View Full Version : Mk3 Mazda MX5s

March 20th, 2015, 08:09 AM
Iím looking at getting a something-for-the-weekend car. Itíll be previously owned, and a bit fun. Spending all day on public transport, I can now look forward to owning a car purely for enjoyment, sans practicality and mpg concerns.

Iíve a list, but at the top of it is a Mk3 MX5. The list also contains an Alfa Brera, Honda S2000 and some classics. The Mazda, whilst being less focussed, is possibly the best fit as Iím not sure I want something so focused. Thought a little about S1 Elises, but itís just too much effort that Iíve not got or want to put in. I can learn to tinker and maintain an MX5. No sure why, but that idea doesn't sit so well with an Alfa or Lotus!

Anyway, MK3s. I know little about them, technically, so educate me. Reading about Ď5s in general, itís rust. Sills and arches are the Mk1 and more so Mk2s foe. Will the Mk3 be an issue at this age (looking at an ~08) or are they not nearly as bad as the previous models? Engine robust? Anything to particularly worry about?

Car will be garaged and only used in good weather so damp/rust/soft-top issues should be minimal in my use onwards.

March 20th, 2015, 08:57 AM
As a Miata know-nothing, I must ask why not just an Mk1?

March 20th, 2015, 09:00 AM
For those of us not driving Miatas in timed competition, Miata PRHT FTW.


March 20th, 2015, 09:55 AM

March 20th, 2015, 01:51 PM
Brera = Not Fun

March 20th, 2015, 01:59 PM
My understanding (as per evo) is that the original Mk3s didn't handle quite as well as other MX-5s, but the facelifted cars (Mk3.5) were back to the usual brilliance. I know that Wheels in Motion do some Mk3 handling stuff, probably others do to. I'd hope they could get a Mk3 up to or better than an OEM Mk3.5 handling, not sure.

March 21st, 2015, 05:32 AM
Swervo can provide some first hand impressions.

My understanding of the handling is the same as yours.

March 23rd, 2015, 01:16 AM
Brera = Not Fun

How so? They look amazing.

March 23rd, 2015, 02:33 AM
Well, I drove a diesel rental, so YMMV, but know that its looks (and people WILL look at it) were not matched by excitement. It was not in any way fun to drive. It's not that it was bad, it's just that it was uninspiring and felt a bit heavy and leaden. A Mk V GTI is a much more enjoyable and lively steer. These comments look about right: http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/alfa-romeo/brera/coupe/review and http://www.caradvice.com.au/98205/alfa-romeo-brera-review/

It also feels tiny and cramped inside - perhaps less of a problem for you than I (;)), but still. Maybe the petrol version will be more inspiring, but on the list of stuff you have it'd definitely be dead last for me. A Scirocco is a much better chocie for a fun-handling, FWD rakish looking car, even if it's not as unusual as the Alfa.

March 23rd, 2015, 02:09 PM
As YW says, the general consensus on the Brera was 'great to look at, disappointing to drive'. 1650kgs for the V6 4wd didn't help, either - that's almost two whole Mk1 MX-5s !

However, there were a small number of cars tweaked specially by Prodrive, with the V6 and FF, which were lighter and apparently quite decent to drive - http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/cargrouptests/223863/alfa_romeo_brera_s.html

So if you've fallen for the looks, I guess a Brera S is probably the least bad option as a drivers' car.

Edit - ECOTY 2008 (e125) -
The Brera S is, without a doubt, the biggest
transformation of 2008. The fact that it beat
the Scirocco, its nearest rival, is not down to
sheer character and elegance either. Prodrive
has imbued the chassis with real composure,
instilled feel into the steering and banished all
thoughts of the heavy blancmange that was the
standard car. Now if they could just shorten that
gearing and tune up the V6...

March 23rd, 2015, 07:06 PM
Now I remember reading that.

March 25th, 2015, 10:31 AM
I've spent a bit of time in the NC MX-5.

Stock suspension on the early cars at least is a bit weird, certainly comfortable but very soft. The nose will change direction readily, even before the suspension starts taking a set. It's a strange sensation. The MS-R suspension package is much improved, but hard to get IIRC. Our '06 MX-5 Touring has JIC coilovers which are not the smoothest ride on the street but the car handles superbly and feels much more linear. I'm sure there's some middle ground out there, perhaps simple lowering springs with decent basic shocks (Koni?) that will do the car favors without breaking the bank.

Engine is good, pretty torquey feeling in a light car. The 5spd gearbox is great, not sure on the 6spd. Generally a fun car to drive in any setting.

I can say one thing, with hardtops on our '06 -5 feels more rigid than my '04 S2k did. The S rattled a bit over bumps (stock suspension), the MX-5 is solid (aforementioned hardcore suspension).

Seats are not the most comfortable for long trips for us. That's probably my biggest gripe.

Even the stock basic stereo is pretty good for what it is. I was surprised by that.

March 27th, 2015, 08:02 AM
Cool, thank you.
I've moved on a little since I had the Mk3 thoughts.

I'm basically between:

MINT Mk1 imported special edition MX5
MK3 2.0 MX5
Face lift BMW Z3 2.2
Fiat Barchetta.
...MGF 160...maybe.

All have positives. Will have to land on one soon so I can start looking for a good one.

March 27th, 2015, 02:47 PM
MX-5 all the way, out of those options

March 27th, 2015, 02:55 PM
If it's a toy car only, I'd say get the NA (Mk1 MX5), just so you know what all the fuss is about. :)

They are a fine weekend road-trip car for a couple, as long as you aren't both "bring the kitchen sink" packers.

If you want a few more creature comforts, then go with the NC.

ps. the answer is always Miata. ;)


March 27th, 2015, 11:18 PM
I'd put the Z3 dead last. MX5 for sure.

March 29th, 2015, 05:32 AM
These may be useful: http://www.evo.co.uk/mazda/mx-5/15031/mazda-mx-5-mk3-buying-guide


March 29th, 2015, 12:48 PM
run from anything BMW.

March 30th, 2015, 12:02 AM
How so? Honestly thought the BMW would be spoken of highly here!

March 30th, 2015, 02:52 AM
For my part, it's because the Z3 is based on the same chassis as the 3-series coupe of that era, which by then was already pretty old.

It's also aged very badly, not that I thought it ever looked that great in the first place. Finally, it has a reputation as a hairdresser's car.

March 30th, 2015, 06:29 AM
I'm also umming about getting something from when I was a kid, and just cherishing it.

A la: http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C553268
Ford Orions. Plain Jane car, but growing up I thought they were fantastic. Didn't do a particularly quick one, but I don't care about quick.

Maybe even a Peugeot 309 GTI, as I always thought they were pretty cool, too!

March 30th, 2015, 06:30 AM
For my part, it's because the Z3 is based on the same chassis as the 3-series coupe of that era, which by then was already pretty old.

It's also aged very badly, not that I thought it ever looked that great in the first place. Finally, it has a reputation as a hairdresser's car.

Think the 2.2's were post-face lift and they still look good on some decent taste alloys. Hairdressor?! You think I'm put off my other peoples idea of cool? ;)

March 30th, 2015, 07:23 AM
No, but there are hairdresser's cars which don't necessarily deserve that reputation (MX-5, TT?) and there are those which do (Z3).

Plus, we think it's uncool. SO THERE.

March 30th, 2015, 08:37 AM
I don't think a Z3 is uncool. DO IT UP.

March 30th, 2015, 08:43 AM
Per BMW. Anything that has a known issue of chassis failure is a pos

March 30th, 2015, 08:45 AM
The Z3 is definitely a no-go zone. Someone at the office used to drive one, and he got fired. Just saying.