We have a chat with BBR's Neil Mckay about the 200hp package to be offered upon launch for the new MX-5
News broke earlier this week that BBR is already hard at work on tuning packages for the new fourth-gen MX-5. Which is pretty keen given that nobody outside of Mazda has actually driven it yet.
NC Super 200 was ace - hopes are high!
The brief press release from BBR confirmed the tuner's intention to offer a power upgrade to the ND MX-5 comparable with the 200hp Super 200 version of the outgoing NC. We drove that car not so long ago and were impressed with the extra power BBR squeezed out of the existing 2.0-litre engine through a combination of ECU fettling and more traditional tuning via new cams and exhaust. Clearly sympathetic to the MX-5's core ethos, BBR's Neil McKay is keen not to overwhelm the car's balance or turn it into something it isn't. But at the same time realises a little bit more power can't hurt. And if you really do crave something a little more ballistic there is of course the GT270 turbo version.
The NC's long-serving MZR engine - related to Ford's Duratec - will be replaced for the ND by Mazda's latest high-compression Skyactiv motor. So how is BBR managing to develop tuning packages before the car has even launched? By getting hold of a Mazda 3 with the same engine and using that as the basis for the development programme. "It's a very different engine," admits Neil, "and it has a lot of lightweight components and very high compression.
Just a rendering for now but looks the biz
There's always headroom with cams and exhaust thanks to the emissions laws though and we can still pass an MoT with a different exhaust and cam profile. We'll have the software cracked shortly - that's the hard part and was always going to take a while." Accustomed as BBR is to fabricating bespoke manifolds and exhaust systems he's confident the internal upgrades and breathing mods can be accommodated within the MX-5's packaging without too much trouble too.
Styling and chassis mods will follow in due course, these of course being aspects of the car BBR can't work on directly until it's got an ND in its workshop. Not a fan of overly stiff coilover set-ups Neil expects a more conventional chassis kit based around custom springs and Bilstein or - more likely - Koni dampers as used on the Super 200 and GT270. A brake kit will also be offered but Neil's keen to ensure it'll fit behind the standard 16-inch wheels so as to maintain the road-friendly balance. Turbo versions will follow later in the year, these likely to use 17s with more rubber on the road.
200hp upgrade for starters, turbos to follow
Having seen the car Neil is clearly fired up to be first out of the gate with the upgrade packages, admitting they were a little slow catching on to the demand with the NC and that the interest was "a real eye opener." No such fear this time around and the first upgrades will be ready more or less in time for when the first cars reach customers this summer. We'll be knocking on the door shortly afterwards.
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