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Driven: Mazda MX-5 R-Sport. Image by Mazda UK.

Driven: Mazda MX-5 R-Sport
Another day, another Mazda MX-5 special edition. Itís a little corker, though.

   



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Mazda M X-5 R-Sport

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: it's an MX-5 1.5-litre roadster, so it's a proper belter

Not so good: we've already moved onto the next MX-5 special model now...

Key Facts

Model tested: Mazda MX-5 1.5 132 R-Sport
Price: MX-5 range from £24,055; R-Sport as tested £27,700
Engine: 1.5-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door roadster
CO2 emissions: 142g/km (VED Band 131-150: £220 in year one, then £155 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 44.8mpg
Top speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Power: 132hp at 7,000rpm
Torque: 152Nm at 4,500rpm
Boot space: 130 litres

Our view:

We'll keep this oh-so-short and sweet. Here's a Mazda MX-5 special edition, called the R-Sport. It's finished in Polymetal Grey metallic with a Burgundy Nappa leather interior and, as it's a Roadster and not an RF, the fabric lid is light grey. In the wheel arches are 16-inch RAYS alloys, which are unique to the R-Sport, and under the bonnet is the smaller, 132hp 1.5-litre Skyactiv-G engine (it's basically an MX-5 1.5 Sport Roadster as the basis car). As well as Piano Black door mirrors and an equipment list including cruise control, heated seats, climate control and an infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the R-Sport's final feather in its cap is that just 150 examples have been confirmed for the UK.

So what's it like? Well, it's brilliant, isn't it? Come on, it's an ND (fourth-gen) MX-5. OK, so in recent years we've come to reckon the 184hp derivation of the 2.0-litre engine is superior to the 132hp 1.5 found here, but anyone who takes the plunge on the R-Sport is going to get all of the Mazda's wondrous handling attributes, its gem-like powertrain, its magnificent manual gearbox and the brilliant wind-in-the-hair driving experience that you'd get from any other MX-5. Only with natty grey paint and a sumptuously appointed interior. You won't get many finer roadsters than the Mazda, even if you spend twice the cash on them that this special model costs. Which is £27,700, by the way, and for that money you get every bit of equipment already listed as standard; there are no paint and trim options, it's the Polymetal and Burgundy combo or nothing.

Except, we ought to have said 'that this special model used to cost'. Because the R-Sport has already sold out and been superseded by another special edition, also based on the MX-5 1.5 Sport Roadster and also costing about the same price (it's a bit cheaper, actually, at £27,615, but there are an extra ten cars available in a total UK run of 160 units). That one's called the MX-5 Venture. It will most likely be brilliant too. Nevertheless, it means if you fancy the unfortunately named R-Sport (did no one check the phonetics on this for our country first? No? Oh), you'll be looking for one of the 150 motors on the used market. On the basis of 225 miles with this lovely little MX-5 special edition, it will be well worth the effort of seeking out if you really adore the aesthetic. We wouldn't blame you in the slightest if you do.

Alternatives:

BMW Z4 sDrive20i: the Z4 2.0-litre represents much greater expenditure than the Mazda MX-5 for far lesser reward. It's a fine roadster, as these things go, but the Japanese icon is its dynamic superior in every single regard.

Toyota Supra 2.0: there is (SHOCK! HORROR! Look away now, Mazda fans!) a roadster which drives better than the MX-5 and it's this one. Mind, move fast if you want an Elise, because Lotus is killing it off in 2021. Oh, and you'll need 45 grand for the privilege of Final Edition ownership.

Mazda MX-5 184: sad you've missed out on the R-Sport? The new Venture doesn't float your boat as much, because it lacks for much in the way of burgundy? Then why not just buy yourself a 2.0-litre MX-5? It'll be flippin' ace.


Matt Robinson - 20 Oct 2020



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2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.

2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport UK test. Image by Mazda UK.








 

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