Hot Mods

BBR Motorsports will tune your MX-5 Miata to 224 horsepower as part of new tuner package

BBR has upgraded the offerings of their Super 220 package with the new Super 225 package.

Photo courtesy of BBR

UK-based Mazda tuner BBR Motorsports has announced a new tuning upgrade for all 2005 and younger third-generation (NC) MX-5 Miatas with 2.0-liter engines. The modification is part of the new Super 225 package.

The upgrade builds on BBR's previously available Super 200 conversion. It gives the car an additional 67 bhp and 36 pound-feet of torque. In a car that only weighs 2,400 pounds off the line, that's a significant boost.

"The main challenge for our development program was optimising the intake side of the engine by switching to bespoke independent throttle bodies (ITB's,)" said BBR's Neil McKay, "while retaining the standard Mazda Denso engine management system and under bonnet layout."

2005 Mazda MX-5 MiataThe car only weigh around 2,400 pound initially so the horsepower upgrade is substantial.Photo courtesy of BBR

Each modification is completely reversible.

"To maximise performance the OEM Mazda MAF sensor and plenum chamber are dispensed with for the Super 225 conversion, but the original factory drive by wire throttle configuration is retained and integrated into the BBR independent throttle body set up. Here is where BBR's close partnership with EcuTek enabled us to develop an ECU calibration to accommodate this new hardware, which entailed a considerable amount of dyno time and road testing to accumulate mileage and refine the end package," McKay said.

In the end, the MX-5 ends up with 224 bhp and 174 pound-feet of torque. Over 170 pound-feet of that torque is available from 4,000-6,000 rpm, with more than 150 pound-feet available from 3000 rpm all the way up to the 7800 rpm rev limiter.

BBR has ensured that the Super 225 upgrade is fully UK MOT emissions compliant. Following the upgrade, the car can run on either 98 or 95 octane fuel, while an optional BBR air filter is advisable for everyday use.

2005 Mazda MX-5 MiataAll modifications are fully UK MOT emissions compliant.Photo courtesy of BBR

BBR Super 225 package includes:

  • BBR stainless steel 4 into 1 exhaust manifold
  • BBR high performance intake and exhaust camshafts
  • BBR 3.5 - inch diameter branded tailpipes with stainless steel clamps
  • BBR badges for front wings and boot lid
  • Drive by wire controlled direct to head billet 45mm DCOE throttle body assemblies
  • Bespoke BBR aluminium ram pipe support/backing plate (carbon-fibre option available)
  • Bespoke BBR DBW system – complete OEM ECU integration
  • Bespoke BBR air rail for MAP and servo feed
  • Alloy inlet ram pipe curved extensions
  • CNC machined 20mm alloy inlet ram pipes - black and silver anodised for OEM style discrete appearance
  • Optional BBR foam air filter available

Priced at £3495.00 for a DIY package option, or £4295.00 for a drive-in, drive-out installation at BBR's Brackley HQ, the BBR Super 225 package is on-sale now. Owners of BBR Super 200 converted cars can migrate to this new level of performance for just £2495.00 fitted.

The Super 225's BBR independent drive by wire throttle body package hardware is also available in isolation for any Mazda MX-5 NC engine, priced from just £1795.00 with optional BBR foam air filter at £65.00 excluding VAT.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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Pricing for the new SUV starts at under $30,000.

Mazda

Mazda is known for building high quality, engaging vehicles, and its SUVs are no exception. All of the automaker's utility vehicles are stylish, and offer a solid driving experience that not many can at their price points. A brand-new Mazda SUV is on its way soon that will feature a more rugged personality and styling aimed at active outdoors enthusiasts. The 2023 CX-50 entered production earlier this year, and Mazda recently announced pricing for the new vehicle.

The CX-50 will hit dealers' lots in March as the first Mazda built in the automaker's joint production facility, which it shares with Toyota in Huntsville, AL. It's similar to the CX-5 crossover, but is larger and features a more rugged outdoor-oriented personality. Mazda wills sell both for the time being, as the CX-5 is a best seller for the automaker, with almost 170,000 units sold last year. The popular crossover also got a refresh for 2022.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is intended for people that want to take it off the beaten path.Mazda

The CX-50 comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Mazda offers a turbo version with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when running premium fuel. Both engines come paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard.

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 will go on sale this year. Its starting price lands at $28,025, including a $1,225 destination fee. The top 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus starts at $42,775 after destination.

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