DROP-TOP FOR ALL SEASONS
model with MX-5 buyers and was likely to lure across from cars such as the Toyota 86.
Since then head of latest project has changed jobs, is now in charge of a special division Japan that doing born-again MX-5 restoration work. It’s a full factory project to refettle MX-5s are as good as new.
ON THE ROAD
The RF landed in Australia in January and since then — as Yamamoto predicted it has been the popular choice with MX-5 buyers, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of deliveries. In a far bigger surprise, about
those have the optional six-speed auto gearbox.
Sports car fans don’t mind paying about $4000 extra over the convertible MX-5 for secure roof, and more again auto, RF’s lead regular can only increase as we roll through winter.
My favourite thing about the RF is the security and quietness that comes with new roof.
It’s not like slightly rippling sound feel of regular MX-5 top up, or
unfinished look drumming the previous generation hardtop.
It’s genuinely like an coupe and several people asked me what I was driving during my time with RF.
The roof works very well and the design and finishing are very impressive. It’s slightly complex but nothing like the worryingly over-complicated workings of now departed Volkswagen Eos.
The whole rear section lifts, the roof panel slides back and down, and job is done in 13 seconds in a wonderful piece of motoring theatre.
It would be better if it could happen at more than 10km/h, with many other convertibles now doing this 40 or more.
The RF is just as sharp as the MX-5 roadster, which means it’s a great drive. Every touch on the controls brings an instant response and that’s been overwhelming appeal of
since its launch in 1989. I’m disappointed that the RF conversion does not bring any extra boot space but at least none has been lost.
It performs as I remember from the 2.0-litre roadster, although I’m not driving the automatic that is so popular with buyers and which worked well enough when I tried it during the Japanese preview. MAZDA MX-5 RF PRICE From $38,550 WARRANTY 3 years/100,000km CAPPED SERVICING $1369 over 3 years (4 services) SERVICE INTERVAL 12 months/10,000km SAFETY 5 stars ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 118kW/200Nm TRANSMISSION 6-speed man/auto; RWD THIRST 6.9L-7.1L/100km (est) DIMENSIONS 3915mm (L), 1735mm (W), 1245mm (H), 2310mm (WB) WEIGHT From 1078kg
SPARE None; inflation kit 0-100KM/H 7.4 secs (auto 8.3 secs)
The RF comes only with the “big bore” 2.0 rather than slightly sweeter 1.6 in priceleading variant, but it’s still a well-balanced package.
A drive in an MX-5 is always good, even with things getting cooler now.
The RF maintains all the goodness of latest and adds a level practicality it has never had in past.