Poll: Mazda MX-5 Miata or BMW 230i?

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

There are plenty of new vehicles to choose from these days.

But despite the ever-growing swell of crossovers and pickups it seems there are fewer fun cars than ever. Automakers are more interested in masquerading as technology companies than actually building soul-stirring vehicles.

Still, there are a few gems out there if you know where to look. Traditionally, both Mazda and BMW have offered more than their share of entertaining models, and this remains true today even if they’ve sold out in certain ways.

Thanks to its lightness, thoughtful engineering and impeccable dynamics, Hiroshima’s MX-5 is one of the most fun cars available today. It may not offer a ton of power, but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a chassis that dances like a ballerina.

Underhood, this Mazda features a modestly sized 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine that delivers just 155 horses and 148 lb-ft of torque. It can be matched to either a manual or automatic transmission, each of which have six forward speeds. A curb weight of less than 2,400 pounds ensures this coupe feels sprightly.

Likewise, the BMW 230i is a small two-door car but beyond this similarity things quickly diverge. For instance, its 2.0-liter ‘banger features a turbocharger, which helps it deliver impressive output figures: 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

As for transmissions, you can get a six-speed manual or an eight-ratio automatic in this Bimmer. All-wheel drive is also on the menu for an extra helping of choice.

But unfortunately, having more luxury and amenities results in more weight. The 230i is about 1,000 pounds heavier that the Miata. Still, it can reach 60 miles an hour in as little as 5.1 seconds.

As for pricing, the BMW is predictably much more expensive than the Mazda, kicking off around $34,000. That’s roughly 10 grand richer than the MX-5!

So, which of these fun-driving cars do YOU prefer the light and simple Mazda, or fast and technologically advanced BMW? Which one would YOU rather own? Well, research each one here and please make sure to vote in our poll!

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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Join the conversation
  • Billy Cypher Billy Cypher on Jan 04, 2017

    No contest. MX-5. BMW's have become soulless shells of their former selves.

  • Section147 Section147 on Jan 09, 2017

    I've had both (prior Gen. MX-5). Apples & oranges. Anyone who loves to drive should own a Miata at least once. Especially if you're going to be taking a lot of twisties (Blue Ridge Parkway, for example). A great toy to have for special drives. As far as a DD? I'll take the Bimmer in a ragtop, please...but preferably the 240i (which I own currently). It's certainly not "soulless". Take one for a run if you don't believe me. Again, both are fantastic automobiles, but apples & oranges.