When talking about cars, fun is equal to speed for most people like Stefano and I - unless you are Enzo who thinks sitting on a luxurious leather seat with bespoke hand stitching is the meaning of fun. Yawn.
I, on the other hand, discovered a new fun with cars. It starts with a retractable hardtop roof, a naturally aspirated two-liter engine, a perfectly balanced front and rear, and lastly, traction control off. Hello, Mazda MX-5 RF! Unless you are single or old enough to not have to drive your family with kids around, this car will have to be extra - the second or third car.
It can only seat 2 people and you have to be of Asian height to be comfortable - smaller in this RF version than the roadster. Mazda did some engineering magic to fit that retractable hardtop into a space not much bigger than where the soft top goes on the roadster, but based on Enzo's height, he couldn't manage to squeeze his legs into this targa-like sports car.
I normally take my kids with me when I go out and shoot cars, but the MX-5 was an exception to that rule. It was a shoot and date affair with my lovely wife - a very intimate one at that. I imagined being in my midlife crisis car, and that's exactly what this seems to be. After all, I'm only about a decade away, and who wouldn't want to get a preview of what's to come? Normally, I'd wish I were younger, but this time, I wished I was older - just like the way it was when I was 12. I guess this so-called midlife crisis is, in fact, closer than I think.
There's a giddy feeling every time I stop to press that button to put the roof down. A huge smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach. I can feel it right now as I type this. Despite the heat, the pollution, and the chances of rain, there's no other way I'd want to drive around with the MX-5. There's something about the wind against your hair and face that makes driving convertibles so special - memories of that bike ride around the neighborhood come to mind. It's that dash of rebellion and generous serving of unapologetic freedom. This is what driving should be.
If you need to keep your hair in place, keeping the roof up has additional benefits, too. First off, there is a huge reduction in wind and road noise versus the roadster. There is also a lot more confidence in heavy downpour since above your head is a proper solid metal roof. The only disadvantage is that you have to go at a snail's pace to get the roof up. This is especially disconcerting when the rain suddenly pours. In comparison, the roadster, though manually controlled, takes me only about 2 seconds to close.
A decadent chocolate brown leather interior, a premium Bose sound system, and Mazda's commander control knob with touch-screen interface are all simply icing on this cake. What truly embodies the MX-5, in RF or roadster form, is the way it drives or rather the emotions you get from it. It's spine-tingling, flirtatious, and immensely addicting. For more on that, check out Enzo Teodoro's review of the MX-5 Roadster. I'd like to end this with a message to my two perfect daughters. May Mom and Dad get one?
It will make us very happy.
Ex-Public Highway Racer