Bowen's Report Card
Mazda MX-5 RF GT
- Soft-top or hard-top
- Sports car handling
- Difficult getting in and out
- Small fuel tank
- Not overly efficient
THE BOWEN SCORE
The Mazda MX-5 RF GT on show here features a 135kW / 205Nm 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder engine. Those figures alone are hardly anything to write home about, but more on that shortly.
A six-speed manual is a must have, choosing the automatic is like ordering a Big Mac without the special sauce. Drive, as it should be, is sent to the rear-wheels. Now back to those seemingly small kW and Nm numbers. As you’ll see in my video it’s possible to extract an immense amount of enjoyment. The 135kW arrives way up at 7,000rpm, while maximum torque reaches for 4,000rpm.
This is what makes the MX-5 an icon. You can fang along like you’ve just robbed a bank, but in reality, being that close to the tarmac exaggerates what sounds and feels like the end of your licence.
My test car featured 17-inch alloy rims and a rather compliant drive. The front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension are very forgiving. The steering is sharp and short bursts from corner to corner deliver a smile every time. The engineers have clearly steered away from a rock-hard ride, giving the MX-5 broader appeal.
The kerb-to-kerb turning circle is just 9.4-metres, making an inner-city life possible. You will be visiting the servo more often, the tank holds a mere 44-litres. You also won’t achieve the claimed 6.9L/100km fuel economy, it’s just too enjoyable to dilly-dally around. You also won’t cross the Simpson Desert, with a cargo space of just 127-litres.
Value for money
This is no doubt a selfish purchase, the hard-top RF GT I drove is priced from $52,787 according to Mazda’s own website. However, there are five models to pick from, with the soft-top Roadster starting at $39,801 and escalating to $53,862 if you’d like the hard-top RF GT to have a black roof.
The Toyota 86 is one of the few that match the Mazda for thrills. Pricing commences at $35,958 for the GT and tops out at $41,313.
The RF GT is a lavish place to place your derriere. The tan leather seat trim is a real highlight and comes with a heating function. It’s getting in and out of the car that’s most problematic. I’m no athlete but I’m pretty sure most people would have some degree of difficulty here. I honestly scored a few bumps and bruises entering and extracting myself each day.
What I love
I’m generally not a fan of convertibles, mainly because I think cloth versions ruin the design. But in hard-top mode I’m more than happy to be judged by that truckie that looms two storeys above me at a set of lights.
I love that it also has some handy technology. The 7-inch Mazda MZD infotainment screen is slowly being superseded on newer models, but it’s still one of the best around. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Bose has also provided a 203-watt system with nine speakers.
The list is a long one on the safety front, but highlights include, Blind Spot Monitoring, Emergency Brake Assist, Smart City Brake Support front and rear and Traffic Sign Recognition. All off which will step in and save the day if you don’t.