Australian Review / Mazda MX-5 RF | Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Mazda MX-5 RF is Raising the Roof on Performance

It’s rare that something’s standout feature is also its most annoying trait (unless, of course, you’re Fran Drescher) but such is the cursed life of the convertible. A treat when the sun is shining, a claustrophobic nightmare when it isn’t.


Enter, then, Mazda’s MX-5 RF (from $38,550). Those two bonus letters stand for Retractable Fastback, with the brand screwing a little metal hat onto Japan’s lithe and lightweight roadster, replacing the manually operated fabric roof with a motorised folding-metal hardtop.

The roof itself is a beautifully constructed piece of metallic origami – one that adds a mere 45 kilograms to the MX-5’s weight.

The four-part lid folds up and away in a mere 13 seconds, vanishing into the boot at the push of a button.

Better still, it literally vanishes, meaning the car’s (albeit paltry) boot space isn’t impacted when the roof is down.

This roadster is a fun and frantic blast from behind the wheel

The new roof changes the look of the MX-5, too, banishing those hairdresser jokes forever and creating a new look intended to inject masculinity into the design. Those two columns linking the roof to the boot lid are what give the RF its fastback look – roof up or down – and sprinkle a little classic Porsche into the side profile view.

Happily, the addition of a little winter weight hasn’t hurt the acrobatic antics of the MX-5, with the now-less-cutesy roadster still a fun and frantic blast from behind the wheel.

Wisely, Mazda is offering the RF version with only the bigger of the MX-5’s two engines, a 2.0-litre petrol unit, and pinned-pedal acceleration feels near enough on-par with the lighter cloth-top version.

This is still one of the world’s finest – and most affordable – sports cars; the way it skips and scurries around corners is hugely entertaining. It’s not particularly fast, sure, but it’s a fun way to climb to 100km/h.

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