The Anniversary Edition does not receive any power gains.
30 years ago at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, Mazda debuted a vehicle that no one expected to achieve the level of success it has now. It was a small two-seat, rear-drive roadster aimed to continue the ethos classic European sports cars of the 50s and 60s. The grand reveal was the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Mazda sold over 400,000 units in its first generation from 1989 to 1997. Over its 30-year history there have been four generations of the car, each with varying levels of success. The Miata generated a cult following from driving enthusiasts that adored the MX-5’s simplicity and driving dynamics.
The fourth and current generation of the MX-5 codenamed “ND” was released with great anticipation and success., fulfilling all of its expectation receive high praise from all outlets. The 2019 Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition is released to commemorate the years of success and thanking drivers for 30 years of support. Let’s take a deeper look into what this limited edition offers.
As part of the 30th Anniversary Edition, Mazda has thrown in a beautiful set of 17-inch lightweight forged Rays Engineering alloys finished in dark gunmetal with special engraving. The body is also given a unique colour, “Racing Orange”, that sets this MX-5 apart from the rest. On the driver side there is a numbered plaque giving the MX-5 a unique identifier out of the 3,000 units produced worldwide. It still has a beautiful nose with a short rear end and muscular fenders. The glittering dark wheels contrast with the sharp racing orange, really emphasizing all of the beautiful details.
The Racing Orange is also used in the interior on the door panels, and the air vents have an accent ring that is colour matched with the body. Interior materials receive an upgrade with use of Nappa leather and Alcantara. Interior trim bits including the steering wheel, shift boot and handbrake are contrast stitched with a special orange lining. The centerpiece of the interior is a pair of Recaro sport seats that are leather and Alcantara trimmed with orange piping. The seats hug you in the torso without the bolsters being too intrusive, and provide excellent support of your back and thighs. There was minimal fatigue on my longer drives in the MX-5.
The dashboard has a three-gauge set up with a large tachometer in the middle as the main focus, with a small speedometer on the right. The left gauge is a 4.6-inch multi-information display for your trip and vehicle information. Even though the MX-5 meant to be a tiny roadster with the most visceral experience, the ergonomics and ample creature comforts are still there to ensure you can enjoy your long top-down cruises.
In terms of interior amenities, the MX-5 comes well equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Mazda Connect. A Premium Bose system with nine speakers can play your favourite tunes off Sirius XM or your own mobile device. An added feature in the new model is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which significantly improves connectivity and ease of use. Even though the MX-5 comes standard with native navigation, it is always easier to find routes and destination using enhanced connectivity features with your mobile device.
The Anniversary Edition MX-5 does not receive any power gains. It is powered by the same Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder 16-valve engine producing 181 horsepower at 7,000RPM and 151 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000RPM. It must be noted that this engine is new for 2019, significantly improving power by 26 horsepower and raising the redline from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm. Despite pedestrian power figures, the engine pairs with a slick six-speed manual transmission to provide exhilarating acceleration. The lightweight body results in an excellent power to weight ratio resulting in performance that rivals more powerful sport cars. The combination of a high revving engine and manual transmission provides the purest driving sensation.
The suspension setup also remains unchanged in this model; it retains the perfect Bilstein sport-tuned suspension. A limited-slip differential helps to put the power down evenly between the rear wheels allowing you to either grip or slide out of the corner, allowing for the highest level of control. To ensure you can stop on a dime, Mazda equips this MX-5 with a pair of Brembo calipers up front. All controls are very light and natural without feeling overly assisted. There is a mechanical connection to all inputs. The steering is light but very direct and you feel it bite into the corners with sharp turn in. The MX-5 puts on display the driving dynamics which have made it the most popular roadster over the past 30 years.
The MX-5 treats drivers with an incredible driving experience while being extremely efficient. Mazda Canada predicts 9.0L/100km in city driving and 7.0L/100km on the highway. During my week of testing I was able to average 8.9L/100km in mostly city driving. I do not believe there is any other sports car on the market that achieves the same level of efficiency. Premium fuel is required for optimal performance.
Our tester is a range topper at an as tested price of $44,200, though the MX-5 starts at $32,900 at the base GX trim. It enjoys a unique market as there are no other lightweight roadsters on the market at this price point. The Toyota 86 (reviewed here) is another rare naturally aspirated, rear-drive offering that’s a close competitor. The 86 starts at $29,990, but does not provide the open top driving experience. Another rival would be the MX-5’s twin, the Fiat 124 Spider. At a base price of $31,795, the 124 has more low-end grunt but is missing the raw feeling of the MX-5’s drivetrain.
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition is the embodiment of the history of this roadster. The car is small and nimble yet refined enough the soak up road trips. The open top experience combined with a lightweight dynamic chassis has become a very rare breed. The MX-5 is now the benchmark and blueprint for a true roadster. It must be celebrated to ensure the market does not forget the magic of simplicity. The added touch of this limited edition makes car more unique from the rest. It calls for all the attention to show everyone what 30 years of MX-5 is all about.