LITTLE was broken with the previous Mazda MX-5, and as expected the latest update has tweaked rather than overhauled the popular two-seater.
Prices have risen by $80 on each of the four new Mazda MX-5 models. Mazda has not bowed to pricing pressure, despite the Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ and Hyundai Veloster Turbo entering the coupe market this year.
While there are some new garnishes inside, the main changes have occurred to the exterior and under the skin.
You can spot the latest MX-5 iterations via the new front grille which is 47mm deeper and has a more aggressive look to bring it in line with other Mazda offerings. The front bumpers also flare out further.
That front bumper has also lost some pork courtesy of reduced thickness and Mazda's dedication to weight reduction - down from 3.8kg to 2.8.
But for fans of this sporty offering, the biggest improvement comes by way of acceleration.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine still loves to rev, and you can work it right up to the 7000rpm redline, but Mazda's engineers have worked to make the acceleration response more linear. It's not earth shattering better, rather smooth and strong.
During today's launch on the Gold Coast there was no doubt the MX-5 has lost none of its willingness to turn into corners, and with the revs maintained above 4000rpm it willingly pushes out of a bend in search of the next.
While some of the layout is beginning to look dated, the MX-5 remains well featured although you have to visit the optional extras list to get Bluetooth phone connection and audio streaming.
Road noise is particularly evident on coarse surfaces with the lid on but this sports coupe is really designed to have the top dropped for open-air fun.
You get two trim levels, standard Coupe Roadster and the Coupe Roadster Sport. The latter adds Recaro seats and BBS alloys.
This is expected to be the final update on this platform before an all-new offering, developed in co-operation with Alfa Romeo, comes around 2014.
The writer was Mazda's guest on the Gold Coast.
Model: Mazda MX-5.
Details: Two-door two-seat rear-wheel drive convertible hard-top coupe.
Engine: 2.0 litre in-line four-cylinder 16 valve DOHC S-VT generating maximum power of 118 kW @ 7000rpm (118 kW @ 6700rpm for the auto) and peak torque of 188Nm @ 5000rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Consumption: 8.1 litres/100km.
Bottom line: Roadster Coupe $47,280 (m); Roadster Coupe $49,405 (a); Roadster Coupe Sports $49,855 (m); Roadster Coupe Sports $52,010 (a).
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