The other week Mazda called and cordially invited me to take their latest MX-5 RF for a spin around London. Cupping the receiver with my palm, I arced back on my chair and barked an order to my invisible secretary .. 'clear my schedule for the afternoon'.
With the average speed around London being little under 8MPH, a drive in the city can be a particular doleful commute. However, a perceptibly tactile and agile car such as the MX-5 RF will certainly lend a little brevity to the experience.
Once the mulch of the London traffic subsided I was able to feel the cars true capabilities. The suspension and the steering have been mollified to compensate for the rigidity of the new folding metal hard top roof. The RF stands for retractable fastback and its intellectual armature provides a considerably more dampened sound within the cabin. You can hear what your passenger is saying which in itself, comfortably distances itself from over convertibles in its class, including its predecessor.
The interiors are snug, sporty and I'd definitely plump for the manual over the automatic. Many people I've spoken to extol the virtues of the Mazda gearbox and this 6-speed did not disappoint. James Batchelor of CarBuyer cited it as a gearbox that has a 'rifle-bolt action' and I solidly concur. It's slick, sexy - worthy of the laudatory praise and reputation that proceeds it.
The drive feels dangerously effortless. Everything is in its right place, accessible, the infotainment system is sleek and user-friendly. But let’s get down to brass tacks; what about the coffee cup holders? Anyone that knows me knows I'm a coffee nut and I don't like having my coffee terms dictated to me. Luckily the MX-5 RF comes fully equipped with moveable cup holders that I can switch around the cabin at my leisure.
It's stronger on comfort and aesthetics than it is on virtuosity and practicality. For example, you'll enjoy the extra sound deadening and clear conversations with your passenger, you'll enjoy being cosseted by the fine sporty interiors, but placed under scrutiny you might wish for larger boot space, perhaps better visibility. That said these aren't faults, nor criticisms per say, just the standard caveats that come with a sports car.
Overall the Mazda MX-5 RF offers a frictionless, utterly gratifying driving experience. Yet it's really the superior handling ability through its sculptured yet simple look, that ameliorates this from other convertibles. It's considered, it has an exquisite absence of superfluity. It's almost the perfect date car. Available between £18,500 to £24,500 depending on the spec.