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First drive: Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé – on sale now

Mazda

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Review

Mazda’s soft-top MX-5 has always been popular and highly regarded. With the introduction of a folding hard-top variant, the MX-5 Roadster Coupé, the carmaker extends its appeal to the weather/security conscious.

The new lid increases its height by 10mm and weight by 37kg; however, Mazda has been careful to preserve the car’s balance and 50:50 weight distribution by making the roof retract into a space behind the seats.

It has also ensured that boot space and access is not compromised when the roof is retracted.

Boot capacity remains at 150 litres, and there’s no need to pull over a luggage cover, as with many larger coupé-convertibles.

The three panel hard-top is made of plastic composite material and operates electronically in just 12 seconds, the quickest on the market today.

Buyers will pay a £1,200 premium for the Roadster Coupé over its soft-top brother. Its designers were keen to keep the twins near-identical, however Roadster Coupé has had subtle changes to its rear wings and boot deck to accommodate the folding roof.

Its suspension is slightly retuned for added comfort, and Mazda claims lower interior noise and less wind turbulence with the roof down due to a new aero board design. However, with the roof up we found it was generating excessive wind noise behind the driver’s right shoulder.

The range is essentially the same as the soft-top, with a 1.8-litre base engine as the entry model, followed by 2.0-litre and 2.0-litre Sport models.

Mazda could not ignore the growing demand for hard-top convertibles, and its designers and engineers have done a fantastic job in preserving the MX-5’s core elements of entertainment and value.

Buyers are guaranteed a compact sportscar that is user-friendly yet will still put a smile on their face.

Price: £18,210 to £21,265
Engines: 1.8-litre 124bhp, 2.0-litre 158bhp
Performance: 1.8: 0-62mph 9.6sec, top speed 120mph.
2.0: 0-62mph 8.3sec, top speed 134mph
Transmission: 5- or 6-spd manual
Efficiency: 34.4-38.7mpg, 174-193g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £9,125-9,825 (51-48%)
Rivals: Forthcoming Peugeot 207CC

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