Upon arriving at Forest Road Garage, I was met by the General Manager, Robert Cornelius, who showed me around the gleaming gunmetal grey MX-5 with contrasting silver alloys. With its long bonnet and short tail, this is every inch a little sports car. Once seated inside, it proved easy to find a comfortable position in the fully adjustable leather seats. Robert went through the cabin layout with me; everything appeared well-positioned, clear and logical. The interior has a quality feel to it, from the tactile steering wheel to the well-cushioned controls.
Now, most folk will think that the MX-5 is a soft top as the original MX-5 reinvented the convertible market when first launched over 30 years ago. However, this MX-5 comes with a secret. Robert showed me the button that lowers the hard top. With a flick of a switch, the sexy little coupe transforms into a convertible, like something out of Thunderbirds. First impressions are so important. Leaving the roof down, I pressed the starter button and the 2.0 litre engine sprang into life with a lovely throaty blip. I immediately felt at home in the car, which seemed to wrap around me like a glove. Pulling away from the forecourt, I headed towards the West coast. Looking down the bonnet in front of me it was easy to position on the road due to the long wings either side of the bonnet. As the rear view mirrors are not too wide, this makes for carefree navigation on Guernsey roads. The short gear lever is well located and has a wonderful smooth action making it a joy to change gears.
There was plenty of power available as I smoothly progressed through the six-speed gearbox, every change bringing a smile to my face. Sitting low down to the road, and with a sports car feel to the ride, it soon became apparent that this car loved corners and it went around them like a train on a track. Stopping off at the West coast, parking is made easier with a camera located in a screen on the centre dashboard. This screen also displays media functions and I found it really easy to navigate. Whilst driving, if you do not want to take your eyes off the road, there are also controls for the radio located on the steering wheel. Setting off again, the westerly wind was far more noticeable on the coast. I kept the windows up and the roof down and it was lovely to have the feel of the fresh sea air blowing through my hair but still feeling cosseted from the wind in the cabin.
The smile appeared on my face again and I must say that has not happened to me for a long while whilst driving in Guernsey. Blip, blip, blip through the gears, being careful not to exceed the speed limit, which would be very easy to do in a car like this. But you do not need to drive fast to enjoy this car as it brings the joy back to motoring. On the way back to Forest Road I raised the roof and was amazed at how quiet and snug it felt in the cabin. The car I drove has an on the road price from £26,517, which is a little more than the soft top model, but given that this feels like two cars for the price of one I honestly believe this is a small price to pay. As a true petrol head, I think we have to take the opportunity to enjoy cars like this whilst we still have the chance, thanks Mazda.