BASIC IS GOOD: Sean Parker says the MX-5 is what a car company can produce when it focuses on one aspect: driving enjoyment. Image: Newspress
Cape Town - When have you felt most alive? In the front-row of a roller-coaster? In the middle of mosh-pit gone wrong? Maybe it was during an emergency landing?
Thankfully, I haven't experienced the latter but a recent test in the world's best-selling sports car, the Mazda MX-5, gave me a taste of what it's like to live on the edge but still be in control of your own destiny.
My time with the diminutive roadster yielded a few pieces of advice, here's what I think the MX-5 needs to get the best out of the driving experience...
A winding road - The MX-5 thrives on a winding piece of tarmac. It becomes alive, akin to Lionel Messi on a football field. It zings with the enthusiasm of LeBron James after the final buzzer at the NBA championship.
I found myself cherry-picking Cape Town's best roads; De Waal drive, Rhodes Drive, Michell's Pass, Franschhoek Pass and Clarence Drive were waiting to be devoured by the Mazda.
A delicate driver - The MX-5's hydraulic steering is so precise and accurate that the only approach to really savouring the feel and balance is to drive the car with the poise of a ballerina.
A single/unmarried owner - The MX-5 is hopelessly impractical; the glove box is located behind the driver, so are the cup holders and the transmission tunnel interrupts the floor like a pimple on a teenager's face.
Its tiny boot can hardly accommodate anything more than three sacks of potatoes. It's definitely not suited for families.
It should be noted that nobody purchases an MX-5 for its practicality, it's like a buying a baby elephant though you live in Kloof Street (in Cape Town).
An appreciation for 'old-school' driving - Mazda's Japanese engineers managed to make the cabin fizz and ping with delight each time you even think of touching the throttle.
The reason? Well it's the 2.0-litre four-cylinder NATURALLY ASPIRATED, pushing out all that goodness.
On paper, 118kW and 200Nm might not seem all that much power but when your hands are clasped tightly around the perfectly-sized leather-steering wheel it's more than enough to evoke a thrill that some would pay much more to achieve.
Flawed pieces of metal
Driving a sports car quickly alone is thrilling, and sometimes a tad scary. But knitting together corner after corner, bend after bend of the province's best roads is something I'll never get tired of. Sports cars are flawed, that's why we love them.