FROSTY FASTBACK FUN
DOING THE BRRRRRASS MONKEY IN MAZDA’S MX-5 RF
2017 MAZDA MX-5 RF GT.
There’s an element of perversity in driving an open top sports car through temperatures of minus seven degrees in mid winter.
But the MX-5 Club holds an event every year in July called the Brass Monkey Run that specifies just this kind of driving.
Hundreds of MX-5s venture from Sydney up into the NSW Blue Mountains with the roof off starting at brisk 6.00am. If you put the roof up, you’re out or ridiculed into submission.
I got hold of the new RF (Retractable fastback) GT version of the latest ND MX-5 for the event which could be seen as cheating but actually isn’t because the RF roof opens up nearly the same amount as the MX-5 soft top roadster.
The steel, aluminium and plastic structure folds electrically into the an opening behind the two seats leaving a pair of graceful looking roof buttresses tapering to the back along with what you could describe as a targa-top roll bar.
The roof folds in a scant 13 seconds up to a speed of 10kmh.
It transforms the look of the MX-5 into something with elements of E-Type Jag mixed with Fastback Mustang. And it looks great, certainly with more street presence than the humble roadster.
The roof and operating system add 47 kg to the car’s weight compared with the roadster but it’s still only 1080kg in high end GT spec’.
This model includes leather, heated seats, hardwired satnav, Bose audio, LED headlights cruise control, adaptive headlights and auto wipers, keyless start and rear cross traffic alert but no reverse camera.
Some advanced driver assist technology is fitted… blind spot monitoring for example.
Power comes from the same 2.0-litre, petrol four cylinder engine as the roadster driving the rear wheels through a six speed manual or optional six speed auto.
The RF has superb dynamics and an engaging drive feel that makes you want to go somewhere to extend and enjoy its capabilities. Which is what I did taking a back road route home through historic Hill End and other backwoods villages. The RF was in its element and has performance that belies its 118kW/200Nm engine output.
The `Skyactiv’ engine is amazingly economical, capable of returning 5.5-litres /100km in mixed driving.
Ride comfort is impressive too.
It’’s just a fabulous little car that looks amazing.
➔ Stunning looks
➔ Superb dynamics
➔ Engaging drive feel
➔ Surprising performance
➔ Sweet manual gearbox
➔ Sharp steering response
➔ Generous luxury
➔ Safe 5-star ANCAP
➔ Fast roof
➔ Sounds good
➔ comfortable but controlled ride
NOT SO MUCH
➔ Big blind spot behind B-pillars
➔ Some wind noise intrusion
➔ No good for anyone over about 185cm
➔ Cabin storage an issue
ENGINE: 2.0-litre petrol four cylinder 118kW/200NM
TRANSMISSION: 6mt, optional 6 at
0-100KMH: 7.0 seconds
Toyota 86 GTS $36,490 (fixed roof), BMW 220i Convertible $58,300