The MX5 Powershift

The automatic transmission model of the new 2016 MX5 has not yet been brought to the UK although it has been released in America. The Powershift version of the MK 3.5 was produced from 2009 in soft top form but was discontinued eighteen months later, and then became  available only as a coupe. This is the review of the 2009 car, I have one and it is superb!

The optional 6 speed Powershift transmission fitted to the MX5 is incredibly flexible, it is very much like a touring car sequential gearbox and switching between manual and automatic modes is simplicity itself. The changes are fast and enable you to get the most out of the car in all circumstances.

There is no doubt that the motoring world would be a much duller place without the MX5, says Robin Roberts in “Motors North East”. And now steady development by Mazda’s enthusiastic team of engineers has created what I believe to be the best example so far, the MX5 2.0 Powershift. The advanced sequential box uses technology which comes from sports car racing and is employed on high performance cars of all types. In the Mazda MX5 it brings additional sophistication and refinement to what is already a very well sorted and highly desirable model.

The 2.0-litre engine is extremely good, starting immediately, pulling strongly, smoothly and quietly and providing a lot of punch for the six-speed automatic transmission to maximise. Gearchanges are very smooth irrespective of how hard it is pushed and I found little advantage in manually changing gear over letting the system sort things out for itself.

The MX5 brakes are up to all expectations with good feel, excellent assistance and loads of stopping power. The car also steers well at speed and has a nimbleness around town which instantly wins praise. The ride is slightly firm, but surprisingly comfortable too. Handling is very surefooted and predictable and there are no real vices. It will tend to run wide on tight turns but this is a good safety feature and simply easing off will result in the line gently tightening.

As a strict two seater the MX5 is quite roomy. The heated Recaro seats are not particularly large but they are extremely comfortable, if a little lacking in under-thigh support. Adjustment range is good and visibility all round is generally clear, thanks to the low waistline, big windows, very bright headlights and effective wash & wipe system.

In November 2011 the Powershift soft top model was withdrawn and it is now available only with the quick folding steel lid, which gives the car greater practicality and additional security.

Oddments room in the cabin demands you travel light and the boot space is quite small, but you can carry additional items on the optional beautifully made Mazda luggage rack if you wish .

The sophistication of the Mazda MX5 means it is sometimes hard to appreciate just how quickly it can go. It is an excellent car for fast commuting or longer journeys and eats up the miles on the motorway. All noise levels are low and the latest twin exhaust makes a pleasant, throaty sound.

The MX5 2.0 Powershift is, for me, the pinnacle of performance in this model, bringing enormous mechanical refinement to what is a dynamically pleasing chassis and a powerful and responsive engine. At the price there is no other car on the market which gives the driver so much pleasure.

FAST FACTS

Mazda MX5 Roadster 2.0i Powershift Sport

Mechanical: 160ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds.

Combined mpg: 36

Insurance group: 13

CO2 emissions: 188g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

Click on the AA Logo to read their excellent review of the Powershift.


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