Mazda MX-5 Roadster named Best Sports Car for Value at the 2023 What Car? Awards

The 132ps Mazda MX-5 Exclusive-Line Roadster has been named ‘Best Sports Car for Value’ at the 2023 What Car? Car of the Year Awards. With this latest recognition from Britain’s leading car review title, the current fourth-generation of Mazda’s iconic sports car has won an award from What Car? every year since its debut in 2015.

Recognising the 132ps 1.5-litre Skyactiv-G Exclusive-Line in their annual awards, What Car? Editor Steve Huntingford said: “Nothing else for this kind of money gives you the true sports car experience. The MX-5 puts you in control of a peppy, responsive little engine that’s attached to one of the nicest manual gearboxes in the business. Meanwhile, the well-weighted steering serves up lots of feedback, and the suspension is firm enough for tidy cornering but won’t break your back when you’re ambling along.”

Since its debut at the 1989 Chicago Motor Show, across all four-generations the Mazda MX-5 has perfectly embodied Mazda’s famous Jinba Ittai ‘car-and-driver as one’ ethos, which combined with its style, fun factor and affordability has seen it become world’s bestselling two-seater sports car. As popular as ever, the Mazda MX-5 continues to be the performance halo of the Mazda range and the 10-model 2023 Mazda MX-5 range features four Roadster models and six Retractable Fastback RFs.

Available to order now, the 2023 Mazda MX-5 continues the winning formula that has seen more than 24,000 fourth-generation MX-5s sold in the UK since its launch in 2015. Featuring a new naming structure – convertible models now take the Roadster name used elsewhere around the globe, while the line-up features the newly named Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Homura trim levels.

As before, both the Roadster and Retractable Fastback RF models come with a choice of 1.5-litre 132ps and 184ps 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engines. For the 2023 model year the 1.5-litre Roadster is available in Prime-Line and Exclusive-Line grade, while the 184ps 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G Roadster is matched to Exclusive-Line and range-topping Homura grades.

As with the Roadster, the Prime-Line RF is powered by the 1.5-litre engine, while Exclusive-Line models can be specified with either the 1.5 or 2.0-litre engine and the range-topping Homura is exclusively matched to the 184ps 2.0-litre engine. In addition, 2.0-litre RFs in both trim levels come with the option to choose an automatic gearbox.

With the range starting at £25,800 for the 132ps Prime-Line Roadster, it’s the £28,100 132ps Exclusive-Line Roadster that What Car? pinpoint as their sweet spot of value and fun. Updates for the 2023 Mazda MX-5 include the addition of the Zircon Sand paint colour to the MX-5 for the first time, while Homura manual models will feature red Brembo front brake callipers.

As you’d expect for a car so famed for its dynamic abilities, the 2023 Mazda MX-5 retains the same award-winning mechanical set up as before. Introduced in September 2018, the updated 184ps version of the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine features lighter pistons and con-rod, plus upgraded camshafts, exhaust valves, fuel injectors, throttle valve and air intake, all of which increase performance over the 160ps version that featured in the fourth-generation MX-5 at launch in 2015. As a result, the engine has a redline of 7,500rpm. In addition with higher fuel pressure and more efficient combustion than the 160ps version, there’s an increase in torque across the rev range, while peak torque rises by 5Nm.

As before 2.0-litre cars with the manual gearbox have a front strut brace, limited slip differential and Bilstein dampers as standard, while all MX-5 models feature Kinematic Posture Control (KPC). Mazda’s KPC system is designed to increase stability during cornering without impacting the purity of the MX-5’s handling and driver engagement. The KPC system applies a very small amount of brake force to the inner/unloaded rear wheel during cornering, the resulting brake force pulls the body down, suppressing body roll to provide more reassuring cornering so subtly that the MX-5’s engaging handling remains unpolluted. 

Commenting on the 2023 Mazda MX-5’s first award success of the year, Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson said, “when it comes to driver engagement, the current generation MX-5 has already established itself as a benchmark sports car, and with the 2023 Mazda MX-5 we continue to offer one of the most exciting and satisfying to drive cars money can buy. So it’s great that the Mazda MX-5 continues its unbroken streak of winning awards from What Car? The MX-5 is a sports car that has resonated with enthusiastic British drivers ever since its debut and remains true to the original principle of being an affordable, lightweight and above all fun-to-drive roadster, something that stands out even more in a marketplace where fewer and fewer true affordable driver’s cars are being launched.”

Adding, “The MX-5 is Mazda’s brand icon and it embodies all that is great about our products. Its fun to drive character has strengthened the bond between Mazda and its customers for more than 30 years and the 2023 model continues this unswerving dedication to delivering an affordable, engaging, world-class sports car”

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