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Mazda MX-5 GT RS ranks fourth in MOTOR’s 2022 Sports Car of the Year category

A firmer, more tuned version of Mazda’s classic roadster – the MX-5 GT RS – joins Hyundai’s latest N-division star athlete – the i30 Sedan N – for fourth place in the Sports Car category. year 2022 of MOTOR


If you’re a performance driver who bucks the modern trend of 20-way damper adjustments and literally hundreds of possible drive mode combinations, the Mazda MX-5 GT RS is your antidote.

There are no adaptive dampers, no modes, just get in, press the start button, engage first gear and go. Outside of Colin Chapman’s hallowed hallmark, few cars are as relentlessly ‘driver-friendly’ as Mazda’s affable roadster, especially in that more focused GT RS guise. The golden ingredients are there: Brembo brakes, LSD, Bilstein shock absorbers and Bridgestone Potenza S001 rubber.

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From the layout, weight and tactility of every interaction you make, you get the sense that every part of the car is a well-considered decision aimed at delivering maximum driver enjoyment. The GT RS delivers that thrill with clarity and engagement, whether you’re going 60 km/h on the road or 160 km/h via Hayshed at Phillip Island.

The 2.0-liter inline-four is wonderfully linear and feels well matched to the playful, benign chassis, but lacks the verve and aural satisfaction of some of its more exotic competitors. The powertrain “doesn’t do anything bad, but it doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary either,” says Bernie Quinn. “The steering is light and linear but doesn’t give the driver confidence in front grip,” he adds.

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The magic of the MX-5 focuses on the tangible moments of managing the intricacies of pitch and roll, while making the most of the power at your disposal; delivering those dynamic feelings with a clarity that would otherwise be lost, or just slip by imperceptibly in many faster cars. As a result, it’s hugely engaging, despite Bernie’s grunts. Luffy agrees, calling it “proof that you don’t need a Nürburgring-tuned chassis, massive horsepower, or a specially developed tire.”

With the improved rolling stock, suspension and brakes, the GT RS contains its movements better, but the communicative character remains as well as a greater capacity for speed. The shifting action is a particular highlight for the judges, considered by many to be the best in the business, and all you have to do is plant yourself in the ultra-low seated position with the pedals taut to know you’re ready for it. an experiment.

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One caveat, however, is that the MX-5 isn’t one size fits all; illustrated by Enright feebly attempting to close the roof over his helmet-wearing head, before unsuccessfully throwing it off in frustration and heading down the track.

Even if you’re a multimillion-dollar supercar collector, we implore you to buy an MX-5. You won’t drive an angry Huracán or GT3 every weekend, but you can beat an MX-5 flat out every Sunday of the year. He will be happy to do so, and so will you.

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“A neat, delicious, lovely thing,” Enright exclaims. “If I had to name a car here that speaks most about simple driving pleasure, it would be this one. Lamborghini, Porsche, everything: take a look at the Mazda MX-5”.

Judges’ comments

Alex Affat

“The MX-5 doesn’t lose its purity with the GT RS upgrades. You don’t lose any of the usability”

Ranking: 4th

Andy Enright

“GT RS adds more handling finesse and I love the Brembo brakes. I wish the engine was more musical”

Ranking: 6th

Trent Giunco

“You can always work with body movement to get the most out of it. You have fun at 70km/h on the road”

Ranking: 4th

Cameron Kirby

“That’s everything we love about driving. Body roll is not what many chassis engineers think of.”

Ranking: 4th

Bernie Quinn

“At the end of the day, it’s a fun car with no real flaws, but there’s nothing that makes me want to go back for more”

Ranking: 7th

Luffy’s point of view

“It doesn’t matter that it’s not the fastest car. The MX-5 is pure riding and loads of fun! »

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Key figures

0-100km/h 6.68s
0-400m 14.65 sec at 152.94 km/h
stopwatch 1:58.02