Mazda MX5 Roadster Coupe 2006 Road Test

Sat, 09 Dec 2006

Obviously the Mk III Mazda MX5 was designed to be a folding hard-top coupe as well as a folding soft-top coupe right from the start. Mazda calls it the MX5 Roadster Coupe.

The hard-top folds into the same space as the soft top, takes just 12 seconds to do so, and weighs a mere 18kg more than the soft-top. With slightly different rear panels and the addition of standard air conditioning, total weight is just 37kg more than the soft-top. Less than the average 10 year old child. The boot takes the same 150 litres as the soft top.

Like the Mercedes SLK, it looks just as good with the vandal-proof top up as it does with it down. And it’s fair to compare it with an SLK that costs around £8,000 more at its cheapest. There is no official auto, however. But independent importers TW White and Son offers the automatic version, so there’s no reason not to save that £8,000.

Testing in November on storm-lashed roads in the North of Scotland is no comparison to testing in Summer in Portugal so it’s a bit difficult to say whether the extra weight of the roof makes any difference to the handling. It’s still a sports car with all the MX5 virtues I remember, including reasonably decent ride quality

The harsh road surfaces we were driving on (laid to give better grip in the rain) meant more road noise top-up than I remember top-down in Portugal. But on the motorway its more aerodynamic shape has to be quieter. More comprehensive test of the MX5 soft-top at

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