Although you can have a 1.5-litre or a 2.0-litre petrol engine in the normal MX-5, 100th Anniversary cars come with the larger 2.0-litre unit only. This naturally aspirated four-pot was revised in 2019, with lighter pistons, a lighter con-rod, and revisions to the camshafts, exhaust valves, fuel injectors, throttle valve and air intake. All of which meant a hike of 24PS to 184PS (135kW) at 7,000rpm and 5Nm to 205Nm (158lb ft) at 4,000rpm, as well as a 700rpm redline lift, now 7,500rpm.
How does it drive? Simply, very well. The engine’s voice isn’t an exciting one but, then again, no MX-5 has ever sung a particularly sweet song. What you do get is a responsive engine that starts to pull properly from 3,000rpm and really feels happiest between 4,000 and 7,000rpm. Zero to 62mph takes 6.5 seconds and the top speed is 136mph.
The six-speed manual gearbox is a real honey, with a short, accurate movement, the same 40mm movement that every generation of MX-5 has had, and the 280mm discs at all four corners are perfectly adequate for the performance on offer. The suspension, double wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, with Bilstein dampers all round, offers up a firm but well-damped, comfortable ride, with enough pitch and roll to tell you you’re pushing on without feeling uncontrolled.