Clarkson’s Choice

Clarkson Choice

Writing in The Times recently Jeremy Clarkson chose his favourite top ten cars; guess what was first on his list:

Mazda MX5 2.0 Sport Recaro
Gravity didn’t come from a meeting. Neither did the Spitfire. But most cars today come from meetings, and as a result they’re almost all yawn-mobiles. Not so the Mazda MX-5.

The old model has been the world’s bestselling sports car for about 25 years, thanks to its combination of low price, ease of use and a smile-a-minute factor that’s up there alongside a game of naked Twister with Scarlett Johansson and Cameron Diaz.i

The new one is better than ever. Because it’s so organic and raw and simple, it feels how a sports car should. It sings and fizzes and jumps about. It always feels eager and sprightly, and that makes you feel eager and sprightly too. It’s a cure for depression, this car, it really is. You just can’t be in a bad mood when you’re driving it.
Price £24,295
Engine / Power 1998cc, 4 cylinders, petrol / 158bhp @ 6000rpm
Acceleration / Top speed 0-62mph: 7.3sec / 133mph
Clarkson’s rating *****
Clarkson’s verdict: Blows the blues away

Raising the Roof at Goodwood

The new MX5 RF makes its first UK appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. You can pre-order now, the folding roof will cost you around £2,500 extra over the soft top.

Fiat Gets It Right!

Fiat Red

Fiat has done a fine job of creating it’s own Mazda MX5. It’s quick and fun to drive, but manages it all in a slightly different way to its sister car. Yes, it’s a little pricier, but for a lot of people the 124 Spider will be just the ticket. The biggest difference between 124 and MX5 is how grown up the Italian car feels.

The two cars share the same chassis structure, suspension and rear-wheel drive transmission but Fiat has done its bit to make the car stand out. Both cars will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima facility.

While the Mazda uses a couple of naturally aspirated engines, the Fiat makes use of turbocharging, with the 1.4-litre petrol unit boasting 138bhp. Thanks to the turbo kicking in around the mid-point of the rev range, it’s a little more relaxed on the move, only needing a shove on the throttle to make decent progress. The MX5, by comparison, needs to be constantly wound up to get down the road quickly.

But the Fiat’s turbo does come with some disadvantages. It’s not quite as frugal as the entry-level MX5 and below 3,000rpm the engine can seem a little unresponsive due to the undisguisable turbo lag.

Fiat White

Click photo for large side view

The Fiat feels a more refined on the move thanks to an acoustic windscreen, extra sound deadening behind the dashboard and thicker rear glass. The interior also feels slightly plusher – the soft-touch plastics and tan leather seats mean the Fiat feels just a little step up from the Mazda. Moreover, Fiat has recalibrated the steering, making it a little heavier to add to the old-school sports car experience.

Fiat Cockpit

It is clear Fiat is pitching the 124 as a slightly more premium roadster, so it’s real shame there is no limited-slip differential available. It’s standard on the 2.0-litre MX5 but if you want a 124 with one you’ll have to splash out another £10,000 for the Abarth version.
Despite this, there’s no denying Fiat has built a terrific sports car that takes all the MX5’s good points and adds a certain Italian flair. We could argue all day which car is better but the ultimate choice will come down to personal taste. Click on the logo below to learn more about the new Fiat 124 Spider:

Fiat Logo

New MX5 Icon LE

MX5 Icon FrontClick Photo to See Both Finishes

The all-new Mazda MX5 Icon limited edition will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Joining Mazda’s award-winning sports car line up from the 1st August, the Icon is based on the 131ps SE-L Nav and is the first special edition fourth-generation MX5 with the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engine.

MX5 Icon Rear

With a choice of Meteor Grey Mica or Crystal White Pearlescent paint, the £20,995 on-the-road Icon is marked out by its contrasting design cues and enhanced standard equipment. Visually the Icon makes a bold statement with its Soul Red Metallic wing mirrors, rear spoiler, side stripe decals and front skirt. The unique look is further boosted by 16-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels, while the increased equipment tally also includes black leather seats, rear parking sensors, dusk-sensing lights and rain-sensing wipers.

MX5 Icon White

On display at Goodwood within Mazda’s unique ‘Raise the Roof’ live music area, the Icon joins a host of other MX5 highlights at this year’s Festival of Speed. These include the European debut of the all-new Mazda MX5 RF, plus the first appearance outside of North America for the MX5 Speedster and Spyder concept cars. The one-millionth production MX5 will also be on display.
The fourth car to wear the Icon badge – previous MX5 Icon special editions were sold in the UK in 2000, 2005 and 2007 – the latest Icon is a striking sports car with an achievable price, and limited to just 600 cars it’s available to order now.

MX5 RF Closeup

Pre-order is also open on the all-new Mazda MX5 RF ahead of its arrival in dealerships next year, and with limited supply in the opening months, fans of the latest incarnation of MX5 should register their interest now to be one of the lucky few to take delivery of early versions of the Retractable Fastback.
The 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place from the 24th to the 26th June.

My Opinion: Mazda have lost the plot, the ND is too small and the lines are harsh; also the interior lacks class and has no glovebox. The Icon colour scheme is horrible, when you have to put stickers on it you have made a big mistake. The RF is just plain ugly and has a 110lb complex retracting roof mechanism which could have been achieved with a simple lift-out Targa top like the Porsche 911.

I have just driven 50 miles in my 3.5 Powershift soft top, its beautifui and fun and I love Mazda cars, but I will not buy an MX5 in ND or RF form. Sorry chaps, just had to say something…..

New MX5 RF to Debut at Goodwood

RF GoodwoodClick photo for large image.

The all-new Mazda MX5 RF, the latest adaptation of the best selling two-seater sports car ever, will make its European premiere in the UK at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in June. First unveiled to the public at the New York International Auto Show in March, the retractable fastback version of Mazda’s legendary roadster will be the highlight of the carmaker’s Goodwood stand, where Mazda pays tribute to the MX5’s past, present and future. The MX-5 RF in “Machine Grey” will feature alongside the one-millionth production MX-5, which rolled off the assembly line in Japan on 22 April, as well as the MX5 Spyder and MX5 Speedster concept cars.

While staying true to the practical rationale behind the previous generation’s retractable hardtop version, the MX5 RF’s fastback styling gives it a unique look, roof open or shut. Even when open, occupants have the protection of the windowed rear roof section, which remains in place behind the seats after the top segments stow away. By offering customers more choice, the MX5 RF further amplifies the appeal of the world’s favourite roadster.

“With the all-new Mazda MX5 RF, we freed ourselves from traditional ways of thinking and took on fresh challenges to create something new,” commented MX5 Programme Manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto. “Our aim was a convertible sports car with gorgeous fastback lines when the roof is closed and an exhilarating feeling when open.”

Roof aside, the MX5 RF shares for the most part the KODO design of the soft-top convertible version, with the same length, width and wheelbase. The hardtop, which brings a 5mm increase in height, is one of the fastest available, opening or closing at the touch of a button even when the car is moving at up to 10km/h.

The MX5 RF also retains the soft-top model’s trademark agility and curve-hugging balance. Specially tuned suspension and steering deliver a more refined ride, while a sound-absorbing headliner in the roof panels and special insulation to counter rear wheel noise further enhance cabin comfort, significantly reducing noise levels with the top closed.

The 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place on 23-26 June at the Goodwood estate, which is located near Chichester, England, some 100km southwest of London. Click on the logo for ticket information.



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