First Drive: Turbo ND MX-5

When Flyin’ Miata announced it would begin selling BBR Turbo kits for the latest Mazda MX-5 yesterday, we knew we had to get behind the wheel. Fortunately, that wasn’t too hard—we’re hanging out at the Classic Motorsports Mitty presented by Hagerty this weekend, and Flyin’ Miata happened to have a freshly built turbocharged ND MX-5 sitting in their booth.

Sure, we were all busy hosting a giant historic race, but we couldn’t resist a chance like this. We walked up to their booth, helmet in hand, begging to take the car over to the BFGoodrich Tire Ride & Drive autocross course for a few laps. First they said no, because they haven’t finished the production part-throttle tuning yet, but after a little convincing they tossed us the keys. They assured us the part-throttle drivability issues would be fixed before they shipped the first production kit.

So, what’s a new MX-5 like when treated with a standard dose of Flyin’ Miata handling goodies and 70 more horsepower? At least on the second-gear autocross course, it feels very, very stock. And not stock like a Miata. Stock like a BMW Z4 or a Mercedes SLK or any other awesome European roadster. Floor the car, and it just goes.

The BBR turbo kit doesn’t turn the Miata into a temperamental monster. Instead, it drives like the original Miata was told to “straighten up and get with the times,” and now has the correct amount of power in an era when your Toyota Camry can run a sub-six-second 0-60 mph time. There isn’t really any turbo noise, and under the hood it all looks very OEM. Instead, it’s just faster (five seconds to 60 mph faster, if BBR’s numbers hold true on US fuels). Oh, and another thing: TORQUE. Finally, the ND has some. Is there lag? Nope, not that we could find. Between the properly-sized turbo and the high-compression SkyActiv engine, the turbo ND spools very, very quickly.

What about the transmission?” Yeah, we hear you, and that was our first question for Flyin’ Miata. Their own Keith Tanner had a simple answer: “They upgraded the transmissions in late 2016, so anybody with an early one has 3 years and 36,000 miles to break it and get it replaced with the updated design.” Obviously, we’d recommend breaking it before you put the turbo on, otherwise your friendly local Mazda dealer probably won’t honor that powertrain warranty.

Is there a downside? Not that we could discern, though returning the car could be described as “physically painful.” We loved the turbo ND, and Flyin’ Miata is hoping everybody else will, too–you can pre-order your kit right here.

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Comments
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jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
4/24/17 2:21 p.m.

5 seconds faster to 60? Seeing as a stock one can do 6.5 seconds to 60, that would put it at about 1.5 seconds. Does that seem feasible? You might want to reword that paragraph just a little.

red_stapler
red_stapler Dork
4/24/17 2:41 p.m.
jstein77 wrote: 5 seconds faster to 60? Seeing as a stock one can do 6.5 seconds to 60, that would put it at about 1.5 seconds. Does that seem feasible? You might want to reword that paragraph just a little.

I understood that to mean it goes from 6.5 to 5, but yeah that is a bit confusing. Maybe something like "how much faster? 0-60 in 5 seconds!"

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/24/17 2:43 p.m.

In reply to

Lol! I read it that way too!

LuxInterior
LuxInterior HalfDork
4/24/17 3:06 p.m.

So fast it actually spins the earth backwards.. making time go in the other direction! Beat that Tesla!

Sounds like another fun FM upgrade

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
4/24/17 8:46 p.m.

I'll be holding shifts to 7,000 rpm and above

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/24/17 9:02 p.m.

Hey, Tom was scrambling to get this out while also in the middle of a very chaotic weekend You know what he meant, even if it is fun to play the pedantry game.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/26/17 7:20 a.m.

Sounds awesome, but $5,695... whew... (gulp).

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/26/17 7:39 a.m.
Ian F wrote: Sounds awesome, but $5,695... whew... (gulp).

That's a pretty fair price for a high-quality, well made turbo kit.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/26/17 10:06 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: That's a pretty fair price for a high-quality, well made turbo kit.

I've never really priced turbo kits, so I wouldn't really know. I'm sure it's worth the price, but 20% of the cost of the car gives me reason to pause.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/26/17 11:45 a.m.

It gets worse. It still costs the same to do a good turbo kit for a $1500 car Man, am I tired of that phone call.

20% of the cost of the car, but 33-50% more power. And it's still pretty much alone in the market, there aren't a lot of 230 hp lightweight roadsters in the $32,000 price range.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
4/26/17 12:14 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Ask any frisbee twin owner what they'd be willing to pay for 70HP.

Recon1342
Recon1342 New Reader
4/26/17 1:50 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift: Frisbee twin?

Care to enlighten me please? I only speak truck...

accordionfolder
accordionfolder HalfDork
4/26/17 2:02 p.m.

In reply to Recon1342:

Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S - I have no idea why they call them them "frisbee" twins here.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
4/26/17 2:08 p.m.

FRSBRZ

Say it out loud and it will sort of make sense.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/26/17 2:30 p.m.
captdownshift wrote: In reply to Keith Tanner: Ask any frisbee twin owner what they'd be willing to pay for 70HP.

Yeah, but there are cheap knock-off turbo kits sold by SBD for $3k.

A quality turbo kit with everything you need is still going to be approaching $5k. The only kit I would buy is in the $7k range. And that doesn't include things like bigger injectors/pump if you want more than 300whp (the stock fuel system in the Twins is capable of that) an upgraded clutch or cooling solutions.

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