The updated (again) Mazda MX-5 laughs in the face of body roll

Thanks to a new feature called Kinematic Posture Control
by Stephen Dobie | Dec 18, 2021
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PHOTO: Mazda
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Believe it or not, the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 is entering its seventh year on sale. It still looks fresh, huh? Perhaps sensing this, Mazda has decided it ain’t going anywhere yet, with 2022 seeing the car receive a second update.

It’s less major than 2018’s facelift, which popped a new, more powerful 2.0-liter engine, but there’s still something worth talking about besides new colors (the most interesting option being a new blue roof for soft-top MX-5s).

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The MX-5 debuts a new piece of technology, and one that comes fitted as standard: KPC. Not a trademark-troubling fried-chicken takeaway—rather, it stands for ‘Kinematic Posture Control.’

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For a car so grounded on mechanical simplicity and driving purity, it sounds a little nannying—in short, electronics lightly apply braking to the inside rear wheel during especially hard cornering. This is to counteract body roll and keep the car’s line neater, tidier, and more trustworthy.

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“On a tightly winding road, KPC immediately recognizes a difference in speeds between the rear wheels and reacts,” we’re told, “increasing the level of intervention as needed to sharpen the rear-end response and stabilize the car.” The system only intervenes when needed and doesn’t add a gram of weight, we’re promised. Let’s say we’re intrigued to try it.

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Everything else is ‘as you were’: A choice of 130hp 1.5-liter and 181hp 2.0-liter nat-asp gasoline engines (the latter is what we have locally) drive the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic gearbox. You’ve a choice of manual soft-top or electronic hard-top ‘RF’ roofs. As ever, you want a 2.0-liter manual soft-top.

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Mazda has also used the 2022 update to give us some nerdily detailed sales stats from throughout the MX-5’s life. Thus far, a mite over 1.2 million units have been made, with nearly half of them—515,957 as we write—selling to North America. Europe is the next biggest market (378,000) followed by the car’s Japanese homeland (210,000).

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Meanwhile, the second year of the MX-5’s life (1990) was its biggest for worldwide sales (75,000) and the final year of the third-gen car (2014) was the lowest (a mere 12,000). Sales now broadly hover around the 30,000-a-year mark.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Mazda
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