MX5 - A winter sports car?

OK, this article might seem a bit strange when compared with the usual mix of loosely IT related stories you'll find on this site but I'm a very big MX5 fan, I've owned several over the last decade - The MX5 is the perfect plucky British sport's car, rear wheel drive, front-engine, perfect 50/50 handling, not a super-car by any means but perfect  for throwing around country lanes, top-down on those barmy summer evenings.... even if they are actually built in Hiroshima.

In the winter in snow and ice however - rear wheel drive and weighing roughly the same as Keira Knightley does make for rather interesting driving! which is why for years I've always switched to Winter tyres between November and March (as instructed to do so in the owners manual!)

So what are winter tyres and do they really work.... to be honest 'Winter tyre' is bit of a generic term, The tyres I use in the winter are mud and sand tyres with the snow flake symbol. They contain much more silicone than normal tyres which mean they stay flexible at cold temperatures unlike conventional 'summer tyres' which below 7c start to become hard. They have much deeper threads and are designed to be self cleaning of snow with a channel which collects compacted snow and throws it off! In fact the tyre is designed to keep hold of snow for one revolution (as fresh snow sticks to snow) and loose it before it's gets compacted on the second revolution.

Do they work... YES, I've driven in snow up-to around 8" deep and have found the MX5 handled better (in terms of grip) than my old 4*4.... the one problem is that the MX5 doesn't really have the torque to push through deep snow, well it's not designed for that purpose! but it did keep going where other bigger cars were abandoned! Braking is where they become unbelievably good.... they work in snow!! you put your brakes on and the car just stops, no drama or fuss it just stops!

The big question how much do they cost? well I brought mine from camskill for around £160 for a set of 4!!!! (that was a few years ago and they have gone up) You then need to have them fitted or get a second set of rims. I have several sets of tyres anyway - some for racing and car control days, some for normal use and of cause the winter ones!

However remember your only wearing out one set of tyres at a time so my 'summer tyres' last longer.... and I never worry about being able to get home... the mighty MX5 with winter tyres truly is invincible!

Written by

Christian Miles

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