aero to the road.
9 Dec 2019
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019