My first ever track experience was when I was a child and it was here, at Circuit de Charade... back in the days the Circuit de Charade has a section used as a public road. My parents sometimes had to go through this section of the track to see some dude of my family. I still remember my father going very slow on the kerbs driving the Peugeot 505. Now, my last track experience so far was in this typical race track, driving the silly Nissan Nismo GT-R, it was a bit emotional I have to say.  

It was VERY strange to see that car infront of my grand mother's house...

So what more do we get from this Sport Pack edition (Sélection) ? In addition to the equipment available on the Dynamics and Elegance, the Selection offers some treats of high fly suitable for escape on winding roads as we will see later. Among them, Recaro Alcantara heated seats featuring an excellent Bose audio system, rear parking assist, an approaching vehicle warning system and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels called "Bright Dark", that's all. ? Not really ... Add to this cocktail the mighty adaptive directional headlights whose traffic lights are managed automatically but also and especially a set of Bilstein Sport suspensions and a limited slip differential ... The tone is given!

In case you missed it. 


Under the hood ? To freshen up your memory, we have to deal with the 2 L SKYACTIV-G, a long-stroke (83.5 mm x 91.2 mm) direct injection engine with a variable valve timing for the intake producing 160hp at 6000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4600rpm located in a midship layout position. As a transmission we find the same SKYACTIV-G as the 1.5L version. Yes, the same baby able to animate the 131ch is also responsible for transmitting power to the rear wheels of 2 liter! As a comparisons, this gearbox and final drive ratio has the same gear ratio as the transmission of a GT86 yet showing more than 200kg extra weight and a similar max torque perched 2000rpm higher than in our Roadster! In order to make the most of this promising mechanism, the rear axle is fitted with a limited slip differential. 


Small sting reminder on the ND, we find as it was the case on the previous MX-5 the now legendary layout called PPF (Power Plant Frame) brought up to date, a double wishbones suspension for the front and a multi-link suspension for the back. The massive use of aluminum alloy on suspension parts as well as the creation of a brand new rear cross member will have contributed to the economy of not less than 100kg compared to the old generation! Which by domino effect, has allowed the manufacturer to reduce the size of the brakes (280mm fr / rr against 290mm fr) and therefore lose more weight on the unsprung masses in addition to a return to the 4x100 PCD, as it was the case on the first two generations! Our selection Sport Pack benefits from exclusive Bilstein dampers allowing the Bridgestone 205 / 45r17 an optimal contact with the road in all circumstances. 

A the wheel !

My destination?  Monaco! Because of a short Timing, the first part of my trip was made on the highway until Grenoble where it was time to leave the too monotonous and expensive strips of highway asphalt in favor of the mountain passes much more aesthetic and fun. That said the paying parts of the trip allowed me to realize the quality of the Bose sound system built into the Recaro seats, it could not be better to discover the brand new Pusha T album. At legal speeds (and a little more), top down, we had plenty of time to enjoy the smallest details of production of this album without having to push the sound in its last entrenchments. But before that, in common with all the other ND, we were able to rediscover the pleasant sensation of the throttle pedal mounted on the floor, a detail perhaps, but huge gains of pleasure and comfort over long distances. For the record, the NC having been the first MX-5 to offer a "bywire" system for the accelerator, many aftermarket conversion kit to pass the pedal on the ground were available and it it would seem that Mazda was not insensitive to that ! Hat off Mazda ! For the rest, the comfort of the Recaro seats is flawless and keeps them irreproachable turned out to be a great ally in the appreciation of the chassis ... 

Mountain passes !

The twisty roads between Grenoble and GAP allowed me to realize that I was "at home", everything reminds me of the NA / NB, the handling of the gear lever, the reactivity from the steering but with the precision of a constant braking feelinf on top of that. In long climbs, I was surprised by the availability of the 2.0l that is full in all circumstances! No empty rev range, an angry temperament that we owe to a contained weight and a perfect gearing. The ESP on for the first kilometers allows me to feel the car and to play with its limits without scaring me so far, the long uphill curves prove to be a perfect judge about  the roadster stability driving sportively, while the hairpins call for braking which has never shown any sign of fatigue. Once in the Alps, the turns were tightening a little, but the density of  traffic did not allow me to print the desired rhythm. Never mind, the vocalizations of the SKYACTIV-G will give away to my playlist and we will give all the leisure to enjoy the aggressive panorama. Taken by the time, it is by the A51 hightway that I've join the regional natural park of Verdon. Until then I had an average consumption of 7.7L / 100km.

Joy !

Now, it was the time where the Sport Pack really made sense. We are in the Parc Naturel du Verdon, the night slowly begins to fall, clouds are as rare as onlookers and the ESP is now disconnected. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, the first kilometers are punctuated by long banking curves in which I throw the roadster from clipping points to clipping points with a joyable intuitive ease! The famous "Jinba Ittai" stands out here as ever, the brakings are more and more lates and the MX-5 continues to transmit the smallest information from its chassis via the excellent Recaro bucket seats. Still top down, the tires tells me wonderfully their states of mind indicating that I still have some margin. At the approach of the Lake of Sainte Croix de Verdon, the sequences are tightening and highlight the incredible reactivity of the adaptive directional headlights (unlike the auto management of the Beam lights). LED lighting, depending on the input on the steering wheel and the speed of the vehicle (among others) gives you a perfect visibility where you look at, an excellent ally for the night rides! The knowledge of the car confidence growing, allowed me to go beyond the limits of the roadster ... No tricky for a penny, as long as you do not entice you to maintain a hazardous drift on unknown territory, you can easily catch up with a slight counter-steering. An exhilarating gymnastics that you will like to repeat without ever getting tired of it... Despite the amount of late brakinks on downhill sequences, I never felt any fadding sensation or triggered the ABS. Likewise for the engine temperature which has never moved from its minimum operating range. A striking constancy that will give you the feeling of being able to run like this for ever until the gasoline indicator lights up in the middle nowhere... On these rather irregular and hilly portions of the road, the Bilstein damping offers you a pleasant confidence allowing you to use and abuse the machinary in its last entrenchments with a serenity as exhilarating as gratifying! And it was the same on these same wet roads I drove on the way back, offering you the luxury of being able to maintain your voluntary slides! It's as if the cream of Mazda engineers made the NA or NB of your dreams according to your own expectations, everything that was expected from previous generations is inoculated with success in this one.

Monaco :

At Monaco, in the midst of Italian and German supercars,I were able to see the sympathy of the Roadster, some onlookers even gave me a thumb up. Far from being ostentatious, its small size and its design mini F-Type like,  inspires more a passionate owner than wanker, which is not to disappoint me. For the record I've overtook a Abarthe 124 Spider on the highway greeting the owner, who responded with a certain enthusiasm, it was obviously the same with the few MX-5 I met on my journey. For the rest, the heavy traffic of Monaco during a GP Week-end allowed me to pester a few times about the navi joystick position. Indeed when your wrist starts to tire by going into neutral to benefit from the Start n Stop, it happens that you press the button unexpectedly, randomly sending you to another navigation , radio or other menu. Otherwise make sure you have at hand (in the door glove box) what you need most, because  if you opt for the central storage, you will need a talent of contortionist to reach them . The same is true for cup holders. Do not try to grab your drink with your right hand (for the driver), but with your left hand, which will make the maneuver much easier. Having run 95% of the time, I will admit that the parking aid was not very useful but no doubt about its relevance once the car is covered. 

If you plan to leave for many miles in the middle of the summer, you will be forced to refill the windshield fluid reservoir, the capacity of the tank is as short as the previous ones, so at each pause ahead and do not hesitate to fill it up! This same washer which, if you have the misfortune to trigger it while you face a side wind or ¾  front one, will not hesitate to come and refresh your ideas! Also fitted on the Dynamic finish, the lane departure warning will save you from too much intrusive "beep" in favor of a much more elegant solution. Indeed, it will just lower the sound of the speaker on the side you crossed the line, replacing it with the sound of a rough strip for a much more natural and less stressful feeling,very enjoyable on long journeys. If there is one point on which the MX-5 will not have convinced me, it is on its automatic management of high beam. Like many manufacturers (including the premium Lexus) this technology is almost random and will reward you with many calls from other users. The very low shape of the roadster does not helps at all, especially on national roads where the system will have even turned on the high beams while I were just behind a SUV, which, certainly upset, did not fail to leave like a frightened octopus in a typical shipped diesel engine smoked plume. That said, this option is fortunately dis-connectable and you will have all the time to operate the headlights manually. To finish on the points to improve, a touchier ON-OFF type steering wheel controls would have been a plus. I ended the trip with a 8,1L/100km with a very playful driving style all the way long. Scroll till the end to get the conclusion please ! 

This MX-5 in Sport Pack is neither more nor less than the dream of any MX-5 owner. Whether from the  engine, chassis, braking it's impossible to blame the NS. This latest version of the Mazda roadster seems to be the interpretation of the ultimate driving pleasure according to Mazda, or a "Fuck off"  to the "SUV Everything" whose current market is so fond of. At 32050 € TTC it is the best price pleasure ratio right now without any direct competition. Hell yes, for the bravest of you, my interlocutor at Mazda told me that a strongest version of 20 extra horses was about to be announced, business to follow ...

Price: 32050€ TTC