Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review
Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review

Another take on a limited-run MX-5, exclusively for the UK

Mazda’s feisty sports car has had plenty of admirers over the years, but that hasn’t stopped the company from producing a range of limited-run editions. And this is the latest one, limited to just 300 cars, all of which will be sold in the UK.

Even though this only appeared in March, there’s yet another limited-run special that has already come out since, the RF Sport Black, so is it worth searching out the Z-Sport?

Close your eyes while driving and you won’t notice any difference between the Z-Sport and the normal MX-5. That’s because all of the changes are cosmetic. On the other hand, driving with your eyes open is, on balance, recommended.

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport

Price: £25,620
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol
Power: 158bhp
Torque: 148lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1075kg
Top speed: 133mph
0-62mph: 7.3sec
Economy: 40.9mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 161g/km, 29%

This version is based on the Sport Nav, which is the top of the range MX-5, with the Z-Sport costing another £1215 over that model, at £25,620. The Sport Nav itself throws in a lot of kit, such as sat nav, Bose audio, climate and cruise control, and more. The Z-Sport doesn’t really add all that much to that extensive list, since it adds eye-catching 17-inch BBS alloys and the red roof fabric, offsetting the Machine Grey paintwork and sand leather seats.

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport interior

Underneath there is the 2.0-litre version of the four-cylinder engine, with its 158bhp. Torque is decent at 148lb ft but it doesn’t peak until 4600rpm, so to get the most out of it there’s no point in trying to trundle around in a high gear like you’re in a big V8.

On the other hand that gives you licence to go snickety-snik with the six-speed manual box and start exploring the rev range, which doesn’t peak until 6000rpm. There’s quite enough power to make fairly rapid progress but one of the attractions of the MX-5 is that you can hoon about, listening to the exciting, fizzing note of the engine, and yet you’re not going so unbelievably quickly that it’s scary or dangerous.

Handling is sharp and crisp, with good turn-in and quick steering, so there’s plenty to play with when you find an empty, twisting road. The Bilstein dampers and the rest of the uprated suspension that is included as part of the Sport Nav package add their own qualities here, although there is a marginal pay-off in ride firmness as the cost of the increased handling potential. Even so, this is hardly a tough car to drive quickly or more steadily.

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review

This isn’t a big car, so cabin space is limited, as is stowage space and boot space, but you probably weren’t expecting the sort of luggage potential of a Mercedes E-Class Estate anyway. It’s comfy and smart and the sand leather adds a touch of class to what is anyway a well-built cabin.

Should you splurge your £1215 on this limited-edition model or stick with the main event and save the money? It depends on how much you want to stand out, how much appearances count. Actually, this model is predicted to hold its value fractionally better than a standard model, so perhaps that’ll push you towards a decision. But, with only 300 out there, you’d better decide soon.

Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport review

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