The changes constituting the Mazda MX-5’s first refresh apply to both the roadster and RF versions. The subtle revisions are largely superficial, although Mazda has updated the chassis to further refine the long-standing, small sportscar formula.
The bulk of the changes revolve around cosmetic personalisation, with Mazda offering a larger selection of colour and trim choices for the 2018 models. There are deeper changes to the steering and suspension which should sharpen the handling, too.
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According to Mazda, the handling characteristics are better served by its core Jinba-ittai (horse and rider as one) philosophy; a rear-suspension retune and a recalibration of the power steering are the noted changes with the integral 50:50 weight distribution remaining intact. Whether these modifications address the excessive roll at ten-tenths we’ll have to wait and see. Mazda also claim improvements in NVH levels and ride quality courtesy of the adjustment.
The choice between the two inline-fours is unchanged. The smaller, 1.5-litre is good for 129bhp, with the torquier 2-litre developing 29bhp more. The extra swept volume is most welcome in everyday driving when you don’t have to work the larger engine as hard. The roadster is exclusively mated to a six-speed manual transmission, whereas you can specify the RF with an automatic ‘box with the same number of ratios.
Mazda has enlarged the choice of paint colours with new grey and metallic red finishes. RF buyers can now also opt for a two-tone colour scheme on the retractable hardtop. Roadster owners aren't excluded from roof-based customisation, Mazda has introduced a dark cherry roof option.
There's more choice when it comes to trimming your interior as well, with Auburn leather upholstery extending the options list. Although the raft of changes have yet to be sanctioned for UK-specification cars, it’s safe to say they should transfer over, especially with buyers continuously seeking a greater degree of personalisation.