What is it?
You surely know the drill by now when it comes to limited-edition Mazda MX-5s.
Mazda’s iconic two-seater has received so many over the years that we’ve lost count, but that hasn’t stopped them from finding homes. Only so many of each new edition will be made, after all, and although few arrive with any major mechanical modifications, the bespoke colour combinations usually help them stand out from the series-production models.
That’s not entirely the case for the new R-Sport. Yes, it’s a purely cosmetic special, but the polymetal grey paint and matching fabric roof don’t exactly scream "look at me”. Even the 16in Rays forged alloy wheels are on the subtle side. A burgundy leather interior helps elevate things inside the cabin, but otherwise the kit list is all but identical to the more readily available Sport trim.
Instead, limiting production to just 150 cars seems to be Mazda’s way of reminding customers they can have just as much fun with a modest powerplant, because it’s available exclusively with the entry-level 1.5-litre engine.
The four-cylinder motor sends 130bhp exclusively to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, but in a car that tips the scales at a little over 1100kg, that still translates to a respectable 0-62mph sprint in 8.3sec.
The lighter, rev-happy 1.5-litre has long been our MX-5 engine of choice, even if the car misses out on the limited-slip differential, front strut brace and Bilstein dampers that help give 2.0-litre cars a more focused driving experience.