Check out the latest Life on Cars!

Check out the latest Life on Cars!

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

EVERYTHING will go back to normal. I know this because just about the most normal thing in motoring has just happened; Mazda has launched a special edition MX-5.

Knowing that Mazda is on the verge of launching a special edition MX-5 is like predicting that your clock is about to tick or that Ant is probably going to pick Dec as his next co-presenter. It happens with such unremitting regularity that it probably isn’t all that special any more. Some, like the Tenth Anniversary back in 1999, are remembered for doing something interesting – like introducing a sixth gear for the car’s UK fans for the first time – and are, in car terms at least, quite collectible these days. Then there’s the BBR Turbo, which gave the MX-5’s earliest iterations a welcome dollop of forced induction, and the Le Mans, which has a magnificently daft paint job modelled – surprise, surprise – on Mazda’s 1991 Le Mans winner but was limited to just 24 examples in the UK. Apologies, George Orwell, but all are manufactured by robots in a Hiroshima factory equal, but some are more equal than others.

Others are just a succession of bright colours and vaguely evocative names.  Berkeley. California. Monaco. Indiana. The list goes on. There’s even, if you dial the levels of automotive anorak-ness up to 11, a website that chronicles each and every special edition  MX-5 – the point being that they’re not particularly special anymore. In the same way that all snowflakes (and I mean the cold ones, not the ones The Daily Express moans about) are individual.

So the MX-5 R Sport, then, probably isn’t all that special, even though it’s limited to just 150 examples across the UK – but I still like it. If I bought one I wouldn’t feel like I’m even remotely within some exclusive club, but I like the gunmetal grey alloy wheels and the way they set off the equally moody Polymetal Grey paint. Even the roof, if you do decide to stop having fun, is grey rather than black, and I think the burgundy leather seats brightening things up on the inside works a treat.

Of course, under the skin it’s still exactly the same as any other fourth-generation MX-5 – so you get the same rev-happy 1.5-litre engine, good for 130bhp, the same addictively snappy six-speed manual box, and scalpel-sharp ride and handling. You wouldn’t particularly want to alter something that already works brilliantly, but if you’re not fussed by having fifty shades of grey on your MX-5, you can save £3000 and get the standard car.

Or do what I’ve done – wait, and buy a secondhand one. I’m just glad that Mazda’s still at it – coronavirus can do all the damage it wants, but as long as there are special edition MX-5s there’s some semblance of normality.

David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly

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