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By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist

The all-new Mazda MX-5 rocks. It really does.

And it’s not just me that thinks it – the awesome sports car has already been named Roadster of the Year in Britain.

But why does the MX-5 rock? And why is it awesome? Well, quite simply, the car is a brand icon. It is brilliant fun to drive – and that has been the case in all of its incarnations over the last 25 years.

Having made its British debut at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 has an excellent power to weight ratio, rear-wheel drive, perfect 50:50 weight distribution and more comfort and tech than ever before.

The MX-5 is offered with a choice of two petrol engines, and with nine models across five trim levels, the mighty yet minute Mazda looks already set to repeat the Japanese motor manufacturer’s influence within the reasonably priced sports car sector.

Maintaining the driver-focused nature that has made the MX-5 the best-selling two-seater sports car of all time, it is obvious the engineering philosophy behind the up-to-the-minute model has allowed Mazda to retain the dexterity, enjoyment and engagement that has always characterised it.

The lightest MX-5 since the celebrated original, the fresh car is shorter, lower and wider than the outgoing one, with the smallest overhangs and lowest centre of gravity yet. These dynamic proportions combined with Mazda’s KODO: Soul of Motion design values ensure that the model’s styling reflects its emphasis on driving pleasure in an unmistakably contemporary and energetic way.

Featuring Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV technology, the MX-5’s ultra-efficient lightweight petrol powered engines deliver new heights of performance and economy.  Across the line-up the MX-5 features alloy wheels, LED headlights, a leather steering wheel, as well as a light and sleek fabric hood.

SE-L models add LED daytime running lights, climate control air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and cruise control, plus Mazda’s connectivity and infotainment system with seven-inch colour touch-screen display and Multimedia Commander. SE-L models with the 2.0-litre 160ps engine are distinguished by 17-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels and piano black door mirrors, and benefit from a strut tower bar and limited slip differential.

Step up to Sport trim and both the 1.5 and 2.0-litre cars feature rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, smart keyless entry, Premium Bose Surround-Sound and heated leather seats. With the 1.5-litre engine, Sport trim MX-5’s come with 16-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels and piano black door mirrors. Sport models with the 2.0-litre 160ps engine benefit from a dynamic set-up that includes Sports suspension featuring Bilstein dampers, a limited slip differential and strut tower bar, while visually, they are marked out by their 17-inch Bright alloy wheels and body coloured mirrors.

But perhaps the most amazing aspect of the MX-5 is that when the original model was launched in 1990, it cost £14,249 (equal to £31,687 in today’s money), yet quarter of a century later with far more standard equipment, the all-new Mazda MX-5 costs from £18,495. This means, more than ever, the car sets the benchmark as the one of the world’s best and most affordable sports cars.

Indeed, it seems with its lightweight design, cool cabin, exquisitely engineered mechanicals and balanced handling the all-new Mazda MX-5 is ready to further boost its place in the hearts of automotive aficionados.

Fast facts

Max speed: 133 mph
0-62 mph: 7.3 secs
Combined mpg: 40.9
Engine layout: 1998cc, 4 cylinder, 16 valve petrol
Max. power (bhp): 158
Max. torque (lb.ft): 148
CO2: 161 g/km
Price: £18,495 – £23,295

Pros and cons

Fun

Handling

Looks

Equipment

Limited room

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