MAZDA MX-5 RF GT LIMITED EDITION
Limited edition brings equipment and exclusivity
There can only be one. Hundred. And ten. 110.
TWELVE months after it launched, the MX-5 Retractable Fastback (RF), with its folding metal lid, is now the best-selling version in Mazda’s ND MX-5 range. That’s a bit of a shock. Within those sales it’s the flagship GT version that takes the lion’s share. Clearly Mazda is right when it says today’s customers want all the bells and whistles to go with their pure sports car experience.
Now there’s a more embellished RF to take their fancy. A run of 110 RF GT Limited Edition (LE) models sits atop the line-up, priced at a lofty $55,790 driveaway.
That’s a circa $8K impost. Then again, the LE is the first upgrade this generation of MX-5 has had from a performance standpoint. Upgrades include lightweight 17-inch BBS alloy wheels, a Brembo braking package, Bilstein dampers and revised springs, a more aerodynamic body kit, a strut brace and Recaro seats.
Engine outputs remain at 118kw/200nm from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder exclusively, and all 110 units get a six-speed manual.
The good news, depending on how you view it, is that the enhancements haven’t made a night-and-day transformation to an already satisfying (and Cotywinning) driver’s car. So why pay for them? If exclusivity or track days factor in your buying decision then there’s a case to be made.
Tweaking the dampers has eradicated some of the soft-top Roadster’s pitch and roll. Faster rebound and a shorter overall stroke mean body control is tauter, and the ride occasionally fidgety, but the more focused LE retains the MX-5’S steering precision and will be better suited to setting the odd lap time than the normal car, without completely erasing that playful MX-5 character.
Those Brembos, too, are set up with club-level track performance in mind. Mazda promises more control under heavy brake applications and better cooling to markedly improve fade resistance. The package is 2kg lighter than the factory stoppers, further reducing unsprung mass with the BBS wheels. That weight difference is hard to discern on-road. These are mods for those testing the limits.
Inside, the excellent leather and Alcantara-trimmed Recaro seats hug firmly and feature slimmer seat base cushioning that frees a small amount of headroom in the intimate cabin. Bugbears carry over from the regular RF, like wind noise and the lack of a standard reversing camera, but they’re minor complaints in context.
For many, the pricey LE will be difficult to justify over a normal RF GT, but Mazda will have no problem finding 110 homes within the iconic MX-5S healthy following. It’s smartly sharpened and more desirable, and deserves to be driven for driving’s sake.
Model Lexus RX350L Engine 3456cc V6, dohc, 24v Max power 216kw @ 6300rpm Max torque 358Nm @ 4600-4700rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Weight 2090kg 0-100km/h 8.0sec (claimed) Economy 10.6L/100km Price $84,700 On sale Now
Model Mazda MX-5 RF GT Limited Edition Engine 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v Max power 118kw @ 6000rpm Max torque 200Nm @ 4600rpm Transmission 6-speed manual Weight 1080kg 0-100km/h 7.3sec Economy 7.0L/100km Price $55,790 driveaway On sale Now