November 13, 2018

Mazda MX-5 RF Review

More refinement and sophistication for the iconic two seat roadster!

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland
The Mazda MX-5 RF

The Mazda MX-5 needs little introduction being one of the most iconic and influential sports cars of the last 30 years.

There are few cars that are as fun and extrovert as the Mazda MX-5 roadster. With pricing starting from €27,995, the Mazda MX-5 remains utterly desirable for men and women of all ages.

Recently, I test drove the Mazda MX-5 RF. This model ditches the canvas roof for a more sophisticated folding metal roof. In the brochure the RF may just seem like a more expensive MX-5 – it’s priced from €31,495 – but as I found out during my time with this car, it offers much more for the sports car connoisseur.

My test car was finished in exclusive Machine Grey, which shows off the slick fastback styling to great effect. The RF model is altogether more masculine looking. My GT model was powered by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol unit with 160hp (from €36,695). The Mazda MX-5 RF is also available with the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 131hp.

Inside, the metal roof adds more comfort and insulation to the cabin of the Mazda MX-5 RF. The cabin is small and entry and exit can be challenging (!), but once seated there is no doubt you are at the helm of an exciting sports car!

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland
The interior of the Mazda MX-5 RF

There is the option of tan leather, which adds even more sophistication. There’s no glovebox or door pockets and storage is slim. There is a token 127 litre boot for the shopping or two small suitcases, but this is not a car you buy for space! You buy it for fun!

The dash has a nice layout and the quality is good in the cabin. Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, LED headlights, MZD Connect, cruise control and auto aircon. The 2.0-litre GT is differentiated by 17-inch bright alloys wheels and body coloured wing mirrors. GT models also feature rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, smart keyless entry, 9 Premium Bose® Surround-Sound and heated leather seats.

The 2.0-litre engine roars into life when you press the start stop button and the novelty never wears off thereafter. The 2.0 sounds meaty in the diminutive sports car and it’s pure joy extracting every last rev through the short throw of the excellent 6-speed manual gearbox.

The 2.0 GT adds a limited slip differential as well as Bilstein dampers and strut brace. The car moves beautifully laterally through corners with perfect balance and quick responses. The feedback from the steering is nothing special yet it’s impossible not to feel fully engaged with the car. Sitting low means that you feel like you’re flying all the time and there is a wonderful purity and abandon to driving the MX-5 that can brighten up the dullest of commutes.

Mazda MX-5 RF review ireland
The Mazda MX-5 RF is one of the best sports cars you can buy

The hard top gives the feeling of more security in our harsh Irish winters and adds refinement while not diluting any of the fun. The roof folds back electrically when stationary or at speeds below 10kmh.

The addition of a hard top to the Mazda MX-5 RF is no gimmick and adds a more refined and sophisticated character to the Mazda MX-5. The power and execution of this car makes it an absolute must for anyone looking for a genuine sports car.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda MX-5 RF GT 2.0 SKYACTIV-G
Price: 
€37,745 as tested (RF range from €31,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Power: 
160hp
Torque: 200Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.4 seconds
Top speed: 215km/h
Economy: 
6.9/100km
CO2 emissions:  
161g/km
Motor tax: 
€570 per year