The NC-era Mazda MX-5 always blended sweet handling with petite curves and an inoffensive character, but now it can also fill the performance gap courtesy of some mighty modifications centred around independent throttle bodies (ITBs).
Despite raising power to 158bhp from around 128bhp in the NB car, the NC MX-5 never quite felt fast enough for its excellent chassis. Three iterations passed, known as the Mk3, Mk3.5 and Mk3.75, and while all were brilliant, the need for more power was obvious. To address that, BBR has taken what it learned from developing the Super 220 kit which we drove in the spellbinding ND MX-5, and christened a Super 225 setup for the older car.
“Dramatic” improvements in inlet efficiency add 67 ponies and 36lb ft of torque. Bespoke ITBs allow the car to carry on using its original Mazda engine management system and its standard under-bonnet layout, meaning the conversion is suitable for right- and left-hand drive cars. Neat, and fully reversible if you ever wanted to revert to standard.
There’s a new ECU calibration developed on the dyno, where BBR’s figures show the peak of 224bhp at 7550rpm, with a redline set at a giddy 7800rpm. Peak shove is 174lb ft at 5950rpm, but more than 170lb ft is your all the way from 4000-6000rpm for what should be impressive upper-rev-range muscle.
More of a ‘bark’ comes to the aural experience courtesy of the freer-breathing setup, says BBR. It’s not too loud on the motorway, says the press release, but is perfect for fast road and track day driving. It’s not a cheap upgrade, though, at £4295 for a drive-in, drive-out job done by BBR itself. There’s a £3495 DIY option and a final £2495 choice for owners of NC MX-5s already upgraded to Super 200 spec.
Interestingly, the ITBs and drive-by-wire throttle package are also compatible not just with 1.8-litre MX-5s, but also those that have been enlarged in the aftermarket to 2.3 and 2.5 litres. BBR sells this hardware for £1795. There’s a 10 per cent discount on all DIY ITB orders placed before 31 July.