I’m thinking about making the jump in the opposite direction, from a 1999 NB 1.8i S to a Cayman in the next few years, so the comments from Porsche owners are illuminating. I find the MX-5 engaging and fun even at low speeds. It is worth noting that an NB MX-5 is approximately 300 kg lighter than a 987 Cayman, and has a 15 cm shorter wheelbase.
I park the MX-5 in a side road in north London, with no view of the car from my home, and never have any concerns about it being stolen, etc, so in that sense it is definitely a carefree car ownership experience. I inherited the car, so I have an emotional attachment to it, but not a financial one.
Since March 2019 I’ve had to spend £656 on an oil service, new battery, and new front calipers, discs and pads. I initially thought the brake calipers seem to be a problem on this car, but on inspection of the full service history the front calipers seem to have lasted nearly 21 years before needing to be replaced. The car has been kept outside for at least 18 years and only done 26,000 miles in that time.
A couple of my mum’s past bills for servicing and maintenance have surprised me for what is supposed to be a cheap to run car, and this work was done by an independent garage:
£1,494 for a full service, MOT and maintenance in 2018: brake fluid change, coolant change, engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, spark plugs, washer fluid. Welding to nearside sill, replace front shock absorber, coil springs and anti-rollbar links. Replace rear tyres, unblock roof drain channel, replace front wiper blades. Check for front brakes binding - remove front brake pads, clean and lub.
£950 for a full service, MOT and maintenance in 2014: brake fluid change, coolant change, engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, spark plugs, washer fluid. Replace rear brake discs and pads, replace rear brake calipers [previously replaced in August 2009]. Clean roof seals lub and adjust.
I am steeling myself for future costs, as the latest MOT has numerous advisory notes about corrosion to suspension arms, front and rear sub-frame, front and rear anti-roll bars, rear vehicle structure on both sides. Although the advisories say, “but not seriously weakened” or “but structural rigidity is not significantly reduced”, it still gives me the jitters.