The MX-5 - in celebration of the best “British” sports car on the road

As Mazda prepares to unveil its fourth generation roadster, we look back at the models which have made it a motoring icon

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Mazda MX-5 Mark 1

Mark 1

Remember those amazing pop-up headlights? Gone but not forgotten, those iconic lights were a prominent feature of the first MX-5, which went on sale way back in 1989 powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine. Today you could pay as little as £600 for the original version of the MX-5, although it would pay to keep an eye out for rust and ripped roofs.

Mazda MX-5 Mark 2

Mark 2

The pop-up lights were abandoned for the Mark II MX-5, which first went on sale in 1993. This time the car got a 1.8litre petrol engine and more muscular body style. 

Mazda MX-5 Mark 3

Mark 3

As with many modern motors, the Mark III MX-5 was a slightly more weighty model than its predecessor, coming in at more than 1,000kg. Launched in 2005, it was sold with either a 1.8 or 2litre engine. A car with a plastic hard-top roof was added to the range in 2006. Good examples of the Mark 3 can be found for as little as £4,000.

Mazda MX-5

Mark 4

It might be Japanese through and through, but the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 will continue the rich heritage of “British” two-seater roadsters. With its wind-in-the hair appeal and stripped back style, the MX-5 has always been reminiscent of the golden days when cars bearing Triumph, MG and Austin Healey badges tore down hedge-lined country lanes.

The new MX-5 will make its European auto show debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October.

In terms of design, Mazda says the latest edition of the best-selling two-seater roadster in history is arguably the sportiest ever. We can’t wait to find out if they’re right.

*Which is your favourite MX-5? Let us know.

Mark 2 for me

The Mark 4 looks awesome but I can't help thinking that it's lost some of the simplicity which has made its predecessors so successful. I'm nostalgic for the Mark 1's pop-up lights but think there's very little wrong with the Mark 3.

MR2 Mark 2 for me...

A point of great importance that seems to have been missed here. Top Gear said similarly a couple of years ago 'The Best BRITISH Sportscar'. This is valid when you consider it was almost a direct copy of the great Lotus Elan! What greater tribute to one of the best Genuine British sportscars?

Just bought a an 05 plate "Arctic" MX% with 52k on the clock - great little performer and sooooo easy to service with plentiful spares and real fun to drive -brings out a genuine smiles.

I have the mk2, Isola,, best of lot, engine still first class ,needs some body work now though. Still say it is the best looking one.

one word!lotus!

I have had a few Mk 1 s, the Japanese eunos, is better than the uk cars, go for a v spec, LSD leather aircon, bilsteins...fab....the handle nicer than the mk 2 and 3, which suffer from a lot of bodyroll. And for real fun stick a turbo or supercharger on! if you want vids let me know...mine was a monster, and quicker than my e46 m3...