Here is the latest review of the 2.0 ltr MX5 from Car Buyer magazine. An interesting profile of our favourite car which is presented in something of a laddish manner – everything is wrenched open, twisted hard and generally viewed at a superficial level. Still, I suppose even Chelsea fans have to work somewhere!
Just to correct some points in the film: not fast? 0 to 62mph in 7.6secs and 132mph sounds good to me! The central cup holders are designed to be easily removed to leave a useful storage box. The softtop and the hardtop both retract without reducing boot space and the volume is the same for both cars at 150ltrs. Finally the Powershift gearbox is absolutely superb in all modes and the paddles give you lightning fast changes, I know because I have got one!
Your MX5 is a superbly made and robust car, but soft tops need extra protection from the winter elements. Also powerful, lightweight rear wheel drive sports cars can be temperamental in extreme weather.
So first of all lets look at keeping the car in good condition despite snow and ice. Of course the most vulnerable part of an MX5 is the hood and reproofing it annually is a well worth it, so visit our hood cleaning post for how to tackle it.
The low front of the car is very vulnerable to stone chips and a layer of high quality polish such as Autoglym Deep Shine will really help. Similarly the MX5 alloys can be prone to corrosion and a coating of sealant makes a big difference. Finally give your leather seats a feed to keep the damp out, Autoglym again make a superb and easy to use balm.
If you tend to drive your five less often in the winter then you should invest in a good battery charger, the MX5 has a small current drain even when switched off so it well worth topping up regularly. Next, check your radiator anti-freeze and increase the screenwash concentration so you can see out!
Tyre condition and pressure are most important factors in making the best of the car’s handling; with a good pressure gauge and a tread depth tool you can make sure you are safe. A digital pump saves a trip to the garage and Michelin make an excellent model which I have found to be very reliable.
The secret of staying on the road comes down to smooth driving technique, the MX5 can lose back-end grip very easily on snow and ice and great care should be taken both with the accelerator, and when braking. In deep snow turning off the DSC can help you to move forward but switch it back on as soon as you can. If you have a Powershift then use the second gear fixed mode to get going by tapping the M shift lever backwards whilst stationary.
Finally, click on the picture above to read a very interesting article on winter driving techniques, including a story of a hairy drive in an MX5!
Thers is always a plan, we often just don’t know it, and the numbering of roads in the UK is one of those things that I wonder about every time I hear the traffic news. Putting the clocks back (which took an hour even in our house) gave me more time sitting indoors in the evening with little to do so I finally found out about the plan.
Basically the allocation of numbers is based on a hub-and-spoke system. Because mainland Britain is long and narrow (and because Scotland always likes a measure of autonomy from the Sassenachs), there are actually two hubs, London and Edinburgh. Radiating from these hubs are the nine principal A-roads 1 to 9:
London to Edinburgh
London to Dover
London to Portsmouth
London to Avonmouth
London to Holyhead
London to Carlisle
Edinburgh to Carlisle
Edinburgh to Greenock
Edinburgh to Scrabster
These roads divide Great Britain into nine distinct areas, shown in the diagram above. Each zone is numbered, taking its number from the A-road on its anticlockwise boundary. From this point, the system is remarkably simple: other roads get their number according to which zone they lie in. Any road in, say, zone 5 gets a number with the first digit 5. It’s as easy as that.
Of course, there’s a system to work out how the rest of the digits are assigned but there is a man who can explain this much better than I can; the amazing CBRD website is an entertaining source of information about our roads and motorways, just click on this picture of a famous exception to the plan to find out lots more: