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Driven: Limited Edition Mazda MX-5 RF sprints in

No limits: The Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition adds a number of visual and mechanical touches over its RF GT donor car.

Hard-top Mazda MX-5 range bolstered by Limited Edition variant from $55,790 d/a


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14 Feb 2018

MAZDA Australia has justified the increased pricetag of the limited-edition MX-5 RF by saying the variant’s exclusivity and greater specification offsets the sizeable price boost.

With just 110 examples coming to Australia, the latest edition of the world’s most popular sportscar is priced at $55,790 driveaway.

Based on the $43,890 plus on-roads ($48,384 driveaway) RF GT manual, the Limited Edition carries a $7,406 premium over its donor car.

“This car doesn’t come from the factory this way,” said Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak.

“We have to fit the Kuroi pack (bodykit) and other things as well, so that’s the cost of it.”

He added that the rarity of the Limited Edition also contributed to its price.

“There is only 110 of these and there won’t be any more, so that’s it.”

Around 15 examples have already been spoken for, while every vehicle has been sold wholesale by Mazda Australia to its dealers.

Mazda has chosen to offer the Limited Edition with the RF (Retractable Fastback) hard-top bodystyle only, leaving out the soft-top version for which the MX-5 first became famous.

Mr Doak explained that the reason for selecting the RF was due to its popularity with customers.

“We certainly talked about it internally, which model we should do it on or whether we should do a mixture, but we decided the demand currently is very strong for RF, and we don’t think it really compromises the performance of the car in any shape or form.

“So we were confident we could just stick to RF this time around.”

According to Mazda, the RF makes up between 50 and 70 per cent of MX-5 sales on any given month, despite being offered with fewer variants than the soft-top.

Mr Doak indicated that more special edition MX-5s would likely be offered later in the model’s life-cycle, with the soft-top version a chance to get the limited-run treatment at some point.

He also said that MX-5 fans and purists would be the primary target for the Limited Edition.

“As a limited edition you always have MX-5 enthusiasts in mind first and foremost,” he said.

“Obviously there are people who are MX-5 fans and have been for decades and are always looking for something a bit special and the Limited Edition gives them that.

“Also there are some features on this car that we don’t offer on the rest of the range, so from that point of view that might interest them as well.”

The MX-5 RF Limited Edition is based on the specification of the RF GT, but adds a number of extra sporty goodies to distinguish it from its stablemates.

Keen MX-5 fans will be able to distinguish the RF Limited Edition from the outside by a number of visual enhancements including 17-inch BBS black alloy wheels shod on 205/45 rubber, an exterior aerodynamic bodykit lifted from Mazda’s Kuroi Sports pack that adds a larger front air dam, deeper side skirts and a rear under-spoiler, and four-pot front Brembo brake callipers – the first time in the MX-5’s history that red brake callipers have been offered.

The limited-run convertible also scores a purpose-built front strut cross brace bar, Bilstein shock absorbers, Recaro sports seats trimmed in Alcantara and leather and a custom-made Seiko Mazda wrist watch.

Each Limited Edition comes with a black folding hard-top roof, and is available in five different hues – Soul Red crystal metallic, Machine Grey metallic, Snowflake White pearl mica, Ceramic metallic and Eternal Blue mica.

The rest of the Limited Edition’s specification includes a 7.0-inch infotainment display, 4.6-inch colour instrument cluster display, nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers, and folding targa-style hard-top which electronically opens and closes in 13 seconds.

No change has been made to the RF Limited Edition’s powerplant, which is the more powerful 2.0-litre aspirated engine developing 118kW at 6000rpm and 200Nm at 4600rpm, with drive sent exclusively to the rear wheels.

All 110 examples of the Limited Edition come mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission, with MX-5 purists firmly in mind. Furthermore, according to Mr Doak around 70 per cent of ND MX-5 sales have been manual.

Standard safety equipment includes Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of technologies comprising blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and adaptive LED headlights with auto-dimming function.

Sales of the MX-5 dipped slightly in 2017 to 1459 units, representing a 7.5 per cent skid over the 1577 it sold over the same period in 2016.

It was the fifth best-selling sub-$80,000 sportscar behind the Ford Mustang (9165), Hyundai Veloster (1935), BMW 2 Series coupe and convertible (1750) and Toyota 86 (1619).

In the first month of 2017 the MX-5 has found 70 homes, down 39.1 per cent on January 2016.

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