2014 Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition review

Bespoke exterior and interior trim and all the gadgets you could want, as well as a limited edition status, could make the MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition the best model in the range. We drive it to find out.

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As the name implies, it’s been a quarter of a century since the Mazda MX-5 was launched. This 25th Anniversary Edition marks that milestone, as well as the imminent end of its production, with an all-new model just around the corner.

Based on the 2.0-litre, folding hard-top MX-5 Roadster Coupe, there are no mechanical changes for this special edition, but you do get unique Soul Red metallic paint, contrasting gunmetal grey alloys, and gloss black roof and side mirrors.

The interior is unique, too, and includes heated, cream leather seats with embossed headrests, contrast red stitching, and matching red tones on the dashboard trim. There's even 25th Anniversary badging on the scuff plates, while climate- and cruise controls, and a 6.1-inch touch-screen sat-nav system with USB-input, Bluetooth and CD Player make this as well equipped as MX-5s get.

What’s the Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition like to drive?

As you’d expect – the same as the standard 2.0 MX-5 Roadster Coupe Sport. This is no bad thing; it means you get a slick, short-shift, six-speed manual gearbox, which you’ll be using regularly to keep the engine high up in its rev range if you want to make decent progress.

Being a naturally-aspirated engine, it delivers its power progressively, so it’s good fun letting it rev right through to the redline to get the most out of it, even if this means that you don’t get the low-down urgency and in-gear flexibility offered by a turbocharged engine.

The steering is well-weighted, and quick around the straight-ahead without feeling nervous, although sharp bumps or awkward cambers in the road can cause the steering wheel to squirm in your hands.

Even so, this communicative steering, together with well-balanced, grippy handling and a light body makes the MX-5 great fun in any situation. Enough that you forgive a slightly firm ride around town, and a vague clutch biting point that can sometimes make it tricky to drive smoothly.

The engine is also quite coarse-sounding and buzzy when you do rev it hard, and there’s noticeable vibration through the gearshift and pedals. So, if it’s unintimidating but thrilling handling that you’re after, then this is right up your street. Just don’t expect it to be very refined, even with the roof up. 

What’s the Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition like inside?

Quite posh, by MX-5 standards at least. The leather seats look good, and offer enough support and adjustment that most drivers should be comfortable, provided they’re happy to sit very low. However, taller drivers may find it a bit of a squeeze. 

The subtle, deep-red trim highlights and the colour touch-screen makes the dash look more upmarket than in the standard MX-5, though the system still looks decidedly after-market, and is not very easy to use due to some tiny icons and unintuitive menu layouts.

There are also signs of cost-cutting in the cheap-feeling steering wheel audio controls, and some sharp-edged plastics that can be found around the lower parts of the cabin. 

As ever, practicality is quite a way down the priority list in the MX-5. Still, two adults will be comfortable enough in the cosy cabin, and the boot is big enough for a couple of small overnight bags.

Should I buy one?

The MX-5 has few direct rivals, so if you want a circa-£20k sports roadster, it’s your only choice.

Even if it did have more competition, it would be hard pushed to better the light-footed, fizzing handling that the Mazda specialises in. Given that the 25th Anniversary Edition – which is limited to 750 examples in the UK – is actually cheaper than the Sport Tech Nav, it’s also a bit of a no-brainer if you really want a high-spec model. There’s even 0% finance and dealer deposit contributions available.

Having said that, we’d recommend you go for a cheaper, lower-spec model. Buy an MX-5 1.8i SE and a portable sat-nav, and you’ll have just as much fun for thousands less. 

What Car? says...


Rivals

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

Mini Roadster 

Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition 

Engine size

2.0-litre petrol

Price from

£22,995

Power

158bhp

Torque

139lb ft

0-62mph

7.9 seconds

Top speed

136mph

Fuel economy

36.2mpg

CO2

181g/km

 
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