Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Reviews 2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P Review: You Know What It is

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P Review: You Know What It is

I don’t want to start rumours, but if the NE-generation Mazda MX-5 is going to be electric, the time to buy one is now

  • The 2021 Mazda MX-5 is priced from $33,200 in Canada, $26,830 in the US.

  • It is always the answer, well almost always…

  • The GS-P with the Sport Package is the ultimate combination for drivers.

Some cars are far more difficult to review while others are an absolute pleasure. For example, a deep dive into the new Rolls Royce Ghost and all its options and bespoke possibilities can be exhausting. When it comes to Mazda MX-5, emotions and passions take over.

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Mazda MX-5 may not always be the answer but unlike most other sports cars (yes, it is), the Miata appeals to more age groups and true car fans than most others. As an unfortunate rule, many still discount the MX-5 as a sad slow car for those who fear real performance. These same people likely drive a base-engined automatic Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang with an aftermarket exhaust system. Not that there’s inherently anything wrong with this but they’ve probably never experienced actual driving.

For true driver

The sad state of our time is that “driving” has taken a backseat to straight-line boulevard bruisers. The task of piloting these cars, from AMG-light C-Class Benzes to 4 Series Coupe Bimmers, involves positioning the shifter to “D” and stomping on the throttle. In no scenario, lined up with any such cars, will the MX-5 take the lead. And unless the MX-5’s heavily modified, the driver probably has no desire to participate anyhow.

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Driving a Mazda MX-5 requires skill and dexterity, and when done right, the satisfaction that flows through the driver is like a good buzz – this is what charms everyone from the 20-somethings and 60-somethings. Don’t get me wrong, mastering the MX-5 is nowhere near as labour-intensive as conquering a new BMW M3 with a 6-speed. In fact, conquering this 6-speed gearbox is a matter of going through the motions and everything falls into place.

The transmission’s clutch is weighty only to point as to give the driver feedback while the shifter almost effortlessly “snicks” from one cog to another. In little time, those who want to learn how to drive manual will be practicing the heel & toe maneuver and becoming pros. For those who prefer the “D”, an automatic transmission is optional.

Real usable power

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Wringing out the Mazda MX-5’s 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine is absolutely grin-inducing. With 181-horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque, the horizon closes in at a quicker pace than pre-2019 Miatas but drag races are best left to a Mustang vs an AMG C 43. Even so, under hard throttle, the car’s front lifts, and the rear squats with pleasant effect.

The sense of speed is what matters most in a Mazda MX-5. This is the Miata’s greatest trick and always has been. The amount of power is fun, accessible, and because it can be exploited for more than 1-second at a time, experiencing thrust through the torque-rich power band (90% of all the torque is on tap between 2,000 and about 6,500 rpm) is addictive. The true beauty is that when merging onto the highway or manufacturing a passing manoeuvre, even under full throttle for 10 seconds, you’ll think you’ve hit Mach-1 but, you’ll barely be over the posted speed limit.

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

There’s a growing disparity between speed and driving fast in 2021. For too many people, driving at dramatically illegal speeds is necessary if mostly to feel something as all the above-mentioned cars are heavy and insulated from the road. This requires owners to push their cars hard but doing so in an MX-5 instantly rewards the senses. In a way, the small Mazda’s modest power is a safety feature.

GS-P is the answer

On the road, the 2021 Mazda MX-5 is part cosseting, part high-cornering speeds. The superb chassis has built-in controlled body roll. It transmits unfiltered information to the driver as to grip limits mid-corner. Along with the incredibly precise steering feel, the Miata is like a trusted friend fully supporting your desires and intentions as you cover ground on your favorite road.

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The tested GS-P, with its included Bilstein dampers, limited-slip differential, and front strut tower bar dials the chassis’ abilities up a notch with extra forward propulsion on dusty surfaces and more control through a bend. As well, the car you see in the images featured the Sport Package, which is a must. The Brembo front brakes, 17-inch forged BBS wheels, Recaro sport seats take the MX-5 to as near as possible a factory-prepared track-ready state.

The only other piece of information required here is that the driving position is perfect for the average human. That’s it. Oh, and if you are shopping for a new 2021 Mazda MX-5 and haven’t kept up with the times, the current ND Miata isn’t as affordable a new toy it once was.

Even so, there’s nothing like the MX-5, even at $41,000 for the reviewed unit. The MX-5 is the best-selling roadster in history. And, as far as petrol-powered 2-seater convertibles go, it always will be…

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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