My love for Mazda’s Miata is well known. Sure, call it bias, but, from my perspective, it’s a hard car for a gearhead not to like. Light, tight, handles right; sure, it could use more power, but show me a car that doesn’t. Mazda’s had a good thing on its hands since the get-go, and they’re not about to mess with it . . . much.
They are coming up on the company’s centenary, and to mark that 100 years, they’ve chosen their Miata to carry a special package.
Basically, what we’re dealing with here is a styling edition. Mazda has not done much of anything to the car, hardware-wise, nor have they monkeyed around with stuff. That’s a bit sad because now would have been a perfect time to finally put a rotary into the little guy (hey, a gearhead can dream).
Luckily, Mazda has reached back into their heritage while not trying to use designs from 1920. Not that there’s anything inherently bad with post-WWI design trends, it’s just that you have to be careful, or you might end up with an Argyle print soft-top or something.
Due in the U.S. later this year, the 100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata (the full name) will be offered in limited numbers in either the RF (retractable fastback) or a rather fetching and exclusive red soft top. The exterior is Snowflake White Pearl Mica accented by red styling features throughout. It’s a nice look; subtle; refined. And it does have that throwback vibe to it.
Other anniversary embellishments include the minimalist “100 Years 1920 – 2020” badge on the front fender and a 100th Anniversary logo in red and black on the wheel center caps. There’s more red in the cabin, with red leather seats and red carpets to add a “level of sophistication.” It also works as a nice nod to the two-tone Mazda R360 Coupe, the Hiroshima company’s first passenger car.
The headrests are embossed with the 100th Anniversary logo, and the red floor mats have the same badging as the front fender. The key fob is embossed with the 100th Anniversary logo and presented in a special edition box.
100th Anniversary Special Edition Powertrain
The 100th Anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata is based upon the 2020 Grand Touring model. Motivation is provided by the trick four-cylinder Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine. Said mill puts out 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque, which is not huge, but is enough for a two-seater that tips the scales at just over a ton. Gearing is handled by either a six-speed manual or a Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Don’t worry, that automatic is actually quite good! However, the manual versions include a limited-slip differential, Bilstein dampers, front shock tower brace, sport-tuned suspension, and, for the RF variant, a black roof.
Other niceties include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated leather seats (a must-have for cold weather top-down driving), a Bose audio system with driver and passenger headrest speakers, automatic climate control, and 17- inch dark silver aluminum alloy wheels.
Pricing & Availability
The 100th Anniversary MX-5 Miata should be arriving later this year. The (not really all that) bad news is that it will run you $32,670 for the Soft Top and $35,425 for the RF with a manual transmission. The automatics will run you about $300 to $500 more.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.