Looking for a 'bigger' sports/GT car than the MX-5

I love MX5’s, I should do I’m on my 5th! and my current mk2.5 Rocketeer is probably about the pinnacle of MX5 ownership I’m reasonably going to have. The 3.0 V6 is awesome and made all the better by countless chassis & interior modifications. It’s an absolute blast to drive and makes me smile every time I get into it. However one thing it doesn’t do well is long-distance cruising, I’m 6’2" and whilst it’s comfortable, it’s not roomy by any means. Even before the Rocketeer conversion it was noisy at motorway cruising speeds when compared to other convertibles with 2 or 3 layer hoods.

I’m not looking to get rid of the Rocketeer, more add a stablemate that will be able to soak up the miles easier if I want to drive across Europe or up to Scotland, and then be able to put the hood down and have some fun on the country roads when I get there. I sat in a 996 911 and test drove a 986 Boxster, they both had a lot more room and were quieter, but the interiors were very dated and plasticy. I couldn’t stretch to a 997 911 which has the better interior so that’s out. A 987 Boxster or Cayman are good candidates but the Porsche tax on spares and the endless horror stories of repairs are putting me off. I’ve found myself looking longingly at Jaguar XK convertibles (the later x150 models) the only thing putting me off those is the fact that are huge cars in the flesh!
Any ideas or experience would be gratefully received :slight_smile:

My mate is 6’2” and drives an S2000.
He’s been cruising all over UK in it and never had any problems.

We have a mk1 MX5 and a Alfa Romeo Brera and its been a very reliable GT, stunning looks but not a convertible, so how about a Spyder - https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202206186920005

Thanks that’s not a bad shout, I’d forgotten about those cars completely!

I tried an s2000 years ago, my legs didn’t fit!

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Does it have to be a convertible? I agree they give a different experience, and a fuller one, but for lower noise, better handling, and comfort, it’s often the hard tops that will win out.

Boxster S is a great drive and more comfortable than an MX5 over distances, but consumables etc are indeed much higher. Ran one for many years and loved it, mostly reliable but did lunch its engine. I’d also look at the Cayman.

GT86? Lotus Evora? Maserati Quattroporte? Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a great GT (more GT than a sports car, I’d say) with great sound, luxurious interior, reasonably bulletproof engines, etc. Currently we run one of these and it’s great for fast cruising in luxury. Not sure I’d like it in sot-top (Volante) form.

RS3? M series of one form or another (personally, I’d be looking at the slighter more classic yet still reliable end of the market).

Van and trailer to take the Rocketeer places? Caterham, to compare the Rocketeer to and make it seem the ultimate in luxury?!

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Mustang . Great looks (if an homage to the original ) and , depending on the model , as much power as you need /more than you could ever want , great soundtrack and not insanely pricey. I drove 3000 miles in 10 days across the Deep South in a hired Mustang and even in poverty spec V6 with a 'mere ’ 310 bhp it was fast , comfy and pretty damn cool . Hell Yeah …

An XK is a bit of a cruiser so if it’s that style of car how about an SL. Every generation goes up in value and they are built in a separate production line to everything else to keep the quality peerless. The R129 (the 90s one) is becoming a real classic and the R230 (the noughties one) is in the waiting room.

The 987 in 2.9 engine form is meant to be the strongest and safest engine. I spoke at length to a Porsche dealer when I purchased my 986.

Thanks for the ideas :+1:

The last bit is my worry :frowning: I’ve broken down on a European roadtrip before and managed to limp home. But it definitely dampened the experience!

Yes a Gen2 987 sounds like the best bet if that’s the route I go

SL is a good shout, it looks like it has plenty of interior room and has a power hard top. I prefer the four headlight one but don’t know anything about reliability…

Interesting, would need a right hand drive and everything under £25 on Autotrader is either 4cylinder or left hand drive

Yes I keep coming back to this but I don’t know much about them, what are the running costs like?

I do prefer a coupe for looks but as it’s not a main car (I have a Volvo SUV for that) I think the baby Aston and the XK coupe are great lookers. Aston has to pip it on looks but XK coupes start at 1/3 price of the Aston!

Budget for cravats and Pringle sweaters if you go for the Jag . How about Nissan 350/370Z ; BMW Z4 and (if have dropped in price enough ) the rather funky looking Toyota Supra? .

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Mercedes SLK if the SL is too large?

Actually I love the Jag as a coupe, but something about the convertible design hasn’t sparked the same feeling, maybe it’s the fact that it’s such a huge car - nearly a metre longer than the MX5! or maybe it’s better in certain colours.
NIssan 350/370 not a fan of the droptop styling or the interior sorry.

If you’re looking at XK will the budget stretch to an F type? The boot is tiny with the roof down though, it’s a lot more compromised than the coupé.

Some generations of Z4 have a reputation for being good cruisers and very much GT orientated. Boot is a decent size if you keep the roof up. Much the same goes for later SLK/SLC.

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It’s a personal preference but I think the F-type convertible boot looks a bit of an afterthought, whereas the XK looks like it was part of the original design (like the MX5)

it looks like someone’s airbrushed out the roof!

Interesting boot space for touring purposes comparison (convertibles):
MX5 (nb) 130 litres
F-type 207 litres
XK 313 litres + back seats
Boxster 987 front 150, rear 130 = 280 litres
Aston Vantage convertible 140 litres
SLK 250 litres
TT roadster 280

R129 sl500 250 litres plus back seats plus a hard top for winter plus it’s a huge v8 and can pull 0 - 100 < 15 seconds. Drinks like Oliver Reed though.

I had a 986 Boxster 2.7 from new as a fleet car and did 70k in it. Pretty car, roomy and comfortable if not a tad basic. Never short of boot space at either end. Lacked punch especially compared to the Impreza Turbo 2000 I had before. My grade didn’t extend to the 3.2 and by the time I was promoted I also had kids. Boo Audi.

Didn’t like you couldn’t really see the engine.

Leaked like a champ from its bearing seal and I was the ref between Porsche Centre Sheffield who insisted it needed to be repaired and wasn’t under warranty and the fleet mgt company who took entirely opposite view.

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Boxster S 986 - get one with the RMS/IMS seal done, or get it done immediately, and you’re safe from the major issues and it’s a good car, though consumables are horribly expensive. Older ones are insanely cheap for the performance (MX5 money for much more powerful car) - though I’ve gone from Boxster to MX5…

Vantage V8 - running costs - to be honest, not sure, nor do we care. Lovely looking car and an event to drive. Boot not huge but space behind seats helps. Fuel not awful, Main dealer servicing high but lots of very good specialists who are more reasonable. Reliable - we run ours without a warranty now. More expensive than the Jag but probably better residuals so long terms not likely to be more (I’d even go so far as to say probably less overall depreciation hit). Interior well constructed and comfortable to be in (driven both S and standard versions, I’d pick the S for handling and there’s not a vast comfortt difference either). Insurance ok.

How about, instead of looking for a car that is 'like an MX5 but bigger/faster/etc." you embrace the difference and get something entirely different - e.g. Bentley GT Convertible? Or a Tesla for quiet, semi-automated driving for stress free cruising and grin-inducing acceleration off the lights?

I now have a new z4 ,19 inch wheels ,active supension, totally refined and comfortable, fantastic modern kit inside, big boot for a car of it’s class and lots of space in the cabin.
A few engine choices and when you put it in Sportplus all the noise you want when your blasting it.
The MX5 is a better convertible and cosier inside with those chunky heater controls giving you instant heat and it’s a lot more compact for uk roads.

Starting to think something like the Z4 or TTs convertible might be worth a look…