This is the 2018 Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition. It’s designed purely to offer ear-to-ear smiles and many, many memorable driving experiences for years to come. But with the limited edition kit, there’s a dash of seriousness thrown in.
2018 Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition: What is it?
Mazda Australia launched the 2018 MX-5 range in March this year, bringing in a peppering of updates for the chassis (which we’ll get to later), some refinement improvements thanks to increased sound deadening material, with a pinch of added safety via adaptive LED headlights for the GT version and lane departure warning.
What your eyes are looking at here though is the Limited Edition model, designed to celebrate the launch of the 2018 range. It’s based on the GT and is available from a rather northern $52,210. Only 110 examples are up for grabs.
2018 Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition: What does it come with?
It comes with heaps of cool bits and pieces, actually. Inside there’s a pair of Recaro sports seats with leather and Alcantara upholstery, promising the “ultimate blend of sports and luxury”, according to Mazda. We must say they are pretty darn comfortable, but adjustment is limited which will leave taller drivers wanting more headroom.
The rest of the interior is standard, with Mazda’s flawless MZD Connect media interface up on the dash. It packs in everything from digital radio, sat-nav, and Bluetooth connectivity, while also providing plenty of vehicle settings to fiddle around with. Being the RF means there’s an electric-folding hard-top roof to play with as well, although it does take its time deploying and retracting.
More specific Limited Edition stuff includes Bilstein dampers with a front strut tower brace, as well as the otherwise optional Kuroi Sports Pack aero kit with special air intakes, along with a set of 17-inch BBS black alloy wheels to complete the look. Behind these are a set of bespoke Brembo brakes with four-piston front calipers. These are not offered on the regular MX-5, but we can confirm they do make a huge difference, especially with longevity and fade resistance.
Even without the Limited Edition treatment, Mazda has applied some suspension revisions to all 2018 Mazda MX-5 models. The upper-link bushes in the rear have been lowered and the bump-stop is lengthened. This helps to maintain stability and settle the car, even during braking while cornering.
2018 Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition: Fun factor
It’s difficult to drive the MX-5 without smiling. Especially with the roof peeled back. It’s just such fun, no matter what sort of road you’re on. In the city you get to hear and smell your surroundings, like any convertible, and the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine buzzes and cheerfully plays along.
With 118kW and 200Nm, it’s not exactly the fastest sports car, in a straight line at least. But it is surprisingly quick when you really get under it and put the hammer down. Thanks to a low kerb weight of just 1078kg, the power-to-ratio is excellent. We saw 0-100km/h come up in a very respectable 7.2 seconds during our testing (Vbox verified, demo in video below), giving you some idea of its point-to-point performance.
Out in the mountains is where this car belongs, though. It is such an enjoyable drive. You’ll probably miss a few appointments just taking the long route every time. Pushing harder, the MX-5 won’t fall apart on you. This is one finely engineered vehicle. You can immediately tell the engineers have spent countless hours on circuits to make sure it lives up to its legendary pedigree.
With rear-wheel drive it is easy to provoke some rear slide action too, and you can apply liberal doses of throttle to maintain a drift. Since it doesn’t have more power than the sun, you needn’t be super-gentle with the throttle. Blip the pedal with a bit of heel-and-toe, down to second, turn in with the superb mechanical-feel steering, and just progressively feed in the power and enjoy the opposite-lock ballet.
Being so light in weight means the fuel economy is outstanding, rated at 7.0L/100km on the official combined cycle – our test returned a real-world figure of around 7.5L/100km. This is quite a unique skill in this segment, as many sports cars often use a lot of fuel.
2018 Mazda MX-5 RF Limited Edition: Should you buy one?
Well, if you’re after a modern, great-looking, well-packaged, reliable sports car, then yes. You should definitely consider an MX-5. It’s one of the most fun cars on the market with genuine talent, and it’s built in Japan by a very reputable manufacturer.
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For further reading on sports cars, check out our Top 10 best driver’s cars on sale in Australia feature.