MX-5 gets new LSD and ‘Track’ mode for 2024

Updates incoming for famed roadster as Mazda promises to prioritise the 'joy of driving'

By PH Staff / Thursday, 5 October 2023 / Loading comments

It’s true that not every model year update of the MX-5 has been hugely significant, and you would be forgiven for glazing over when reading about Mazda’s penchant for minor tinkering. But as the resolutely petrol-powered roadster slowly becomes an outlier (who now would bet against it being the last remaining fossil-fuelled sports car?) so we’re inclined to wrap the current model in a great big bear hug. This update is mostly about the tedious introduction of the ‘advanced safety functions’ that cars are obliged to feature these days, but Mazda (bless it) hasn’t missed the chance to further enhance the MX-5’s “Jinba Ittai” – i.e. the sense of unity between car and driver it strives for. 

Accordingly, while there is a light smattering of styling changes – most notably the introduction of LED headlights and a new wheel design – the manufacturer has also added a cam mechanism to the limited-slip diff and included an all-new ’Track’ mode to the DSC setting. You’d imagine the two go hand-in-hand, with Mazda claiming ‘more linear turning characteristics than ever before’ from the former, and assuring us that the latter will only intervene ‘when the driver is unable to control dangerous spin behaviour’. Which sounds just like what the MX-5 was missing. 

If that weren’t enough, the engineers have also had a go at further refining the (already very decent) power steering by reducing rack friction and adjusting the control logic of the electric motor. A more ‘natural and clean’ sense of feedback is said to result. The team has sought better responsiveness from the accelerator, too, and Mazda reckons that you’ll now get more power from the entry-level 1.5-litre motor if you choose to run it on higher octane fuel. Sure, we’re only talking 4hp – but what better excuse do you need to seek out 98 RON? 

Of possibly greater significance to a larger number of buyers will be the redesigned infotainment system, which uses a new ‘frameless’ configuration to grow the display real estate to 8.8 inches. That sounds like a minor improvement, but given how dated the current screen looks, it’s conceivable that the modernising effect on an otherwise unaltered cabin is noticeable. Or it will be when the new model gets here – for now, the MY2024 is only relevant to Asia-Pacific, but Mazda assures us that the updated MX-5 ought to arrive in Europe by March. Expect to hear about UK prices before the end of the year. 

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