What is it?
Missing, reward if found: all the affordable, rear-driven sports cars.
With Toyota out of the game until the GR 86 arrives, Mazda has been left flying the flag for this rapidly shrinking niche; although given that the MX-5 has long been the segment leader, it’s a pretty big flag.
The fourth-generation roadster may not have changed much visually since its introduction in 2015, but a recent range-wide update introduced stop-start functionality and Mazda’s i-Eloop KERS system.
The latter uses a capacitor to store electricity generated by the alternator when decelerating, which is then used to power in-cabin systems such as the climate control. The alternator can then disengage and reduce drag for a promised 5% fuel efficiency gain.
That might not sound like much, but if that’s what’s needed to keep cars like the MX-5 in production during an era of increased electrification, we will gladly take it.
Mazda knows that efficiency tweaks aren’t likely to turn customers' heads, though, which is where this limited-run Sport Venture comes in. The MX-5 is no stranger to a special edition or two, with this latest one being something of a homage to the Mk3 Sport Venture released in 2014.
Available exclusively with the entry-level 1.5-litre engine, this new Mk4 Sport Venture comes with a fetching shade of blue paint (Mazda calls it Deep Crystal Blue Mica, but from certain angles you would be hard-pressed to tell that it isn't dark grey), a grey fabric roof and silver-trimmed flourishes over the door mirrors and roll hoops.
Inside, you get Light Stone Nappa leather (not quite white, not quite cream), which is normally reserved for step-up Sport Tech cars, sold exclusively with the more powerful 2.0-litre engine and commanding a near £3000 premium over the Sport.