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Henry Catchpole: Supercharged Mazda MX-5

by Stefan Lombard
3 August 2023

What a breath of fresh air!

In this episode, Henry Catchpole drives a supercharged Mazda MX-5 from renowned tuners BBR GTi. Proving that fast fun can still be affordable in this age of mega-expensive hypercars and restomods, Henry heads to some incredible roads in Wales that suit the little Mazda perfectly.

Producing 250bhp and 220lb-ft of torque, the Stage 2 Supercharger kit makes a palpable difference to the ND generation Mazda (2015–19 model years), dropping the 0–60mph time to 5.1 seconds. This particular car also has a suspension upgrade with Koni dampers, new OZ Ultraleggera wheels, and a bigger brake kit. The end result is a fabulous enhancement of everything that makes the standard MX-5 great.

It still feels nicely useable (the way it fits so neatly on these narrow roads is a case in point), the linearity of the power delivery is maintained, and the gearshift remains a delight at any speed, but when you find the right situation you have performance that feels in a very different league.

He also looks at the reasons driving with the roof down can actually be good for you. A study (albeit with a fairly small sample size) carried out at Cranfield University in association with FIAT has put some numbers to the fluctuations in things like happiness and stress when you drive with the top down. The results seems conclusive – especially when delivered by someone wearing a Tweed waistcoat and a spotty bowtie.


  • Nick Richardson says:

    Excellent review thank you Henry

  • Michael Whitehead says:

    Agree 100% with survey, with the roof down the driving experience is relaxing, less stressful, you are more alert, I drive slower. Have had 7 soft tops since I was 17 until now in my 70s. Currently, an Alfa Spider & and an Aston Vantage Roadster. Sorry I don’t wear tweed or have knowledge of
    MX- 5 but the conversation certainly seems to make it a drivable car.

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