New Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Roadster revealed in Chicago

Published: 08 February 2019

► New 2019 MX-5 30th Anniversary
► 7500rpm redline, more power
► Meet the 30th anniversary special 

Believe it or not, Mazda’s made another special edition of its MX-5. This month’s special was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, and marks 30 years since the original was revealed at the very same event.

Mazda says more than one million MX-5s have been sold since then – and this new 30th Anniversary edition would probably stick out among all of them. That's because this car gets a zesty, retina-destroying Racing Orange paint job, which its maker claims ‘evokes the breaking dawn of an exciting new day.’ Very fast and furious.

Brembo front brake calipers and Nissin rear calipers – both equally orange – ensure this car should be a little more dynamic than stock, and manual version of the car will also run on Bilstein dampers. Inside, expect Recaro seats, orange accents everywhere, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – as well as a nine-speaker Bose system. 

30th Anniversary MX-5

The car rides on forged aluminum wheels exclusively made for the occasion, and proudly displays a 30th anniversary badge with serial number. A total of 3000 will be made, though just 600 will end up in the UK. It'll come in hardtop and retractable soft-top bodystyles, and there's no price released yet, either. 

Everything else about the Mazda MX-5: revvy and no turbos

A free-revving engine has long been an ingredient of the MX-5 formula, but this time Mazda is upping the fizz.

Thanks to lighter pistons and a less-weighty con-rod, the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine in the MX-5 will rev all the way to 7500rpm – 700rpm up on the current model. It's music to our ears and a reminder of what the back-to-basics roadster is all about in an age of forced induction and effortless shove.

What’s more, tweaked camshaft, fuel injectors, throttle valves and a new air intake mean that power is up too. The new car produces 181bhp at 7000rpm, up from the existing car’s 158bhp. Torque gets a more modest uplift, swelling from 148lb ft at 4000rpm to 151lb ft. Mazda says both engines will have ‘refined acceleration control,’ for a less laggy response.

On paper that means a 0-62mph figure of 6.5 seconds for the convertible (0.8 seconds faster than before), while the manual and automatic folding hard-top RF’s sprint times improve by 0.6 and 0.5 seconds.

Despite the power increase, both pass the new Euro 6d Temp emission regulations – thanks in part to stop-start technology and other eco-friendly features.

Our handy WLTP emissions regs explainer

You’ll be able to get the new engine in all GT Sport Nav+ trim cars, while SE-L Nav+ and Sport Nav+ with the same engine will go on sale later in autumn 2018.

Mazda will offer the MX-5 with a slightly less powerful 1.5-litre engine, too. Power is up to a more modest 130bhp.

Anything else we need to know?

Mazda says the new car will feature darker paint options for 16- and 17-inch wheels, and a brown canopy for soft-top models.

However, the most welcome  addition could be a new telescopically-adjusted steering wheel. The MX-5 may finally be comfortable to drive for those over 6ft; previous versions have only offered rake adjustment.


The new MX-5 will start at £18,995 for the convertible, while the RF model will begin at £22,595. Styling stays the same, but new 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels will set apart the 2019 model.

Read all our Mazda car reviews

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast