With its huge international following, Mazda knows just how important it is to get the formula right for its MX-5 roadster.
For 2009, the third generation MX-5 receives a mild revision to its appearance, with a thorough working over of the perky little convertible's engineering.
Subtlety is the key, but Mazda has gone over the MX-5 with a fine-toothed comb to deliver enhanced performance and comfort.
From the outside the 2009 MX-5 can be identified by a new front bumper featuring Mazda?s five-point lower grille, angular headlamps and triangular fog light surrounds.
The rear bumper and side sills receive a more sculpted appearance, although Mazda trainspotters may be the only ones likely to pick up on it.
The rear lamps have also received refreshed detailing.
Inside, Mazda has gone to work on improving the look, and quality feel of the interior.
Gauges are updated to improve readability, dash inserts go from black to silver and the audio interface has been tidied up.
To make the interior more livable, the passenger storage net moves from the foot-well to the door pocket and the centre console cover is softer and more comfortable.
Under the skin is where the MX-5 engineering boffins have really been busy. Outputs for the 2.0 litre engine stay the same with 118kW at 7,500 rpm, 500 rpm higher than before, and 188Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm for the manual transmission.
Automatic models generate the same power and torque, but peak revs are limited to 6,700 rpm.
The engine, when coupled to the six-speed manual box, features re-mapped engine tuning for improved response. Conrod bearings are now more durable, valves are redesigned to suppress ?bounce? high in the rev-range and a new forged crankshaft minimizes vibration.
The six-speed box itself also boasts a more precise shift action. Manual MX-5s also include a limited-slip differential as standard.
Automatic cars use a carry-over engine, but fuel economy has been improved. Both manual and automatic models return a mixed-cycle fuel economy figure of 8.1 litres/100 km.
To keep the MX-5?s ?Jinba Ittai? philosophy - 'horse and rider as one' ? the 2009 Mazda MX-5's suspension has also been tweaked. The height of the front roll centre has been dropped 26mm and, in concert with changes to the suspension tuning, helps to deliver sharper turn-in response.
Inside the folding hard-top Roadster Coupe, interior noise has been cut by 2.7 dB and Recaro seats join the list of available equipment.
Storage compartments around the interior have been made bigger and the Bose audio system gains more power, more channels and better speakers.
The MX-5 range comprises the MX-5 soft-top, Touring, Roadster Coupe and new Roadster Coupe sports which adds BBS alloy wheels and Recaro seats. Deliveries of the 2009 model begin in mid-March.