This thing is an enthusiast’s dream come true

As we would expect from any contemporary auto show, the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is popping at the seams with new models offered as a “celebration” of some accomplishment or milestone. However, out of all these limited production runs and special editions, we think the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition is one of the best reasons to really celebrate. This two-door sports machine is an outlier in the market, looking a lot like a greatest hits album for the MX-5 nameplate. Here’s why we’re digging it.

All The Good Stuff, No Filler

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition Is One of the Best Excuses to Celebrate At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show
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The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition is based on the latest fourth-generation ND MX-5, which debuted in October of 2014 at the Paris Motor Show. Now, this new limited edition has captured our full attention.

The most obvious upgrade can be found outside, where the MX-5 is slathered in a new exclusive paint shade dubbed called Racing Orange.

We think the color is a perfect complement to the MX-5’s sprightly demeanor, and we also see it added to the brake calipers, the seat accents, the door trim, the dash, and the shifter. To offset the bright orange, the MX-5 also gets black interior upholstery and black wheels.

Speaking of the rollers, the 30th Anniversary Edition comes with forged aluminum units from Rays called the ZE40 RS30. Sized at 17 inches in diameter, we think the wheels look good under the arches, and definitely lend the car a sweet JDM aesthetic.

Outside, you’ll find 30th Anniversary badging scattered here and there. It’s also worth noting that Mazda offers the 30th Anniversary Edition in two body styles, either as a convertible soft-top, or as a retractable hardtop similar to the MX-5 RF that dropped a few years back.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition Is One of the Best Excuses to Celebrate At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show
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Inside the cabin, you’ll find a pair of Recaro bucket seats.

Luckily, Mazda didn’t strip the cabin into some kind of pseudo racer theme, and it’s still pretty comfortable thanks to top-trim features like automatic climate control, automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, and an in-dash navigation system. The infotainment spec is boosted further thanks to a Bose stereo rocking nine speakers, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to boot.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Drivetrain
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Note: standard Mazda MX-5 pictured here.

Under the hood, Mazda left the engine and drivetrain unchanged. Providing the motivation is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder tuned to produce 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, which feeds the rear axle through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.

And while most sports cars get heavier with each successive generation, the fourth-gen MX-5 actually sheds weight, tipping the scales with up to 220 pounds less heft than the outgoing model. For reference, the ND MX-5 weighs in at 2,332 pounds with a manual transmission and 2,381 pounds with an automatic transmission.

Low weight is the right route to handling nirvana, and to help it along, the 30th Anniversary Edition comes with Bilstein dampers (only on models equipped with a manual transmission).

There’s also Brembo brakes up front and Nissin calipers in the rear.

What’s more, the MX-5 is still small, measuring in at 91.1 inches for the wheelbase, 154.1 inches for the overall length, 68.1 inches for the for the overall width, and 48.6 inches for overall height.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition is limited at 3,000 units total, 500 of which will head stateside.

Pricing starts at $34,995 for the convertible and $37,595 for the hardtop. For reference, the standard MX-5 starts at $26,625, while the RF starts at $32,345.

Pop The Bubbly, The MX-5 Is Still A Thing!

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition Is One of the Best Excuses to Celebrate At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show
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Note: first-generation Mazda Miata pictured here.

The first-generation Miata originally debuted on U.S. shores at the Chicago Auto Show three decades in the past, so it makes sense to release this special edition here as well. Now, after 30 years and more than one million units sold, there’s no doubt this nameplate is still an absolute legend.

Furthermore, in a world where electrification, fuel mileage concerns, and autonomous technology regularly steal the headlines, the MX-5 is a breath of fresh air for enthusiasts.

It’s not often you can find an affordable, lightweight, RWD sports car with a manual transmission these days.

Sure, there are a few out there - the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins come to mind, as does the Nissan 370Z, even though the Nissan is pretty much ancient.

But honestly, what else is out there? The 3,500-pound Ford Mustang? The $60,000 718 Porsche Cayman?

Granted, the 30th Anniversary Edition is quite a bit more expensive than the standard model, but still, it’s hard to beat the combo of affordability and fun you get from the MX-5, no matter the trim level you choose.

And we still think that alone is reason to celebrate. The MX-5 is still a thing, folks. Pop the bubbly!

Further Reading

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition Is One of the Best Excuses to Celebrate At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show
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The Mazda MX-5 Celebrates its 30th Birthday at Chicago Auto Show with a Limited Edition model

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5.

2017 Mazda Miata RF – Driven Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full driven review on the 2017 Mazda Miata RF.

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Driven Exterior Test drive
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Read our full driven review on the 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know
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2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know

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