Less than a year since its world debut, the Mazda MX-5 RF finally makes an unscheduled and surprising appearance in Malaysia. This hard-top roadster packs the same 2.0-litre longitudinally mounted engine as its rag-top counterpart, but the biggest news here is the availability of a six-speed manual transmission.
When the MX-5 was launched here in 2015, it was only available with the six-speed auto. If the lack of a stick shift was the basis for not buying it then, perhaps the Retractable Fastback version would change your mind. The added folding mechanism doesn’t compromise boot space, so volume remains at 130 litres. Folding is automated and completes in just 12 seconds.
The example seen here is finished in the familiar but no less desirable Soul Red Metallic, though we would have loved to see the brand new Machine Grey colour. Everything else is as per the soft-top, such as the 17-inch lightweight wheels (205/45 profile rubbers) and full-LED headlights and fog lamps.
The high-revving naturally aspirated Skyactiv engine produces 158 hp at 6,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm, all of which are sent to the rear wheels. It may not seem very powerful, but the car weighs just a tad over the magical 1,000kg mark, and a teeny bit more over the soft-top due to the folding mechanism. Mazda engineers have tweaked the suspension and power steering to ensure uncompromising balance as well.
Now, how much would it cost? Sources within Mazda Malaysia hints at a tentative pricing of about RM250,000, with the manual variant costing a fair bit less. Those interested can begin placing their bookings at any authorised Mazda dealerships nationwide.