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Old 07-20-2006, 05:41   #1 (permalink)
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UK:Mazda Unveils MX-5 Miata Roadster Hardtop

Mazda Unveils MX-5 Miata Roadster Hardtop

Inside Line


(Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operation)
Top goes up, top goes down.


(Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operation)
The Mazda Miata MX-5 gets a top for all seasons.

LONDON — Mazda used the British International Motor Show to unveil a roadster coupe version of its MX-5 Miata.

Designed to appeal to those in intemperate climes, the folding hardtop will cost around $2,500-$3,000 more than the soft-top model.

A button on the center console activates the hydraulics, which fold the hardtop into the trunk in just 12 seconds. Unlike similar systems found in, for example, the Mercedes SLK, the roof does not fold into the trunk. Instead, it pivots into a small area behind the seats.

To accommodate the added bulk of the system, the rear of the Roadster Coupe has been subtly redesigned. A restyled shoulder line flows into a taller rear end, which has been designed to allow the hardtop to retract to a point where it is invisible, without compromising the trunk space.

The system adds just 80 pounds to the Miata, and the 50/50 weight distribution is maintained. It remains to be seen whether the slight raising of the car's center of gravity will affect the Mazda's exquisite handling.

What this means to you: The MX-5 for those who live in places where the sun doesn't always shine.
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