Lamb Shoul­der

A beloved sports car swap sits soft ori­gins for a burst of heavy metal

Men's Health (Australia) - - Contents - By An­drew Ch­ester­ton

Cook up this suc­cu­lent dish from top chef John Collins.

Re­mem­ber that body suit Cathy Free­man wore when she won gold at the Syd­ney Olympics? You’ ll have no­ticed, I’m sure, that it was made of a light­weight fab­ric and most def­i­nitely not forged of thick and heavy metal.

Weight is no friend of per­for­mance So clunk­ing around the ath­letic track in a getup that would re­quire a can-opener to get out of prob­a­bly wouldn’ t have helped her medal chances one iota.

None of which seemed to bode well for the mazda M X -5 R F. Those two ex­tra let­ters stand for Re­tractable Fast back, with Mazda’ s top-sell­ing road­sters crap­ping the tra­di­tional light­weight fab­ric for an elec­tric fold­ing metal roof and fast back body style for the first time.

So it’s heav­ier, which means it’ s slower, right? Hmm mm .. a touch, maybe. But any fears the RF’S shiny new hat will com­pro­mise the MX-5’S leg­endary dy­nam­ics van­ish the mo­ment you fire it up.

The steer­ing is still ridicu­lously di­rect, and the low-s lung seats and sport-tuned sus­pen­sion still make you feel like you’ re di­rectly con­nected to the road be­neath your tyres. Most im­por­tant, though, it still paints a Lotto-win­ning smile on your face when you hap­pen across the right twist­ing road. The RF’ s 2.0- litre en­gine will fire118kw and 200 Nm to­ward the rear tyres–enough to see it clip 100km/h in 7.4 sec­onds com­pared to 7.1 sec­onds in the fab­ric-topped ver­sion.

All that ex­tra metal doesn’ t come cheap: you can ex­pect to pay $38,650 for the cheap­est M X -5 R F–about $4 K more than the equiv­a­lent soft top. Still a bar­gain.

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