Auto Express - March '11
Mazda MX-5 BBR
It might look like a regular MX-5 at first glance, but don’t be fooled – this is no ordinary example of Mazda’s popular roadster. Peek under the bonnet and you’ll see some extra plumbing, and the name Cosworth too. That’s significant, as renowned Mazda MX-5 tuners BBR have taken a supercharger and fitted it to the Japanese company’s accomplished drop-top.
In doing so BBR has transformed the capable but somewhat underpowered MX-5 into an altogether more tempting proposition. The supercharger adds 77bhp, raising peak power to a healthy 235bhp. Combine that with a hike in torque to 257Nm and the MX-5 BBR-Cosworth is a real Porsche Boxster rival.
Not that you’d know it from outside. Subtle BBR-Cosworth badging aside there’s nothing to hint at this MX-5’s increased potency. It’s not the sleeper looks that appeal though, instead it’s the professionalism of the installation. BBR is no stranger to Mazdas, being the firm that produced a run of officially sanctioned dealer fit turbocharger kits for the Mk1 MX-5s.
Turn the key and pull away and the MX-5 feels little different. Push the accelerator though and the additional power is obvious. It’s the smoothness of the pick up that impresses, with the supercharger adding lots of muscle across the entire sweep of the rev range. There’s no peakiness in the delivery, and there’s no additional noise from under the bonnet. It transforms the MX-5 from a car that needs big revs and plenty of working, into an easier, more enjoyable performance car.
BBR has left the MX-5’s excellent rear-wheel drive chassis and steering completely standard. All that extra power only adds to the enjoyment, allowing you to better exploit the MX-5’s fine balance and control. Overtaking is no longer a worry thanks to the huge mid-range pull, and cross-country its additional pace is obvious. All in a package that looks like a standard MX-5.
That’s where the enjoyment for many will come, the BBR-Cosworth MX-5 able to outrun many more expensive sports cars. BBR doesn’t have any numbers, but it should manage a 0-62mph time in around six seconds and the top speed should be in excess of 140mph. The conversion costs £4,995 fully fitted to your existing MX-5, but such is the transformation it feels like you’re getting an entirely new car.
By Kyle Fortune