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Car reviews - Mazda - MX-5 - convertible range


Mazda's gen-III MX-5 a fitting replacement for the world's top-selling sportscar

8 Sep 2005

IF you haven’t heard of the Japanese term "jinba ittai" you’ll start to hear a lot about it when the new MX-5 is mentioned. The term is Japanese for "rider and horse as one". And while we’re usually not enamoured with car-company marketing jargon, the phrase is thoroughly appropriate for a car that in reality makes the driver feel like he’s at one with the car. The third-generation MX-5 is just 4kg heavier than the old model but bigger, safer and stronger. The engine is also more powerful but at no point does it overwhelm what must be one of the best two-seaters around for under $50,000. The dynamics are superb, suspension first-rate and the design pays homage to the first and second-generation cars but also pushes boundaries.

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Model release date: 1 September 2005 to 1 March 2009

Previous model

Mazda MX-5

Released: March 1998
Ended: August 2005
Family Tree: MX-5

The MX-5 was virtually unchanged since its introduction here in October 1989 until 1997. There were some limited edition models and a larger 1.8-litre engine in 1993 but the essence of the car remained – a stylish, soft-top two seater. In March 1998, the all-new second-generation two-seater arrived with new sheetmetal and no pop-up headlights. Although some traditionalists were furious the shape has ensured the MX-5 remained a classic. In October 2000, the MX-5 was tweaked a bit more - given a new front bumper, bigger alloy wheels, subtle head and tail-light changes and a power increase courtesy of variable valve timing. The arrival of the third-generation MX-5 harnesses the attributes of its forefathers without diluting the driving experience.

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