The point of spending a year with this car, however, is not just so we can get our jollies in one of the best-driving sports cars around. Rather, we want to know if we could truly live with this car every day. Top-down blasts on summer evenings are great, but we’re curious whether we’ll tire of the Miata when we need to use it as a normal car. Will the small trunk and relatively modest engine output have us leaving the Mazda at the office and taking a hot hatch home instead? Will the sporty ride and seats have us visiting a chiropractor after a few months?
To sate our need for cornering thrills, we ordered the most performance-focused version of the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Club. Compared to the base Sport model, it adds a limited-slip differential, a front strut-tower brace, and Bilstein dampers. We paid another $3,400 for the Brembo/BBS package that comprises ultra-cool and ultra-light black 17-inch BBS wheels, larger Brembo front brakes with red calipers, pushbutton start, and sportier side skirts. Other standard features include a touchscreen infotainment system, power everything, and a defroster for the convertible top’s rear window. At $32,820, our car is pricey by Miata standards, but it’s still the cheapest rear-wheel-drive roadster you can buy today.
If we’d paid for the top-level Grand Touring trim, we could have fitted our Miata with goodies such as navigation, heated leather seats, and even a blind-spot warning system. But we figured those toys would just add weight and complexity to our roadster, so we kept it simple.
After our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata was delivered to our Los Angeles office, we immediately set off north to turn laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With fewer than 1,000 miles on the car’s odometer when we hit the track, it was hardly the recommended way to break in a new car. Nonetheless, the car zipped around the 2.2-mile circuit all day trouble-free, and its sticky summer tires and upgraded brakes held up without fuss.
For the remainder of our yearlong test, we’ll put the MX-5 to work in regular driving as much as back-road blasts. It’s well-established that we adore the Miata when we’re on a curvy road or a racetrack. Is it still satisfying on rainy-day commutes, grocery runs, or road trips on the freeway? Will 155 hp be enough when fighting L.A. traffic on the 405? Will we get tinnitus when covering long distances with the top down?
There’s only one way to find out, and we’re looking forward to piling on the miles in search of an answer.
|Body style||2-door front-engine RWD convertible|
|Base price (with dest.)||$29,420|
|Engine||16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4|
|Displacement||2.0 liters (106 cu in)|
|Power||155 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||148 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm|
|EPA Fuel Economy||27/34/30 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Turning circle||380.8 ft|
|Suspension, Front||control arms, coil spring|
|Suspension, Rear||multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes F/R||Vented front discs, solid rear discs|
|Tires F/R||Bridgestone Potenza S001|
|Tire size F/R||205/45R 17|
|Shoulder room||52.2 in|
|Track F/R||58.9/59.17 in|
|L x W x H||154.1 x 68.3 x 48,8 in|
|Cargo capacity (up/down)||4.59 cu ft in|
|Weight||2,296 lb (Our tests show 2,312)|
|Weight dist. F/R||52/48 %|
|Fuel capacity||11.89 gal|
|Est. fuel range||404 miles|
|Fuel grade||91 octane (premium)|
Sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, shock tower brace
|OPTIONS FOR THIS VEHICLE:||Brembo/BBS Package ($3,400)
Brembo front brakes with red calipers
17-inch forged aluminum BBS wheels
Advanced keyless entry
Aero kit: side sill extensions and rear bumper skirt
Ceramic Metallic paint: $0
Appearance package for Club ($0)
Front air dam
Rear lip spoiler