We visit five of Europe’s most scenic mountain roads in the all-new MX-5.
Col De Turini – France
24 kilometres (15 miles) and 34 hairpins
Linking Sospel and La Bollène-Vésubie in the French Alpes-Maritimes, this road echoes to the sound of World Rally cars every January when the Monte Carlo Rally blasts through. It also hosted the Tour de France in 1948, 1950 and 1975 and remains incredibly popular with cyclists. Open year-round (weather dependent, of course), it peaks at 1,607m.
Best for rally fans and cyclists.
“The Col De Turini has a reputation, but I couldn’t have picked a better car than the all-new MX-5 to boost my confidence”
Furka Pass – Switzerland
31 kilometres (19.3 miles) and 12 hairpins
Already used in Roman times, this pass links Gletsch and Andermatt in the Swiss Alps. It is one of the highest passes in Switzerland and tops out at 2,436m. As a result, it is closed in the winter months, often until as late as June. The Furka tunnel, opened in 1982, ensures that the area stays connected.
Best for spies and stunt drivers.
“With figure-hugging seats and a suspension that absorbs the worst potholes, the all-new MX-5 is an easy car in which to cross a country or two”
Flüela Pass – Switzerland
28 kilometres (17.4 miles) and 37 hairpins
The Swiss towns of Davos and Susch are joined by the 28km Flüela Pass,
and it’s a breathtaking commute! It is smoothly surfaced and a joy to drive up to its 2,383m summit and down again. Closed in the winter, the region is still accessible via the Vereina Tunnel.
Best for cowbells and quaint scenery.
“Overtaking on this road requires a couple of swift downshifts and nailing the accelerator, enjoying the subtle change in exhaust note from a throaty growl to a metallic rasping above 4,000rpm to the redline”
Stelvio Pass – Italy
25 kilometres (15.5 miles) and 48 hairpins
Stelvio is the second highest pass in Europe, joining Bormio with Trafoi in Italy, and topping out at a mighty 2,757m. The SS38 down to Trafoi boast no less than 48 hairpins, and in total the road covers 25 kilometres. It’s usually only open from June to September, when car, motorbike and bicycle enthusiasts descend on the road. Get up early if you want to enjoy it!
Best for wannabe Top Gear presenters.
“I pass the driver of a late 1990s MX-5 NB mid-corner and he does such a double-take of the all-new MX-5 I’m worried he’ll need a chiropractor to fix his neck”
Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Austria
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is the only toll road on our list but it’s well worth the €34.50 fee. Completed in 1935, this Austrian road from Fusch to Heiligenblut takes drivers to a height of 2,504m and offers incredible views, challenging corners and relatively little traffic. For those in less of a hurry there are plenty of nature exhibits along the way. And watch out for the marmots!
Best for natural wonder.
“I drive every single one of the Grossglockner’s 48 kilometres, taking in two tunnels where I can’t help but shift down a gear to hear the all-new MX-5 sing”
The Support Car
Finding the right support car for the shoot was essential. Not only would it have to accommodate an art director, photographer and film crew for a week, it would also have to transport their clothing, laptops, lenses, tripods, spare batteries and endless bags of teeth-rotting sweets. Step forward the New Mazda CX-5. With satnav to help us find our way through the mountains, turbo diesel to keep pace with the nimble MX-5 and power steering to make easy work of the seemingly endless hairpins, we chose well – the car performed brilliantly without a single complaint.
Driving stories on the great & challenging roads and journeys
Stories about the craftsmanship and design evolution of Mazda
Visions and philosophies of Mazda engineers
The spirit of Mazda owners, collectors, clubs and aficionados around the world
Mazda brand heritage and history