BBR's New Turbo Conversion Will Give Your 1.5-Litre ND MX-5 210bhp

Serious gains from a twin-scroll turbo turn the weedy 1.5-litre engine into the 200bhp per tonne David that's ready to slay all sorts of Goliaths

Remind me later
BBR's New Turbo Conversion Will Give Your 1.5-Litre ND MX-5 210bhp - Tuning

Our one criticism of the 1.5-litre, ND-generation Mazda MX-5 is that it’s a bit gutless, but expert tuner BBR has done something rather dramatic about that.

The smaller engine of the two on offer from the factory normally puts out a feeble 129bhp, but BBR has launched a new turbocharger kit that boosts peak power to 210bhp. That’s 50bhp more than the 2.0-litre car, and it still revs to 7750rpm.

BBR's New Turbo Conversion Will Give Your 1.5-Litre ND MX-5 210bhp - Tuning

Power to weight, taking a rough guess of 1065kg for the kerb weight, is a very handy 197bhp per tonne; enough to make your 1.5 MX-5 very brisk. We can imagine this thing feels incredibly alive.

Torque takes a serious leg-up, too. From so little it’s not really worth mentioning, forced induction takes the figure to a handsome 197lb ft. The torque curve reaches its zenith at 4150rpm, with over 150lb ft on tap between 3000rpm and just under 7000rpm.

BBR's New Turbo Conversion Will Give Your 1.5-Litre ND MX-5 210bhp - Tuning

The £5994 kit uses a specific turbocharger developed for this project. It’s a twin-scroll snail attached to a BBR-designed twin-scroll manifold. There’s a front-mounted intercooler, too. Extra gains, bro.

In terms of software there’s a Stage 1 setup with upgraded ECU programming to cover the new fuelling, ignition and boost calculations. Boost is set at a “conservative” 7psi and is “well within the limits of both the BBR turbocharger and the SkyActiv-G engine,” says BBR, adding that “considerably more power is available.” Well, that sounds interesting.

BBR's New Turbo Conversion Will Give Your 1.5-Litre ND MX-5 210bhp - Tuning

Buyers can choose a DIY build kit for £5274, or take the drive-in, drive-out installation service from BBR itself for the higher price we listed above. Those prices include VAT, but not the price of any warranty extension package. Up to three years is on offer.

Elsewhere in the kit you get a stainless exhaust, BBR engine bay parts made to look like Mazda’s own, a dump valve, a K&N Typhoon induction kit, stainless oil and water lines, and – gasp! – a BBR heat shield made out of carbonfibre.

We really, really like the sound of this conversion. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a go…