January 12, 2022
  • January 12, 2022

2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring

By on December 20, 2021 0



2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

Enjoy driving to the fullest!

PHOTO
Dave colman


Story and photos by David Colman
THE AUTO CHANNEL Special Correspondent

The best test car of the year arrived the day a Mazda MX-5 appeared in my driveway. The Wish Fulfillment Department recently dropped off a Deep Crystal Blue Mica retractable hardtop version on white leather called the MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring. With minor modifications, the basic design of this little two-seater roadster has survived for over 30 years. For the first two decades, a soft top was the only solution. Mazda recently designed a safer roof for the MX-5 that folds up and stows in a well behind the seats. It achieves this origami feat at the push of a button on the dashboard. Surprisingly, the RF model weighs just over a hundred pounds more than the rag top. But you get the added security of a glass rear window surrounded by a fixed roll bar-like structure that stays upright even when the roof is folded down. If you have the misfortune to reverse your MX-5, do so in the best protected RF model.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

Driving RF is an escape from the automotive past, when analog steering, braking and throttle response were the order of the day. Your actual mechanical input determines how the MX-5 responds, so there’s no digital conversion factor to spoil the fun. The most important clue to the Miata’s pure sports car identity is the lack of a fake “Sport” or “Sport +” dial to simulate sportiness. Instead of today’s digitally manipulated throttle and steering response manufacturers, the MX-5 eliminates such a fallacy in favor of the real thing. Operate the steering wheel and the MX-5 instantly moves in response. Gradually increase the speed and watch the rpm increase according to your instructions. The MX-5 offers a battery of sensory rewards that have all but disappeared today.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

There are several trim levels you can outfit your Miata, starting with the fabric-roofed Club model that starts at $ 33,045. This version features a 9-speaker Bose audio system, 17-inch alloy rims, and black front and rear spoilers. The Grand Touring RF model we tested starts at $ 34,525. In addition to the retractable roof, the GT adds an adaptive front lighting system, heated leather seats and the Mazda navigation system. The only additional charge was $ 300 for striking white nappa leather seats. The GT kit also improves the suspension with sporty tuned springs and anti-roll bar rates controlled by Bilstein shocks at each corner. The 17-inch alloy rims are fitted with track-worthy Bridgestone Potenza S001 (205 / 45R17) radial tires that provide fierce grip on the pavement.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

Over the decades, the power output of the Miata has gradually increased from 116 hp to 100 lb-ft. of torque at 181 hp and 151 lb-ft. of couple. Still, the 2,189 lbs. the weight of the first-generation 1992 Miata only increased to 2,427 lbs. for the RF GT model. Do the math and you’ll find that the original Miata’s power-to-weight ratio (18.87 lbs / hp) has improved significantly in the current version to 13.40 lbs / hp. This quantum leap in motivation translates into a whole new level of performance for the MX-5 RF GT. It covers the quarter-mile standing start in 14.5 seconds at 94 mph and sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. In any book, it’s fast. Judging by the ancestral Miata logbook, it’s stupendous. The best part about the new gear found is how manageable it is, given this car’s lightning-fast steering, excellent progressive braking, and superb 6-speed manual transmission. Clutch engagement is as smooth as a dream, short gearbox strokes mean you’ll never miss a gear change, and high g-force directional changes impose a neck brace on your passenger.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

There is an episode of the Twilight Zone where a harassed advertising executive travels from Madison Avenue to turn-of-the-century Willoughby “where a man can enjoy life to the fullest.” The MX-5 RF is the kind of sports car that will allow you to fully enjoy driving. Seize the opportunity because it is rarely available.

2021 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF GRAND TOURISME

    ENGINE: 4.0-liter in-line, DOHC, 16-valve, aluminum block and cylinder head, DFI
    POWER: 181hp @ 7000rpm
    TORQUE: 151 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
    FUEL SAVING: 26MPG City / 34MPG Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $ 35,770

HYPES: Laser-focused steering, handling and shifting

COLIC: RF pillars obscure the view

STARRESS RATING: 10 out of 10 stars



Source link