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2011 Mazda MX-5 GS Review

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Michel Deslauriers
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A lot has been written about the latest-generation Mazda MX-5. It's one of the few pure sports cars that remain affordable today, one that's not based on any other car and one that's been designed as a sports car from scratch.

The 2011 Mazda MX-5 is lightweight, nimble and a blast to drive. Oh, its engine may not boast hundreds of cubic inches, a turbocharger or direct injection, but it makes enough power to keep the car (formerly known as the Miata) amusing.

2011 Mazda MX-5 GS rear 3/4 view
The Mazda MX-5 is a pure sports car: lightweight and a hoot to drive. (Photo: S├ębastien D'Amour/

Besides a facelift for the 2009 model year, the MX-5 has been virtually unchanged since it was redesigned in the fall of 2005. It should normally be renewed within the next two years, and there are so many rumours surrounding the next version of the car that it's worrisome. Losing more than 700 pounds and receiving a 1.4-litre engine are part of the latest speculations.

Go-kart handling
Due to its 2,525lb (1,145kg) curb weight, you can easily fling the MX-5 into a curve and exit it without drama, but with a smile on your face. The direct, communicative steering and tidy proportions allow the car to go precisely where the driver points it. Few sports cars can gel with the person behind the wheel as well as this Mazda roadster.

The modest power level means you can enjoy the car's limits without going over your head. Even with the stability control system switched off, which you shouldn't do anyhow, the car's tail can break loose at wide-open throttle, but is easily manageable.

The 2.0-litre inline-4 develops 167 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft of torque when combined with a manual transmission (automatic-equipped MX-5s get 158 horses). A 5-speed gearbox is standard in the base GX, but if you want to fully exploit the car, upgrade to the GS and obtain a 6-speed, which benefits from a shorter 1st gear and a taller 6th.

Michel Deslauriers
Michel Deslauriers
Automotive expert