Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF (Hard Top) Review
Holy Flying Buttresses!

clifford chow
10 Apr 2017

Here’s why we think so…

So successful it was that over in Britain, some felt it was a ‘proper’ British sports car

Mazda, the people who build cars, with an uncanny eye for shaving grams off just about every car they make, brought us the first MX5 back in 1989.

It was all a Lotus Elan was meant to be, but with legendary Japanese reliability. Light, nimble, simple and smaller than a glossy red pimple. So successful it was that over in Britain, some felt it was a ‘proper’ British sports car. Then anything with the word ‘proper’ attached to it, to the Brits, carries ‘proper’ importance… Like ‘proper’ pizza, ‘proper’ fried Mars bars. In this case, ‘proper’ sports car, with ‘proper’ engineering.

The current MX 5 may not be a new car, but the RF model is, featuring an excellent hard top roof, known as a “Retractable Fastback (RF)”. Covered by a pair of flying buttresses, the electrically operated wonder, which hides in the same cavity which would have housed the soft top, Mazda has successfully turned their famous cabriolet into a pseudo coupe… which is not a bad thing.

Here’s why we think so…
Some may regard the tiny Mazda as a ‘selfish’ car built for one and a passenger. Not wrong, but stepping into the car, you quickly realise that the MX5 is a very personal car. In keeping with the tradition of a lightweight and balanced driver’s car, Mazda has claimed that they had rebalanced the RF model, to accommodate the new roof design.

Externally, the RF model presents itself a convincing coupe silhouette, with the roof up, and with the roof down, carries some resemblance to the 911 Targa (just down the middle).

The flying buttresses on the Mazda, carries some resemblance to the Jaguar XJS (which is now more than 40 years of age… wow), lifts up and back, revealing a cavity, allowing the two-piece roof panel to fold into it. The whole process takes approximately 12 seconds. There is however a 6km/h speed which you are limited to, in order for the whole opening or closing process to complete.

Internally, both the soft top and RF are identical, sweeping body panels on the outside, have found their design repeated onto the door trim, essentially bringing body design elements into the inside of the car.

Interior ergonomics are very good, with all switchgear within line of sight. The gear knob placement is excellent, very good for a manual short-throw, with minimal distance from knob to wheel. Sadly though our test car was a 6-speed automatic unit, which was not that bad a thing. Simplicity in the lay out also means that the “Sport” mode switch is sited just south of the shift lever… and there is only “Sport” on or off.

The infotainment unit is simple, and similar functionality can be found on the likes of the CX-3 crossover, taking its place above the central air-conditioning vent, and providing avenues for mobile connectivity, way-finding and other car settings.

Sited below the air-conditioning controls is a pair of USB ports and an AUX, for MP3 player connectivity. Given its open-top intentions, the MX-5 comes with seat warmers… nevermind, this is tropical Singapore.

Audio quality is great. The factory BOSE system features speakers within the headrest, which is a plus, especially when driving on the highway with the top down.

Boot space is just 130 litres, enough for two duffle bags, and some.

Car Loan Calculator - Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF (Hard

SGD 176,888 (21 Jan 2021)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine Capacity 1998cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Bore x Stroke (83.5 x 91.2)mm
Power 158bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 200Nm @ 4600rpm
Power to Weight 140.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 198 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed 6 Speed Skyactive Drive
Drive Type FR
Steering Electric


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(3915 x 1735 x 1230) mm
Wheelbase 2310 mm
Kerb Weight 1125 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs