The MX5 Coupe has a powered retractable hardtop model that stows behind the passenger cabin but does so without affecting luggage space.
The MX5 Coupe is powered by the same free-revving, 118kW, 2.0-litre MZR four-cylinder engine as the roadster. Gearbox choices are a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Coupe prices start from $51,900 for a leather trimmed car fitted with a Bose sound system.
That’s $4000 higher than the price of the leather and Bose equipped softtop MX5. Mazda says the optional hardtop for the 2006 MX5 roadster listed for $3000, and that model didn’t have Dynamic Stability Control which is standard on the Coupe.
Mazda says the MX5 Coupe has the fastest hardtop roof-folding mechanism, taking just
12 seconds to open or close.
The Coupe was developed in parallel with the third generation roadster which was launched here last year.
MX5 programme manager, Takao Kijima, says he understands that hardcore MX5 enthusiasts may still prefer the softtop roadster, but says “there are many potential customers who, while wanting the exhilaration of open-top driving, have hesitated to become owners because of concerns
about security and comfort.”
“We realised that with an easy to use hardtop, a great design and the same agile chassis, we could bring these customers into the MX5 fold.”
Kijima says he wanted the MX5 Coupe to be dynamically, technically and aesthetically equal or superior to the roadster.
Engineers worked to keep the weight of the coupe version as low as possible, and have achieved a car that weighs only 37kg more than the softtop model, despite the metal roof and folding mechanism.
To ensure agility was retained, the Coupe shares the roadster’s 50/50, front/rear
weight distribution.Kijimi was also at pains to ensure the Coupe retained the roadster’s low, flowing shoulder line and short rear overhang.
The Coupe is 10mm higher but is otherwise identical in size to the roadster, though leading edge of the rear deck (behind the seats) is 40mm higher.
Safety equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with traction control (TCS). DSC is being progressively added across the range at Mazda and the MX5 Coupe benefits from
this new policy.
Other safety gear includes ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, dual front and front side airbags that offer both chest and head protection, seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters, an intrusion minimising brake pedal and anti-whiplash seats.
Sophomore season Formula Ford driver Michael Burdett blitzed the field in the 20-lap final at the annual Formula Ford Festival at Powerbuilt Raceway (Ruapuna) last weekend.
The Festival was run for the first time at a Canterbury Car Club club day, rather than at a promoted meeting and the Formula Ford part of the programme reduced to three races – two heats and a final – on the full circuit.
Burdett started the final from pole with his Wynns-backed Stealth, and was only briefly headed at the start by Hugh Gardiner’s Van Diemen. At the first corner, Burdett swept to the front and romped away with an ever-extending lead until he was more than 21 seconds clear of the second placeman at the flag.
Two of the favoured runners spun on the first lap. John Whelan lost it at the exit of the fast Pot Hole People turn and former Formula First runner Andrew Waite spun at the hairpin.
As Burdett’s lead extended, the fastest of the local drivers Nick Donaldson, driving his father’s ageing RF92 Van Diemen, fought past Gardiner to take second place.
Gardiner then came under attack from Daniel Jilesen and when Gardiner eventually slowed and pulled into pitlane with gearbox failure on the eighth lap, the order became Burdett with a big gap to Donaldson and then a smaller gap back to Jilesen, Caine Lobb and Kurt Peterson running in line astern.
When Jilesen appeared to miss a gear on the front straight, Lobb swept by to take over third place and at one stage he seemed to be making inroads into the gap to second place man Donaldson, but the Christchurch teenager had the situation in hand and maintained the buffer.
Burdett was never pressured at the front, maintaining consistent lap times in the
Donaldson was delighted to finish second, ahead of Lobb, Jilesen, Peterson and the second of the South Island runners Adam Reid. Waite, who had brake problems in his ex-Shane Van Gisbergen, championship-winning, Stealth, fought his way up to sixth after his first lap spin.
“I’ve been here most of the week and I had a pretty strong car, so I was confident.”