Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe
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Priced from $47,660 (RRP)
4th September, 2006
Mazda has added a new dimension to the world's best-selling roadster, a powered retractable hardtop model that boosts the MX-5's practical appeal, while maintaining the car's legendary fun to drive feel.
Dubbed Roadster Coupe the new model compliments the existing soft top MX-5 line-up.
The powered retractable roof model is the only car of its type to maintain the same boot space, top up or down, as the donor vehicle.
It also boasts the fastest hardtop roof mechanism, taking just 12 seconds to open or close.
Acknowledging that the lifestyle of sports car owners has been changing, Mazda was able to achieve these world firsts by developing the Roadster Coupe at the same time as the soft-top model.
Mazda MX-5 programme manager, Takao Kijima is convinced "that we will expand the worldwide fan base of the MX-5 with the new model." While he understands that MX-5 enthusiasts may still prefer the soft top option. "Even so, 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 hard top, a great design and the same agile chassis, we could bring these customers into the MX-5 fold," Kijima explains.
The advent of the baby boomer retiree has also had an impact on convertible car sales. Not content to be seen in a dowdy "old person's car", these baby boomers are wanting the fun and excitement of convertible driving with the ease of sedan travel.
Mazda Australia managing director, Doug Dickson, understands this viewpoint. "We want to create cars that appeal to a wide range of people with changing needs. We must be able to adapt. This car embraces all that is great about the original MX-5, while providing another option for drivers."
"Of course, we will continue to offer the soft top roof and we are sure that it will maintain its popularity. We view this car as an expansion on the current MX-5 and forecast a changing demographic who will purchase the MX-5 Roadster Coupe, for reasons different to a soft top MX-5 driver."
However, Kijima did not want this model to be a knee-jerk reaction to growing customer demand. Instead, he wanted the MX-5 Roadster Coupe to be dynamically, technically and aesthetically equal or superior to its original cousin.
Central to this development was one overriding goal: that the lightweight roadster was in no way, shape or form to be diluted. Engineers strived to keep the weight of the coupe version as low as possible - it weighs only 37 kgs more than the soft top model.
At the same time, the design of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe should remain close to that of the soft top model. Its silhouette - with a low, flowing shoulder line and, unlike nearly all other coupes/convertibles, a short rear overhang - gives the MX-5 Roadster Coupe the same lightweight, sporty road presence as the soft top. "And the nice thing is," added Kijima, "the car looks great with the top up."
Another goal of development was achieved by the MX-5 engineering team. The hard top doesn't fold back into the boot, but into a space just behind the seats. This maintains the original model's boot space, making Mazda the first car maker in the world to preserve boot space in a hard top convertible.
Key to the original MX-5's success was its affordability. This quality is not lost on the new MX-5 Roadster Coupe. Priced from $47,660 (RRP) for the leather trimmed and Bose sound equipped car.
Roadster Coupe adds just $2,930 to the price of the leather and Bose equipped soft-top model, or $10 less than the fixed hard-top offered as an accessory with all soft-top MX-5s.
Safety has also been upgraded in this latest model with the introduction of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with traction control (TCS). DSC is being progressively added across the range at Mazda and MX-5 Roadster Coupe benefits from this new policy. Other standard safety features include 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.
Roadster Coupe buyers will also appreciate the car's cruise control, six stack CD player, wheel-mounted audio controls, tilt adjustable steering, leather seat trim and a premium 200 Watt Bose sound system incorporating seven speakers and an automatic sound compensation system that adjusts the sound for open or closed-top motoring.
The popular soft top MX-5 line-up has also been improved with the introduction of DSC, including traction control, as standard on all models. The soft top range is priced from $42,870 (RRP).
Adding the Roadster Coupe to the MX-5 stable is the latest chapter in the 17 year old MX-5 story.
In 2005, the 2.0-litre, third generation roadster, gained more power and torque, a bigger cabin and a host of equipment upgrades that included side airbags, a limited slip differential on manual models, 17 inch alloy wheels, cruise control, six stack CD player, wheel-mounted audio controls, a cloth soft top and tilt adjustable steering.
The same dynamic features inherent to the soft top MX-5 have not been lost on the MX-5 Roadster Coupe. This model is also powered by a free-revving MZR engine with 118kW (ECE) that, when combined with its exceptionally low kerb-weight provides the sheer driving fun embraced by Jinba Ittai.
Mazda Australia expects to initially sell about 84 MX-5 Roadster Coupes per month, with overall MX-5 sales averaging 140 per month for the remainder of this year. Overall, MX-5 sales are expected to average 100 a month over the car's life cycle with 60 per cent Roadster Coupes.
The MX-5 Roadster Coupe, as with all Mazda passenger cars, is protected by a three year/unlimited km warranty and, like the RX-8, Mazda 6 MPS and Mazda 3 MPS, customers also receive 24 hour roadside assistance for the warranty period and an advanced driving course.
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