mx-5 27

The latest Mazda MX-5 is over 100 kg lighter than before, has perfect 50:50 weight distribution and is very desirable to enthusiasts, but some complain that the NA-only roadster (155 hp/200 Nm 2.0L or 129 hp/150 Nm 1.5L) is not fast enough. They would probably have said the same about Japan’s other great driver’s car, the Toyota 86.

Well, speed is not everything and you’re missing the point. “It’s important not to get hung up on numbers. Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power. In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” MX-5 programme manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto told Top Gear.

Yamamoto san, who was behind Mazda’s Le Mans-winning 787B prototype, also said that the ND won’t get more engine derivatives, meaning what you see now is what you will get, full stop. Want something more hardcore? The MX-5 Club is the max.

“We had five philosophies when developing the new MX-5. One, it has to be a front-midship car. Second, it has to have a compact body and be an open-topped two seater. Third, it has to have 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. Fourth, there must be low inertia movement. Five, it’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” the sifu explained.

TG continued pressing, this time on forced induction. “I never considered using a turbo, because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car. What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important,” Yamamoto stressed.

I’ll have to stop nodding now, as the couple from the next table is starting to give me strange looks. Kanpai, Yamamoto san.