RAY MASSEY: Mazda revs-up the MX5 … the best British sports car ever from Japan

Formula fun: the fourth generation Mazda & # 39; s MX-5 two-seater drop-top cabriolet

Three decades later, the fourth generation of Mazda's MX-5 two-seater drop-top cabrio is out, just in time to catch the last rays of the summer.

And it comes complete with a beefy new 184 bhp 2-liter engine that answers critics who said that the 160 hp version lacked enough oomph.

The new MX-5 range is priced from £ 18,995 to £ 29,195, with the RF (Retractable Fastback Convertible) version – complete with a hard, folding roof – from £ 22,595.

Formula fun: the fourth generation Mazda & # 39; s MX-5 two-seater drop-top cabriolet

Formula fun: the fourth generation Mazda & # 39; s MX-5 two-seater drop-top cabriolet

The new MX5 comes complete with a beefy new 184 bhp 2-liter engine that answers critics who said that the 160 hp version was not enough

The new MX5 comes complete with a beefy new 184 bhp 2-liter engine that answers critics who said that the 160 hp version was not enough

The new MX5 comes complete with a beefy new 184 bhp 2-liter engine that answers critics who said that the 160 hp version was not enough

The RF (Retractable Fastback Convertible) version comes complete with a hard, folding roof - starting from £ 22,595

The RF (Retractable Fastback Convertible) version comes complete with a hard, folding roof - starting from £ 22,595

The RF (Retractable Fastback Convertible) version comes complete with a hard, folding roof – starting from £ 22,595

Holiday romance: Ray fell in love with the original MX5 during a vacation to Hawaii in 1992

Holiday romance: Ray fell in love with the original MX5 during a vacation to Hawaii in 1992

Holiday romance: Ray fell in love with the original MX5 during a vacation to Hawaii in 1992

The original MX-5 was the genius move of Japan to reinvent the classic British two-seat roadster for the modern era.

It caused a storm when it was launched at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989.

It had a creepy resemblance to the Lotus Elan that was built in Norfolk in the 1960s and 1970s, and came almost ten years after MG in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was closed in 1980, marking the end of the Midget and the MGB.

I had a Midget in the nineties and I remember with great pleasure my first encounter with an MX-5 in 1992 during a budget trip to the Hawaiian islands.

Apart from the new engine, the MX-5 Mk4 can hardly be distinguished stylistically from the aerodynamically shaped lines of its predecessor 2015

Apart from the new engine, the MX-5 Mk4 can hardly be distinguished stylistically from the aerodynamically shaped lines of its predecessor 2015

Apart from the new engine, the MX-5 Mk4 can hardly be distinguished stylistically from the aerodynamically shaped lines of its predecessor 2015

I had booked a Jeep Wrangler 4×4 to explore unpaved roads. But when I saw rows of small sports cars in the collection point, I made a turnaround. Aloha! I was beaten.

Part of the charm of the MX-5 is that Mazda bravely resisted the temptation to tamper with a winning formula.

Apart from the new engine, the MX-5 Mk4 can hardly be distinguished stylistically from the aerodynamically shaped lines of its predecessor from 2015.

Mazda offers a choice of seven colors, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, which adds £ 790

Mazda offers a choice of seven colors, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, which adds £ 790

Mazda offers a choice of seven colors, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, which adds £ 790

With a promising drive, it accelerates from rest to 62 km / h in 6.5 seconds – 0.8 seconds faster – and has a top speed of 136 mph.

There is a choice of seven colors, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, which adds £ 790.

This is shorter, lower and wider than the previous MX-5 and is still the most compact version. But the only big styling tweak is a new design of 16 inch and 17 inch alloy wheels.

It has come a long way from the more rounded original. I drove along winding mountain passes and beautiful sunset beaches along the beach on my Hawaiian adventure.

Kia & # 39; s stylish new load-lugger

Kia has unveiled its new ProCeed GT Grand Touring Estate car with coupe-like sports brake styling.

Expect prices starting at around £ 21,000 when it arrives here next year.

The five-door load-lugger was designed in Frankfurt, built in Slovakia and has a luggage capacity of 594 liters.

The new ProCeed GT Grand Touring Estate car from Kia is built in Slovakia and has a luggage capacity of 594 liters

The new ProCeed GT Grand Touring Estate car from Kia is built in Slovakia and has a luggage capacity of 594 liters

The new ProCeed GT Grand Touring Estate car from Kia is built in Slovakia and has a luggage capacity of 594 liters

Engines include a 1.6-liter T-GDi with high performance for GT models and a choice of petrol and diesel for GT-Line variants.

It comes with a seven-year warranty, 100,000 miles.

BMW turns green with a plug-in X5

The Hy5 plug-in hybrid X5 has an electric range of 50 miles and can accelerate from rest to 62 km / h in 5.6 seconds

The Hy5 plug-in hybrid X5 has an electric range of 50 miles and can accelerate from rest to 62 km / h in 5.6 seconds

The Hy5 plug-in hybrid X5 has an electric range of 50 miles and can accelerate from rest to 62 km / h in 5.6 seconds

On a steaming American farm near Atlanta, Georgia, I saw BMW's new plug-in hybrid version of its X5 SUV for the first time.

It is powered by a 3 liter petrol engine, coupled with an 82kW electric motor to deliver 394 horsepower. The charging point is clearly visible on the wing, shown on the left.

The X5 xDrive45e iPerformance is awkwardly called the X5 xDrive45e iPerformance and has a range of 50 miles at speeds up to 87 mph only in electrical power (146 mph maximum hybrid speed).

The X5 delivers a lot of power and accelerates from rest to 62 km / h in 5.6 seconds with average CO2 emissions of only 49 g / km, and claims a fuel consumption of 134 mpg.

This new hybrid is built in Spartanburg, in neighboring South Carolina, and a full road test should follow in this column.

While petrol and diesel prices are rising, it has been an exciting week for rechargeable electric car batteries.

Williams Advanced Engineering and the Unipart Manufacturing Group open a factory in Coventry and create almost 100 new jobs.

The first electric supercar from Aston Martin, the Rapide E, to be built in Wales from next year, will be the first customer.

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