A track-focused version of the Mazda MX-5 will be added in 2021 with a new RS grade that is similar to the Toyota 86 with a performance pack.
Mazda has always had a diverse bunch to please with the MX-5, from those who use it as a daily sports car and appreciate the soft suspension to those who take driving rather more seriously.
The standard MX-5 provides thrills at road speeds, but as good as the ND generation car is, it has always been just a touch softer than is suitable for track use.
Step in this new RS variant, which should add an extra degree of focus to the MX-5’s fun persona. Based on the GT specification, this sportier take is available in both RF and Roadster guise from $47,020 plus on-road costs.
Justifying how unique the Australian buyer is, this sharper MX-5 is bound for our shores exclusively in January 2021. Mazda Australia Managing Director Vinesh Bhindi said the RS “is the embodiment of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom philosophy”.
Mazda’s list of upgrades is similar to those of the Toyota 86’s Performance Pack. Like that package, the RS grade tacks an extra $3,000 onto the price of a 2.0 GT with a manual ‘box.
Firstly, a set of forged BBS 17-inch alloy wheels shod in familiar 205/45 Bridgestone Potenza S001 rubber features. True track-rats will upgrade the rubber fairly quickly, mind you.
A set of beefy four-piston Brembo brake calipers now hang on the front axle, replacing sliding single-piston units. Performance pads are fitted, too, slated to reduce fade by 26 per cent.
Mazda has fitted the RS grade MX-5s with a set of sophisticated Bilstein dampers; these are similar to those found on the fantastically orange 30th Anniversary edition. Bilstein dampers have gained a reputation for their unique ride quality and near-transformative handling effects over more conventional suspension systems.
Finally, an alloy strut tower brace sits in the engine bay to provide crisper turn-in, and trainspotters will be able to distinguish an RS variant by its black mirror caps.
The RS spec otherwise mirrors the GT, which means leather upholstery, seven-inch infotainment screen, front and rear parking sensors.
The engine line-up remains the same. A two-litre ‘Skyactiv G’ engine with 135kW and 205Nm powers the majority of MX-5s – including the RS grades – while a 1.5-litre ‘four making 97kW 152Nm powers the entry-level roadster.
Naturally, a six-speed manual with limited-slip differential is the default gearbox choice, though Mazda offers a six-speed torque converter for an extra $2,000 without an LSD.
2021 sees wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added to the MZD Connect software, though the small seven-inch partially-touchscreen display remains.
Pure White nappa leather can be optioned on the opulent RF GT Black Roof grade, while a new Deep Crystal Blue hue joins the colour choices.
The updated Mazda MX-5 line-up will go on sale in January of 2021 from $36,090 plus on-road costs.
Mazda MX-5 2021: Price in Australia
All prices are before on-road costs.
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