Mazda marks MX-5 25th Anniversary

Mazda will give its ageing but still tasty MX-5 a last hurrah - in its current guise - when it launches a 25th anniversary edition of the iconic sports car later this year.

To be launched tomorrow at the New York Auto Show, the birthday model will go on sale in Australia as a limited edition run of 40 cars that will be individually numbered.

Recognisable by their rich Soul Red metallic paintwork with black A-pillars, mirrors and roof highlights, the special edition will nevertheless also feature a couple of interesting mechanical upgrades.

Six-speed manual versions will be fitted with Bilstein dampers for a firmer, more controlled handling balance.

More intriguingly, Mazda says engine components such as pistons, conrods and the flywheel have been replaced with “only the lightest, best balanced parts” in what amounts to a factory balance and blueprint job.

“The result is an engine that revs even more freely, delivering extraordinary response and acceleration as well as a deeply satisfying engine note,” Mazda claims.

In US spec, it delivers 124kW - six more than our version’s 118kW, and coming 300rpm higher up the rev range at 7000rpm.

Other than that, improvements are largely cosmetic, with equipment including off-white leather seats with red stitching, a hand-painted black-on-red instrument panel, stainless-steel scuff plates and unique 17-inch rims.

The current MX-5 will be replaced next year by a new version previewed in New York with a rolling chassis.

Mazda Australia expects the limited edition model to appeal to collectors and hardcore MX-5 enthusiasts.

The occasion is the anniversary of the original NA MX-5’s launch in 1989. That car took out the Wheels Car of the Year award, as did the current NC version in 2005.

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