With more than one million vehicles sold, the MX-5 has been delighting customers all over the world since 1989. Mazda's engineers not only developed four generations for this. Numerous special models and limited editions still inspire his followers today. The 4th generation has been on the market since 2015 and will start with the RF (Retractable Fastback) model raised the bar among the roadsters again. In addition to more stability, the hardtop convertible top gives the car a fastback look and thus ensures an elegant appearance. Supported by the timeless KODO design, elongated bonnet, short wheelbase and low-lying headlights both front and rear, it also underlines its sporty genes in the new edition of the MX5 RF. Design with cult status meets modern technology. That was the motto of the engineers from Japan. Mazda is offering the complete package to its customers for sale at the sales event on February 03rd and 04th in Germany. The design and roadster icon has been available to order since December 2016 at a base price of € 29.890.
The Mazda MX5 RF in the first driving report
Japan's flagship Roadster with Falthardtop
Seen globally, the Mazda MX5 has to face its competitors in the European and German markets, which it can confront with confidence. He doesn't only find his clientele among his loyalists, who are organized in clubs. Striking borrowings from its predecessors were consciously adopted in order not to change the character of the MX5. This included the hexagonal shape of the radiator grille below and the position of the rear headlights with their round brake lights running on a horizontal axis. The view of its front with the aggressive-looking front and fog lights let the MX5 RF stand wide and decisive on the road. Its overall appearance remains aerodynamic and agile, which should be reflected in the consumption figures. To get a first impression of its overall performance, Mazda invited to the cosmopolitan Barcelona. There we were able to test its dynamic properties on the serpentines of a private road through a nature reserve.
The interior fittings of the MX5 RF are equipped with high-quality materials and work fine. Its cockpit remains puristic, but still has all the necessary information, such as average consumption and the remaining distance display in the on-board computer or the centrally located rev counter. All instruments are inclined towards the driver. The highlight is the optionally available SD navigation system, which can be operated via its touch function. The leather seats accommodate the driver and front passenger very well and provide the necessary support for sporty driving. The all-round view when driving with the top down gives us that typical roadster feeling. Deep seated, but visually everything under control. The three-part hardtop can be opened and closed fully automatically in 13 seconds. Even while driving at a speed of up to 10 km / h. The "trunk" is worthy of a roadster. It is sufficient for a cabin trolley as well as a pilot's case and a smaller briefcase. He doesn't have to take in any more.
With only one engine
At the start of sales, the car manufacturer from Hiroshima has so far only made one engine available, unlike its predecessors. The drive is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine. The output is 118 kW (160 hp), the maximum torque 200 Newton meters at 4.600 revolutions per minute. This results in CO2 emissions of 161 grams. These performance data accelerate the Mazda MX5 RF from standstill to 7,4 km / h in 100 seconds, with a top speed of 215 km / h. The Euro 6 engine is combined with a six-speed manual transmission and, in the top version “Sports Line”, with a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda also relies on traditional rear-wheel drive (RWD) thanks to the more compact and lighter engine. We could not answer in the media conversation whether there will be limited editions of the RF in the following.
Driving as if pulled by the rope
The manual transmission, which we were allowed to test sufficiently, had a positive effect on the first few trips. Directly appealing with short switching distances, sporty and agile, it accompanies our journey through the mountains of the hinterland of Barcelona. The MX5 RF masters the selected routes with the speed-dependent electric power steering with sovereign ease in conjunction with the. The low center of gravity lets us move the roadster over the serpentines a little like on rails and we always get positive feedback. The fast-revving, sometimes grumpy engine also contributes to driving fun and, with its 200 Newton meters, always gives us enough power to bring on the road. Unfortunately, the specified consumption value of 6,9 liters cannot be checked for our tests on the day of the event.
With hardtop more possibilities
The entry into the roadster feeling with hardtop is the basic version, the Mazda MX5 RF “Exclusive-Line” with a list price of € 29.890. Included in the standard package, the Japanese deliver automatic air conditioning, digital radio, MZD Connect with seven-inch color touch display and access to the Internet via smartphone, hands-free system with voice control and Bluetooth®, leather steering wheel, acrylic wind deflector, lane departure warning system (LDWS), 17-inch light-alloy tires, LED daytime running lights, engine start / stop button, reinforced roof lining and a cruise control system with limiter and power windows. Only one equipment variant - “Sport-Line” - is offered for upgrading. For a price of € 32.090 there is also a high beam assistant (HBC), dynamic cornering light (AFS), lane change assistant plus (BSM), parking aid (RCTA), rear parking aid, keyless login access system, BOSE® sound system with nine speakers (including speakers in the headrests), as well as the Mazda SD navigation system with 3D map display, i-ELOOP system for braking energy recovery and i-stop start-stop system. With just two optional equipment packages, Mazda leaves little scope for customizing the MX5 RF. A technology package can be ordered (€ 750 for “Exclusive-Line” parking aid (RCTA), rear parking aid, dynamic cornering light (AFS), Lane Change Assistant Plus (BSM) and a sports package (€ 1.800 for “Sports-Line “- Strut bar, sports suspension with BILSTEIN® shock absorbers, RECARO sports seats in a leather-Alcantara® combination). The six-speed automatic transmission is remunerated at € 1.900.
At the end... The Mazda MX5 RF continues a very long tradition of the Japanese roadster experts and continues to work on its cult status. Design and driving pleasure are the number one reasons to buy. The force will be with him.
The Mazda MX5 RF underlines its “supremacy” in the roadster area with its fresh design and the trendy driver assistance systems. The MX5 has been the first choice for new purchases for over 25 years.
Text: Stefan Beckmann, Photo: Stefan Beckmann and manufacturer