Track Test Review – 2014 Mazda MX-5 Club Hardtop at Road America Autocross
The next MX-5 is in the home stretch of development in Japan ahead of an expected debut some time in 2014 or early 2015, with deliveries to America set to start shortly afterward.
The next MX-5 will spawn an Alfa Romeo Spider twin, with both built to quality standards Fiat could not dream of achieving without Mazda’s Hiroshima-based talent.
Development of the MX-5 is the cornerstone of Mazda’s sports car teams these days – and for good reason! The MX-5 is the ultimate track-day thriller: with enough power to feel the rush but also enough playfulness to really test your limits as a driver.
That is why this lovable two-seater is such a hit on all SCCA tracks nationwide. There is almost no more ‘perfect’ car for leveling the playing field before the green flag starts the action. Driver skill is most critical in these heated MX-5 track battles.
The MX-5 Club trim is new for 2014 with a variety of style and trim enhancements to bring things up-to-date: dark wheels, dark headlight shrouds, dark mirrors and black accent stripes down below, plus a full body kit make up the Club’s exterior highlights.
The Club trim mods are sufficient in making the MX-5 look as fun when stopped as it is when over-steering like a mad-man around any street corner.
The Club is the mid-spec trim above Sport and below Grand Touring. As a soft-top, the MX-5 Club is priced from about $25,500, and about $1000 extra for the power-retractable hardtop.
An automatic six-speed is available up and down the MX-5 range, but drops the other-wise-standard limited-slip diff in back. This is important because the stick-shift cars will therefore be much more stable under heavy braking and accelerating out of corners — on a track day filled with other MX-5’s.
In isolation, the automatic is a dream and makes the car more relaxing in traffic but still a drifters’ delight when the mood is right.
Lastly, the MX-5 really is a man’s car. Much as we all hear the ‘hairdresser’ jokes in Clarkson’s English accent when thinking of small cabrio’s — most fancy gals do not really like how low, basic and tactile the MX-5 really is. This is a true sports car on a dream rear-drive chassis that is playful but hard to master.