In the Spotlight – BBR MX-5 Turbo Stage 1 {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

1 Jun 2018

I remember it well, it was September 2017 and the lovely people from Mazda UK PR dropped a 2.0 litre new MX-5 convertible off at my door and I had it to play with for a week. I actually ended up only having 4 days as my snapper at the time hit a sheep in North Wales and cut the loan short. But in those four days I absolutely fell in love with that little Mazda. You see the Mk4 MX-5 (or ‘ND’ if you’re an MX-5 aficionado) was a big thing for Mazda; they went back to basics and made it smaller and lighter, in fact it’s a tiny bit shorter than the Mk1 (though it is wider). It weighs in at under a tonne, so it doesn’t really need more than the 158bhp it has. Or does it?

Well no, not really. One of the best things about the MX-5 is that you can use pretty much 99% of the performance 99% of the time and not worry that you’re going to lose your licence. The chassis is so well balanced, the handling so delicate and nimble that you rev that little lump out and just drive the MX-5 as hard as you can, reveling in the sheer magic that Mazda can create.

But. Yes, but…… as fun and delicate as the MX-5 is as standard, how fun would it be with a bit more?... and that is where BBR GTi come in. What used to be Brodie Britain Racing was borne from his career racing his heavily and meticulously tuned BDA engine Ml1 Ford Escort, which quickly translated into modifying and tuning Fords. In the 80’s and 90’s if you wanted a Sierra or Escort Cosworth tuning you went to BBR and got the works. Now called BBR GTi they still do plenty of other marques, but they’re now the leading tuners of Mazda MX-5s and this is where they come into out ITH competition with this Stage 1 turbo monster.

This really is the best you could make from an MX-5 at the moment (well, apart from the insane V8 powered creation made by Flying Miata in the US) and has pretty much everything you can throw at it from BBR. The logical place to start is of course the engine and this car starts life with the 2.0 litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder lump producing 158bhp. The list of work undertaken in the Stage 1 turbo kit is quite impressive, but also very long so you can read the full list here. To summarise there’s a hybrid turbo, a new manifold, a new intercooler, intake and remap, all either developed or chosen by BBR and results in a somewhat bonkers 248bhp and 320Nm of torque. That’s an increase of 90bhp and 120Nm so you can imagine that it makes quite a difference to the way this little convertible goes down the road. 2.3 seconds are chopped off the 0-62mph tie (now 5 seconds dead) and the top speed jumps to a limited 155mph. Oh, and there’s a new exhaust too which sounds positively naughty.

Of course you could just get the engine work done, but where’s the fun in that? Also if you’re increasing the performance by that amount you may want to beef up the handling department too, so for this car we’ve also added BBR’s bespoke suspension package which allows the car to sit lower and roll less (along with the Eibach anti roll bar kit) and reduced unsprung mass with a lovely set of OZ Racing 17” Ultraleggera alloy wheels which are a fair bit lighter than the Mazda items.

Interestingly, Mazda massively over-spec the brakes on the MX-5 from the factory so there isn’t a need to upgrade them. You can if you want obviously, but you don’t need to. The final part of this delicious little Japanese morsel is that we add the Mazda factory accessory Aero Pack, which consists of a front splitter, side skirt, rear diffuser and bootlid lip spoiler. I think this kit really adds just the right amount of aggression to the MX-5 and with all the other mods this is going to be a serious back road blaster.

I’m rather upset that I wasn’t able to get behind the wheel of this turbo MX-5 this week, but it’s in the pipeline and I’ll report back when I do. For the time being it’s available for you to win until midnight on Sunday, so get buying those tickets forthwith!