MX-5 RF: Mazda’s jolly two-seater

Mazda MX-5 RF

The new Mazda MX-5 RF goes right to the heart of the dilemma of what Bertie Wooster used to call “the jolly old two-seater”, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. Such sports cars are expensive to build because car manufacturers can’t share much in the way of parts with other models, and they sell to a small customer base with “the loyalty and attention span of a Labrador in a larder”. Mazda is therefore sharing the basic platform of its MX-5 two-seater with Fiat’s 124 Spider.

This “Retractable Fastback”, or RF, model, however, is a bit different from your usual two-seater. It has a hardtop with a removable roof panel. In other words, it’s neither a completely sealed hard-top, nor a true wind-in-the-hair convertible, and is designed to appeal to people who want the latter but worry about the practicalities, given the British weather. This is a compromise, but the result is a “pretty” looking sports car, says English. It’s “sprightly” too, thanks to its innovative engine. The car is far from perfect – but it is “hard to resist”.

Using the stubby, precise gear lever truly is one of the pleasures of MX-5 ownership, says John Howell in What Car. It’ll get plenty of use too, because, as with the soft-top model, the 2.0 litre engine is quick but needs plenty of revs to get the best out of it. But this is yet another pleasure: savouring the engine’s free-revving nature and zingy exhaust note, especially with the roof open.

However, to really justify the RF’s sizeable £2,000 premium over the soft-top, you’d expect more refinement and lower wind noise. The car is markedly quieter and more comfortable with the roof up though, says James Taylor in Car magazine, and there’s no penalty to pay in terms of boot space. The RF may be “idiosyncratic and slightly oddly dressed”, but if you “like the cut of the RF’s jib”, and only plan to open the roof occasionally, it has “real appeal”.

Price: from £22,195
Engine: 1,998cc
Power: 158bhp at 6,000rpm
Top speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 7.4 seconds

Merryn

Claim 12 issues of MoneyWeek (plus much more) for just £12!

Let MoneyWeek show you how to profit, whatever the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Start your no-obligation trial today and get up to speed on:

  • The latest shifts in the economy…
  • The ongoing Brexit negotiations…
  • The new tax rules…
  • Trump’s protectionist policies…

Plus lots more.

We’ll show you what it all means for your money.

Plus, the moment you begin your trial, we’ll rush you over THREE free investment reports:

‘How to escape the most hated tax in Britain’: Inheritance tax hits many unsuspecting families. Our report tells how to pass on up to £2m of your money to your family without the taxman getting a look in.

‘How to profit from a Trump presidency’: The election of Donald Trump was a watershed moment for the US economy. This report details the sectors our analysts think will boom from Trump’s premiership, and gives specific investments you can buy to profit.

‘Best shares to watch in 2017’: Includes the transcript from our roundtable panel of investment professionals – and 12 tips they’re currently tipping. The report also analyses key assets, including property, oil and the countries whose stock markets currently offer the most value.