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Update on a older rumor:



Mazda Unveils Retractable Hardtop Miata

Written by: Autocar staff

London, UK – 7/18/2006 Trunk space is unaltered as hardtop folds behind the rear seats. (Mazda photo)

Things change: the Mazda MX-5 Miata, once the most elemental of roadsters, has joined the folding hardtop bandwagon.

The new MX-5 Roadster Coupe was launched this week at the British motor show, with even "fake" rain being thrown by Mazda to show the new top's superior weather isolation. It was an impressive demonstration: the MX-5 raises or lowers its roof in just 12 seconds at the press of a button - pretty much as quickly as any soft-topped rival.

The new folding hardtop folds away behind the seats, meaning that trunk space is unaltered whether the roof is up or down. To achieve this, Mazda has tweaked the MX-5’s rear deck, which is slightly higher on the Roadster Coupe than on the soft-top. It’s more noticeable in the metal than in photos, but overall barely alters the MX-5’s svelte lines. The hard-top also adds a mere 85lb to the car’s weight.

The small increase in weight means the Roadster Coupe should be as good to drive is its soft-topped sibling, while the extra insulation of the hard top should improve refinement.

The Roadster Coupe goes on sale in Europe at the end of the year. U.S. pricing information will be unveiled closer to the car's American launch, Mazda says.
 

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will it help in the handling department?
 

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hm.. look sexier. :) handling? hm..add more weight? more stable? hehe
 

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dodolaje said:
hm.. look sexier. :) handling? hm..add more weight? more stable? hehe

The hard-top also adds a mere 85lb to the car’s weight.

The small increase in weight means the Roadster Coupe should be as good to drive is its soft-topped sibling, while the extra insulation of the hard top should improve refinement.
 

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I'll save the $$ and the weight on my Miata and keep a HT.

HTs weigh in at about ~35lbs for the Miata. When you add in softtop removal your actually lighter then when you started.

Increasing the weight on a car like the Miata does not = good in any way. On small cars like that the lighter it is the better. Increased weight whether it be unsprung on the wheels or a HT at the highest point of the car (which also slightly throws off the CG) is not good.

I'm sure that retractable HT version of the Miata will be pretty close in terms of preformance to the Soft top version simply because Mazda never muck around in the handling department, I just wouldn't spend my $$ on it.

edit:

Also a regular hardtop on a Miata whether it be NA, NB, NC add about .02% increase in structural integrity. With that said if you ever drive in a HT equipped Miata you won't believe that figure because w/ the HT the car feels much stiffer. That is only due to the reduction of NVH, however. I think w/ this retractable hardtop the car MIGHT be slightly stiffer.

With that said the Miata was designed to be a covertible so it is already engineered to be very stiff with a soft top and when I saw the race between the coupe version of the Miata (only in Japan) vs. the regular convertible (both were NBs) the stiffer hardtop coupe wasn't any faster.
 
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