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Mazda launches amazing MX-5 CC

Mon, 07 Aug 2006

By Chris Chilton

Motor Industry

07 August 2006 07:08

Mazda is claiming the world's first no compromises coupe-convertible, with its MX-5 Roadster-coupe.

Traditionally, folding tin-tops keep out thieves but steal luggage space. They boost refinement, but make handling less tidy. But the MX-5 Roadster-coupe's roof is as compact as the canvas one, and comes with just a 37kg weight penalty, which Mazda claims does not compromise the dynamics. Mazda has managed to stuff the entire folding roof mechanism into the cubby behind the seat where the soft top normally sits, making this the first CC that doesn't impinge on boot space. It's not just the first MX-5 to have an electric top, but it's also the quickest retractable hardtop in the world, requiring just 12sec to fold away. The Roadster-coupe roof is a £1750 option available on every MX-5 model from September and even comes with free air conditioning, itself normally a £500 extra.

Great value considering the £2000 a removable hardtop cost and air con package previously cost on an MX-5. It's little wonder Mazda expects half of all customers to tick the Roadster-coupe option. But the weight of the roof and its motors adds 37kg and the revised suspension settings are less aggressive, so expect the RC to appear dynamically softer than the standard soft-top car. Although unveiled a year after the basic soft-top car, the Roadster-coupe was always planned for production so Mazda created a space behind the seats big enough to accommodate the solid roof. With the roof down, subtly restyled wings, boot lid and a taller deck lid betray the tin-top MX-5. In fact, the MX-5 Roadster-coupe looks even tidier with the hood down than the soft top, whose folding mechanism can be seen through ugly gaps. But packaging so much metal into such a small space meant that the hood-up roofline appears more vertical and not quite so attractive.

By Chris Chilton