Make / Model Search

New models - Mazda - MX-5 - Roadster Coupe

First drive: Mazda flies the MX-5 coupe!

Secure: Roadster Coupe adds more safety and security to the MX-5 menu.

Mazda joins the coupe-convertible craze with its slick new MX-5 Roadster Coupe

5 Sep 2006

THE evolution of the Mazda MX-5 has arrived with the Roadster Coupe – the first model available with an integrated electronically controlled folding roof.

Mazda denies that it has been forced to "keep up with the Joneses" or that it has deviated from the MX-5’s original philosophy of creating an inexpensive, lightweight sports car with the Roadster Coupe.

Instead, it says it has developed a more secure and practical alternative that will broaden the appeal of its cult car.

Mercedes-Benz was the first car-maker to blur the lines between a traditional convertible and a sports coupe with its original SLK roadster in 1997. Since then, a host of manufacturers have followed its lead, the likes of which extend from cut-price cuties like the Holden Tigra through to exclusive high-end exotics like the Mercedes-Benz SL.

Mazda claims the Roadster Coupe was developed as an integral pillar of its third-generation NC-series MX-5, although it required more slightly more development time than the soft-top to ensure it met the strict criteria set out by program manager, Takeo Kajima – the father of the cult car.

"We wanted this car from the beginning," he told GoAuto at the launch of the Roadster Coupe in Queensland last week.

"It is very important to increase the appeal of MX-5 even further.

"We still have soft-top for fun drivers, and now Roadster Coupe for new drivers."

22 center imageMazda believes the soft-top will still appeal to enthusiastic owners who appreciate its lightweight simplicity, while the Roadster Coupe will attract more discerning owners who demand the greater flexibility and security offered by the folding hardtop roof.

In fact, Mazda believes, particularly now that the initial rush for the NC soft-top has been met, that the Roadster Coupe will make up 60 per cent of all MX-5 sales in the future.

Which is not an unreasonable proposition considering the Roadster Coupe not only has the convenience of the folding roof, but there is marginal performance loss as it weighs only 37kg more than the soft-top and it also comes standard with the luxury leather trim and high-powered Bose sound system.

The Roadster Coupe costs $47,660 for the six-speed manual, with the only option being the six-speed automatic - which takes it to $49,835. This represents a $4790 premium over the entry-level MX-5 soft-top.

The Roadster Coupe shares the same mechanical package as the soft-top, powered by a 2.0-litre Mazda-developed four-cylinder engine with dual sequential valve timing that produces 118kW at 6700rpm and 188Nm of torque at 5000rpm.

Located behind the front axle for 50:50 weight distribution, the engine drives the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or a six-speed Activematic transmission. The drivetrain is cradled in a stiff transmission tunnel that is derived from the RX-8 for greater rigidity.

The manual has a limited-slip rear differential while the automatic has steering wheel-mounted gearchange paddles and buttons.

The suspension has been slightly tweaked to cater for the weight increase, with a larger front stabiliser bar and retuned rear springs and dampers.

But it’s the roof that really sets this car apart from its soft-top sibling.

It only takes 12 seconds for the car to morph from a roadster into a coupe – which Mazda claims is the best in the business – and, having been developed as part of the program from the outset, is the first of the folding roof cars to not impede on the boot space when the roof is down.

Mazda claims the Roadster Coupe still provides the full 150-litre boot capacity in either configuration.

The three-piece roof is constructed from a fibre/plastic composite outer skin and high-strength glassfibre-reinforced polypropylene inner panels and is just 20mm thick and weighs only 18kg more than the soft-top roof.

The extra weight is courtesy of the four electric motors, steel – rather than aluminium - bootlid and structural reinforcements required.

It is controlled by buttons on the top-centre section of the dashboard, and can only be activated while the car is stationary.

Visually, the Roadster Coupe only differs in the rear section of the vehicle, where the decklid is 40mm higher, resulting in redesigned rear guards and a tapered bootlid to ensure the overall design remained fluid.

For train-spotters, the high-mounted stop light on the Roadster Coupe has a white lens rather than the red on the soft-top.

It comes fully-loaded with a long feature list that includes air-conditioning, power windows, a six-CD Bose sound system, cruise control, dual front and side airbags and dynamic stability control and traction control.

2006 Mazda MX-5 pricing:
MX-5 $41,860
MX-5 (a) $44,035
MX-5 Leather $43,620
MX-5 Leather (a) $45,795
MX-5 Roadster Coupe $44,800
MX-5 Roadster Coupe (a) $46,975
MX-5 Roadster Coupe Leather $46,560
MX-5 Roadster Coupe Leather (a) $48,735

GoAuto can help you buy a new MX-5

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Mazda models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here