NC1.8 vs NB1.8

Hi all,
I have been a lurker for some time, and recently sold my NB mk2.5 1.8, just before the Covid thing hit. I intend getting an NC with powered hard top, and there are a few for sale that I would have seen and possibly bought had we not been in lock down. I have spent a lot of time on research, but something that you just can’t tell from paper… What is the 1.8NC like compared to the NB1.8, engine performance wise?

I loved my Mk2.5 - but I would not have wanted it to be any slower. Not looking for a speed fiend or track car or anything like that, more for a Sunday country lane two up cruise - maybe with some motorway to get to where we want to cruise, but I am put off the NC1.8 because on paper it looks slower than my old car - is it in real life?

Am pretty much restricting my searches to the 2.0 version because of the power (and the LSD) but I may be missing some potential 1.8 bargains out there that I would be perfectly happy with.

And on the subject of the LSD, is it worth having on the NC - my understanding of the older ones was that they tended to fail by 80/90k.

Just for reference, the only MX5 I have ever driven was my mk2.5 1.8 but I am in my 50s and have driven and tracked many other cars/bikes. The NC would not be my only car.


I would say go for the 2 litre with six speed and lsd. For the sake of a few quid you will not spend the rest of the ownership wishing or wondering what you are missing. While 2 litre cars command a higher price they are probably easier to sell in the future and will retain that added premium.
Buying an NC I would say buy the best condition car you can find and pay special attention to the trailing edge of the sills, the rear arches and the underbody condition. Paul Roddison is worth talking to for his experience of these cars and also has some good examples for sale from time to time.
Good luck with the search.

Absolutely nothing wrong with a 1.8NC five speed, i came from a 1.8NB sport with the six speed box and don’t miss it one little bit, in fact i wouldn’t swap mine for a 2.0NC as it’s quite fast enough.
Just buy on condition, MOT history, check the oil level and state of the oil before parting with any cash.
All NCs are chain driven cams so don’t expect a quiet engine when standing by the side of the car.