The New MX-5 Gets a Boost from BBR
Updated December 6, 2015
The MX-5 is the reason why I have so much respect for Mazda. Throughout years of customers demanding high tech additions to the little roadster along with more power and bigger engines, Mazda has remained steadfast and only changed minimal, superficial details in and around the MX-5. Because of adherence to core principles like, customers can now go down to their local Mazda dealership and pick up one of these:
The most aggressive and (at least in my opinion) the best looking MX-5 yet was released for 2015, and now enough people own the new model that aftermarket parts are popping up left and right to spice up the stock 1.5 and 2.0 liter engines. The choice between the two engines is hotly debated, showing how devoted the MX-5’s fan base is to the original formula that made the original so fantastic. One camp says that the lighter 1.5 liter model is more true to the original concept behind the MX-5, while the opposition says that the more powerful 2.0 liter is the natural progression of the roadster.
BBR, a tuning company known for the kits they have released for previous generations of the MX-5, have just released three new kits to get more power out of the latest generation.
The graph above shows the dramatic change in power that the ‘Super 160’ tuning pack offers the 1.5 liter power plant in the base MX-5. The pack comes with a custom ECU and the parts needed to install it. With just a simple tune, the engine gains over 20 horsepower and gets a 7700 RPM redline. For £495, this kit seems like a fantastic deal. It also adds basically no weight to the vehicle.
There are two kits available for the 2.0 liter engine, named the ‘Super 175+’ and ‘Super 190’ tuning packs. The Super 175+ is really the same thing as the Super 160, just made for the larger engine. It includes all hardware needed to install the ECU and costs £495. The Super 190 pack is the ultimate tuning pack for someone just getting into the engine on their little sports car. It includes a custom ECU, a cold air intake, a performance exhaust manifold, and a stainless steel sports exhaust system. All of this for just £1995. This kind of sophisticated tuning for a price point as low as the one BBR is asking just shows precisely why the MX-5 is such a commonly tuned and tracked little car. Race car tech and knowledge in a pint-sized package that can corner fast enough to pull fillings out of your teeth.
I am glad that BBR posted the dyno results from their tuning packs online. This is a really good way to illustrate how significant the seemingly small increase in horsepower is to a car this size. With the MX-5’s naturally diminutive proportions, the light 1.5 liter engine already does a great job. The addition of over 20 more is great, but the real appeal is the fact that the power is added without extra weight. This is why the top kit currently offered from BBR only brings the MX-5 to 190 horsepower. After reaching the point where the engine and drivetrain are all operating at maximum output, it is time to focus on things like brakes, weight reduction, and handling. BBR makes an array of suspension and brake kits to improve these factors as well. Speed, after all, is the combination of clever engineering and the ability to make an individual car perform its very best.