Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

To me it seems barely believable that the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 is already three years old. In my mind’s eye it was barely last week that I was skidding around in it, as chuffed as can be that it appeared to have recaptured the spirit of the original.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF

Well now it’s gone back for seconds. While other firms might focus a mid-life refresh on perception rather than reality – making affordable changes that can be seen rather than expensive ones that can only be felt, Mazda demurs, as it has so often done with its little roadster.

While the entry level 1.5-litre car remains mechanically similar, the 2-litre model has been given lighter rods and pistons as well as a lighter flywheel, not to mention the ability to breathe better thanks to bigger valves and wider throttle bodies. And engines that breathe better spin faster, this one raising peak power to 181bhp at 7000rpm – and it’ll sing all the way to 7500rpm if you so choose.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF
For once there is no downside here, no ‘ah, but’ moment. You might think that wringing more power from the same size engine might make it peakier, but it doesn’t: torque is not only increased, it also appears significantly further down the rev range, so the new engine responds not just faster, but sooner. Its voice is that of the relentless enthusiast and, while less smooth than any number of turbo fours, so too is it more characterful and delighted to keep revving long after they’ve run out of puff.

Does it bring new life to the apparently unchanged chassis? Not really, but nor was any needed. All 2-litre cars still come with a gentle limited-slip differential and those who can should opt for the more expensive Sport Nav version for the Bilstein dampers it brings. These don’t provide the grip of a mid-engined supercar, but nor would you want them too: unlike such machines that must always be driven within their broad capabilities on the public road, much of the fun the Mazda provides is derived from how it reacts to being pushed about a bit. And those dampers just bring an extra level of control and fluency to its body movements.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF

Old issues remain: there’s not quite enough legroom for the truly tall, boot space is limited and oddly shaped and even the RF model I drove, with its retractable folding hard-top, is not exactly a relaxing companion on a long drive. If that’s what you want, the same money will buy a VW Golf GTI.

But no Golf will provide such driving pleasure in such a simple, unadulterated form. Small, affordable, pure in configuration and execution but still beautifully engineered, it’s a car to remind those of us who are of a certain age why we fell in love with driving in the first place. 

Other sports cars might have more coveted badges, higher power outputs and longer equipment lists, but few of any price will make you smile more readily. And surely that’s what a sports car is all about?

Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF

FACTFILE

Price £27,795 Engine 2.0 litres, 4 cylinders Power [email protected] Torque 151lb [email protected] Weight 1188kg Power to weight 152bhp per tonne Transmission six-speed manual, four-wheel drive 0-62mph 6.5sec Top speed 136mph Economy 40.9mpg CO2 156g/km