Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe (2009)

Mazda has given its evergreen roadster a touch up, with a more aggro face, plusher armrests and, finally, MP3 player connectivity; the trick folding hard-top remains.

Derek Fung
Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.
Derek Fung
2 min read

Little more than a nip and tuck, the latest MX-5 continues the theme set by previous generations: two seats, lowish weight, sharp handling, and not quite enough power to get you into serious trouble. We're not entirely convinced by the more shark-like front end, but the improvements to the interior are worth noting, with an abundance of soft-touch plastic and leather where you need it most — on the arm rests. Also worthy of commendation is the new height-adjustable driver's seat.

Like the model that's just about to bid adieu, there are two versions — one with a traditional soft-top and one with a folding hard-top, or Roadster Coupe in Mazda-speak. Every other coupe-convertible with a folding roof, such as the new BMW Z4 we saw at the Melbourne Motor Show, folds its roof into the boot, cutting boot space by about half whenever you want to go alfresco. Being the usual ever contrary, the MX-5's roof folds into a cavity between the seats and boot. While this means that the MX-5's boot is permanently tiny at just 150 litres, it allows the entire roof mechanism to weigh around 40kg — a huge improvement on the 200kg-plus units seen on other coupe-convertibles. Despite motors being responsible for the entire roof raising or lowering process, the driver still has to manually latch or unlatch the roof.

While there's a six-speed automatic with gorgeous steering wheel mounted shift paddles on offer, we'd plump for the standard six-speed manual every time. If Mazda has left well enough alone, it will snick cleanly between gears and bring a smile per minute as you explore the 2.0-litre engine's new 7500rpm rev limit.

The new generation Roadster Coupe, will finally come standard with an auxiliary port for MP3 players, although a USB slot still seems to be out of the question. The intuitive flick switches on the steering wheel for controlling the audio system, as well as the cruise control, are carried over. Unfortunately, so too, it seems, has the slightly underwhelming seven-speaker, 200W Bose sound system with an in-dash CD stacker.

Going on sale in the middle of March, the new face-lifted MX-5 will be arriving in Oz just in time for our prime top-down driving season, autumn.