A few minutes behind the wheel of the 2023 Mazda MX-5 GT RS Roadster we were singing the Beach Boys’ big hit Fun, Fun, Fun.
Fun … like the super-smooth gearbox; fun like the incredible sprint on an open highway (0-100 km in five seconds); fun of an easy-open roof with the Bose stereo in full blast; fun that you are driving an icon roadster and the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car ever.
And fun for Mazda, knowing it can sell as many as it can build.
Funny, too … watching a sizeable Orson Whiels climb in and out of a comfortable interior, a movement more akin to a body shaped like a small, thin concertina. But once in the bucket seats and ready to roll …ahhh.
Of course, the MX-5 Roaster isn’t perfect, but who will compare it with the $4 million Lamborghini Veneno? But you do feel you are driving something exceptional just the same.
While the 2023 MX-5 range is priced from around $43,000, we got to drive the top-spec soft-top GT RS at $53,000 drive away or around $10,000 more than the base model MX-5.
Over one million MX-5s have been sold since it first appeared in 1989, proof that ‘left-field’ cars can still sell well.
Standard gear includes 17-in. alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential, automatic LED lighting with front and rear daytime running lights, automatic wipers, keyless entry and start, heated mirrors with gloss black mirror caps, single-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats, a leather steering wheel, gear knob and hand brake, a 7-in. touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, satellite navigation, digital radio, a nine-speaker Bose sound system, cruise control and an auto-dimming rear mirror.
Did you get all that?
Then there are the BBS wheels, Bilstein dampers, Brembo front brakes, a front suspension tower strut brace and piano black mirror caps.
A 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the SkyActiv engine family – Mazda’s brand name for a series of automobile technologies that increase fuel efficiency and engine output – is given to the full MX-5 range.
The GT RS makes 135 kW of power (at 7000 rpm) and 205 Nm of torque (at 4000 rpm), sending this to the rear wheels and the sole transmission option, a six-speed manual.
Fuel efficiency is given at 6.8-7.2 litres per 100 km.
There’s150 mm ground clearance, and the safety kit includes four airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear auto braking, Matrix adaptive high beam functionality, driver attention monitoring, traffic sign recognition, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
But life’s simple pleasures are there also. As the wonderful, clamped coffee holders jut to the left of the driver – one can be moved to the side of the centre console – and three storage boxes, one behind each seat and one behind the cup holders in the centre. Priority items ticked!
The boot is a tight squeeze, just 130-litres, far less than the 237-litre boots of the GR86 and BRZ that expand by folding the rear seats – and with no hooks or nets to hold fragile items in place.
It’s a cozy small space inside but don’t expect to pack for a weekend away. Also, there’s no spare wheel or even a tyre repair kit, so it’s lucky the MX-5 has tyre pressure monitoring.
As with other new Mazda products, the MX-5 has a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with five-year roadside assistance.
The MX-5 now has longer 15,000 km yearly service intervals and a $2114 five-year 75,000 km servicing cost, or $411 per service.
Both Toyota and Subaru also offer five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranties, with Subaru giving 12 months of roadside assistance and Toyota giving none.
There are no options with the MX-5 range, just colour choices: ‘Deep Crystal Blue’, ‘Jet Black’ and ‘Platinum Quartz’ (gold) with ‘Machine Grey’, ‘Zircon Sand’ and our test car’s ‘Snowflake White’ adding $595 to the price.
We’re off up the North Coast for more fun … zoom, zoom.