Total MX-5 - - FIRST WORDS -

Got my first chance to drive the RF re­cently – not as far as I would have liked, but far enough to get a feel for what it’s all about. It’s an in­trigu­ing ma­chine for many rea­sons, but most of all for the way that it di­vides opin­ion within the MX-5 com­mu­nity. I have a lot of sym­pa­thy with the widely held no­tion that the whole point of an MX-5 is that it’s an open-top car, yet I also ap­pre­ci­ate the ben­e­fits of en­joy­ing a ma­chine that han­dles just like an MX-5 but can be parked in a city overnight with­out the fear of some­one stick­ing a knife through the hood.

Af­ter a jour­ney to and from the Lake District, Ali­son, To­tal MX-5’ s art direc­tor, ex­pressed the same com­plaint about wind noise and buf­fet­ing as oth­ers have done when the roof is stowed. It didn’t trou­ble me in the slight­est. Which may be be­cause my mk1 doesn’t have a wind­blocker, so I’m used to a ca­cophonous hur­ri­cane bom­bard­ing the cabin. Roof off in the RF I dropped the win­dows, too, for the full wind-blown ef­fect, and felt com­fort­able enough driv­ing around like that even on the mo­tor­way. And with the win­dows down it is like be­ing in the road­ster, as you can’t see the targa hoop above you and, be­cause the small rear screen low­ers, too, there’s open air be­hind your head.

And it looks great. Most mod­ern cars don’t in­spire pedes­tri­ans to come knock on your win­dow when you’re parked in the high street, just to say how much they like it: the RF breaks through nor­mal in­hi­bi­tions. Plus, a cou­ple of MX-5 road­ster fans praised it for look­ing bet­ter in the metal than it does in pic­tures. An­other said he now un­der­stands why the back end of the mk4 soft-top is styled the way it is, to ac­com­mo­date the lines of the fast­back. But some young lads from the lo­cal hockey club asked why I’d turned up in my wife’s car: cheeky bug­gers!

Would I like to own one? Sure would. Do I pre­fer it to the road­ster? In com­mon with sev­eral oth­ers, I’m still mulling the an­swer to that one…

Brett Fraser, ed­i­tor brett@bret­

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.