Entry-level Mazda MX-5 gets BBR turbo treatment

BBR tunes the 1.5-litre Mazda MX-5 boosting power to 210bhp

Tuning specialist BBR has revealed its first turbocharger upgrade for the current 1.5-litre Mazda MX-5. Available for both the soft-top roadster and RF versions, the bespoke Stage One installation raises power to 210bhp and torque to 197lb ft.

Following on from the success of its Stage One turbo conversion of the larger 2-litre model, BBR has used similar twin-scroll compressor technology for the 1.5-litre unit. The TSX28-67R turbo features a billet compressor wheel and low inertia turbine for maximum response, while the cast iron housing features an integrated wastegate. When mounted to BBR’s own manifold and fed through an air-to-air intercooler the set-up boosts power to 210bhp, an increase of 81bhp over the standard car, while torque swells by 86lb ft to 197lb ft.

> Mazda MX-5 review

BBR’s engineers have tried hard to maintain the standard car’s revvy nature, with peak torque arriving at 4150rpm (although a minimum of 150lb ft is available from just 3000rpm). The Starchip EcuTek RaceRom ECU has also been tweaked to boost drivability, with the calibration for the boost, ignition and fuel being tweaked accordingly. As BBR managing director Neil McKay claims, ‘For the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engine, the main development effort focussed on turbo matching to suit our desired twin goals of transforming the everyday driving performance, whilst maintaining the rev-free nature of the smaller power unit.”

While the performance of the car promises to be significantly improved, BBR has attempted to make the changes as visually subtle as possible. All the extra pipework is finished in the same black as used on the factory standard cars, while the only modification to the exhaust runs to a stainless steel downpipe, the rest of the system remains unchanged. Crucially, with no internal changes to the engine, the whole system can be easily removed, returning the car to showroom condition.

Prices for the Stage One kit start at £4395 for a do-it-yourself kit, rising to £4995 for a turnkey installation by BBR.

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