Last month I attended my first Mazda drive day for the new Mazda MX 5 RF and I wasn’t disappointed (with the car or the other attendees).
I was pretty vocal about my admiration for the 2016 Mazda MX5 convertible in November’s review, it honestly was my favourite car of 2016. The new Mazda MX 5 RF is essentially the same car but with an automatic folding hard roof, one that doesn’t detract from the MX5’s beauty in any way.
We were picked up early in the morning and driven to Carriage Works where there was a fleet of cars patiently waiting. Unlike previous drive days full of male motoring journalists, Mazda’s PR team had filled the room with a new generation of lifestyle influencers, and the males in the room were quick to pick up on some notable female attendees. With a car as accessible and fun as the MX5, there’s no denying every possible market had been covered.
A quick walk around the car confirmed that the Mazda MX5 RF was just as gorgeous in the flesh as it was in the photos I’d seen from its unveiling last year. While technically the RF is a convertible, the hard roof gives the car a streamlined coupe look – think BMW Z4 Coupe, and then a Targa appearance with the top folded away – think Ferrari 355 GTS.
Head designer Masashi Nakayama was on hand to illustrate the design process, literally. With camera’s displaying his handy work, we observed him while he drew iconic motorcars and explained how he and his team applied those lines and learnings to the Mazda MX5 RF.
Once the formalities had finished, we jumped into the cars and set off for Cottage Point Inn. For the first time on a drive day I was without a partner, happily left to my own devices. With the top down and Sampha blasting through the speakers nestled in the headrest behind me, I was quickly off course and heading over the Roseville Bridge to McCarrs Creek Rd.
Like the standard soft top, the Mazda MX 5 RF is an utter dream to drive – nimble, responsive and fun. Aside from minor differences in suspension, there’s not a lot that separates the two models outside of the roof. They are equally enjoyable to drive, you just need to decide if you’d prefer the folding hardtop, and the extra $4k on the bill. On McCarrs Creek Rd and down to Cottage Point the MX5 is as worthy a car as you may wish for the job, tucking effortlessly into sharp corners and happy to let itself go if you dare.
I pulled into Cottage Point Inn long before the others, even after doubling back for a second session on McCarrs Creek Rd. When the group began filtering in, the heavens opened, and canapes and drinks were served. After a delicious selection of drinks and snacks, we headed inside for a standout three-course meal.
Drinks flowed throughout the afternoon and when the rain subsided, we headed out to the jetty for some photos and a bit of drone action with Kane and Pia. Our day finished with a Seaplane transfer back to Rose Bay, an incredible way to take in the Sydney sights and a thrilling experience well worth ticking off.
Despite my feelings that I rather enjoyed the manual aspect of clicking the normal MX5’s roof into place, my first taste of the Mazda MX 5 RF (and Mazda’s launch events) was extremely enjoyable. It was an epic crew and a great day, one I think will be hard to top in the future.