Thursday, 20 August 2009

ROAD TEST: 2007 Mazda MX5 Roadster 2.0 Coupe

Re-introducing a sports car that has been a firm favourite with enthusiasts around the world for the last decade is a design brief that takes careful consideration. With the new folding hard-top and several engine options available, Mazda, with their stylish new MX5 Roadster Coupe seem to have all bases well and truly covered.

The first thing that strikes you is the muscular new body design, with bulging wheel arches, wider 17 in. wheels and lower sports suspension. The larger fixed headlights and the excellent folding hard-top takes just 12 seconds to fold neatly away. Any preconceptions of the MX5 resembling a ‘hair dressers car’ are rapidly dissolved.

By opting for the snug, heated leather seats the new MX5 provides a sophisticated all weather cabin. In the glove compartment there is a handy docking point for your MP3 player. Finished in understated black, the dashboard and steering wheel highlight the level of quality materials used throughout this car, making for a pleasing place to while away the miles.

But this is a sports car, and sports cars should provide a thrill. The range-topping 2.0 Sport Coupe model, with a 4 cylinder, 16v engine produces a healthy 158bhp at 6700rpm. The car is nippy and light on its feet, soaking up the bumps extremely well for a compact sports car and whilst happy to cruise at motorway speeds, darting along country roads reveals its front-engined / rear wheel drive sports car pedigree.

Accurate turn in and crisp steering add to the overall quality of the package, whilst the multi-link rear and excellent 6 speed gearbox ensure the power strikes the perfect balance for this iconic convertible.

You’ll also be pleased to hear that the faultless folding roof does nothing to compromise the boot space, nor does it dent the pure driving experience famed by the original MX5.

At £19,210, the MX5 Roadster Coupe Sport is a desirable and practical sports car that has matured since the introduction of the original. Proving that convertibles are not necessarily the soft option when it comes to providing driver thrills, the MX5 possesses a distinctive handling balance and sports car pedigree at a price that few of its competitors can match.

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