GQ (Australia) - - MOTOR -


Weigh­ing 1009kg in its most ba­sic form, the MX-5 hurls through cor­ners and feels fast and fran­tic, even with a rel­a­tively mod­est en­gine. The fold­ing roof adds to the neg­a­tive side of the power-toweight ra­tio, but the dif­fer­ence is barely no­tice­able. There’s still plenty of zip, seem­ingly tele­ki­netic steer­ing and a chas­sis and short­cut wheel­base.


Mazda sur­prised every­one when it an­nounced that the re­cent rag-top ver­sions of the RF would start at $31,990 (for the 1.5-litre en­gine) – a big drop from pre­vi­ous mod­els. You can bet the hard top and its fold­ing bits will add be­tween $4000 and $5000, so a RF will likely cost be­tween $40,000 and $45,000, de­pend­ing on your spec­i­fi­ca­tion level. De­liv­er­ies will start in Fe­bru­ary 2017.


There’s pre­cious lit­tle room for two hu­mans in­side this tiny yet per­fectly formed Mazda; even el­bow room’s at a pre­mium. On the plus side, the small di­men­sions help the MX-5 shrink around you, and with the roof up it feels like a sleek, chic coupé – a sen­sa­tion helped by snazzy red stitch­ing. It doesn’t feel overly ex­pen­sive, but that’s be­cause it’s not.


This, the fourth gen­er­a­tion since launch­ing back in 1989, is a car that’s fi­nally put hairs on the tiny Mazda’s pre­vi­ously an­drog­y­nous chest. It’s a sharper, shape­lier and meaner-look­ing ma­chine, de­spite main­tain­ing its al­most toy-like di­men­sions. With its proper coupé styling when the hard-topped roof is up, and an all-new, targa-style fast­back look when it’s down, the RF adds a whole new level of ap­peal.


If you only care about how great you look in an MX-5, and don’t live near steep hills, then you’ll no doubt choose to save money by opt­ing for the base 1.5-litre en­gine, which makes just 96kw and 150Nm, and will get you to 100km/h when it’s good and ready. The RF will only be of­fered with the up-spec 2.0-litre four-cylin­der, which pro­duces 118kw and 200Nm – some­thing that will come in handy for mov­ing the ex­tra 140kg the new roof struc­ture adds to this feath­er­weight fun box. Ex­pect the 0 to 100km/h time to climb slightly from the soft­top’s 7.3-sec­ond claim.


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