The last time we visited BBR, it was to collect the Super 220 to try out as a (sort of) rival to the latest Alpine A110 GT. Honestly, though, despite similarities on the scales - and it being stupendous to drive on a B road - the naturally aspirated MX-5, even with a wonderful sounding 224hp from its revised 2.0-litre lump, was ultimately outgunned by its turbocharged rival. Of course it was: even with BBR’s heroic efforts, the Super 220 gives up nearly 100lb ft of torque versus the A110, and at much higher engine speeds, too.
Naturally, having originally built its reputation on forced induction, the tuner was well aware of the car’s comparative shortcomings, and has been beavering away on its new ND-based supercharger packages for some time. Now it has confirmed the new offering in two cost-effective stages. Both deploy the ‘proven and reliable’ C30-94 Rotrex blower, and are said to have been specifically designed to avoid ‘intrusive mechanical alterations’ to Mazda’s 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G unit and retain an OEM-like under bonnet appearance.
BBR has not run wild with output claims, either. The firm’s upgrades are typically very well matched to the MX-5’s modest handling limit, meaning that Stage One will earn you the same 224hp output that the Super 220 delivers; the difference being that it comes hand-in-hand with 200lb ft of torque between 3,750 and 5,750rpm. As you might expect, BBR suggests this makes the MX-5 ‘highly responsive’ and is significant enough to lop a full two seconds from the standard 0-60mph time.
On the basis that the Super 220 lowers the benchmark to 6 seconds - and feels plenty quick enough - we’re going to stick our neck out and suggest that the 5.3 second claimed for Stage One is going to be sufficiently fast for most people. But BBR knows its niche better than we do, and that’s why there’s a Stage Two that will nudge 250hp and 220lb ft of torque. The tuner says this is due to improved flow rather than higher boost pressure (it adds a beefier exhaust, for one thing) and ought to see the national limit come up in 5.1 seconds.
“BBR has undertaken many, many months of both in-house dyno and road validation during the development of both the Stage One and Stage Two packages for the ND model of the MX-5,” noted BBR’s Neil Mckay. “This has resulted in a pair of supercharger upgrades that are feature rich with BBR-specific components, each designed to enhance performance while retaining ultimate reliability. Opting for the Rotrex supercharger enables BBR’s most straightforward forced induction install to date, meaning that it is well within the capabilities of most DIY mechanics and easy for any professional.”
It goes without saying that Neil is being kind to those of us born with fewer fingers than thumbs, and that’s because there’s also an option for a fully-fitted ‘drive-in, drive-out’ conversion in both cases; Stage One starts at £4,795, while Stage Two costs from £6,495. If you’re feeling brave - or are halfway capable in the garage - the DIY versions are £3,895 and £5,395, respectively, although that’s hardware only. Both conversions come with a 12-month warranty, and (for now) are only applicable to any 2.0-litre ND built between 2015 and 2019. Form an orderly queue!
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