The 2017 MX5 Sales Brochure

I had to smile when studying the brochure carefully.  Very little is spoken about the auto gearbox and mostly confined to the specification pages but there is one picture, almost in the centre fold, of a young lady in sun glasses with a gold bracelet on her wrist and sitting in car.  The title is “It’s all about the driver”. Looking closely at her left hand and covering most of the gear stick it’s not immediately obvious but she’s sitting in an auto. Wonder if Mazda didn’t want that to be too obvious especially considering the officianados view of auto gearboxes in MX5’s.  As I said…it did make me smile…!

The auto gearbox for the UK market was specified from mid 2015 and in the parts catalogue.

It was just a case of Mazda deciding not to import the soft top cars with the auto box.

The autobox was available in the US from the begging or slightly after the manual car was launched.

A marketing decision nothing technical about it.

Hello Intercity - you’re the first Auto RF owner on the Forum that I’m aware of. Well done - I’m intending to get one next Spring, and thought I might be the only Auto-boy in the village!  

Yes, the auto isn’t regarded by many as the ‘proper’ MX5 to have, but I was impressed by my test drive in one and will be very happy to cosset my temperamental left leg by owning one. Perhaps we’ll be able to start a sub-group in the club? 

Hi Parker. Yes there are very few of us about but as you said re your test drive, it is quite impressive and I’m sure others would agree given the test drive opportunity. It’s a slick 6speed auto box and that clutchless manual option just by pushing the stick to the right makes it interesting. All that and no clutch wear to think about…what more could you ask for? I hope you stick to your plan. You won’t be disappointed.

My tongue in cheek comment about the picture in the sales brochure was a light hearted observation based on the fact that the auto is not marketed under spotlights the way the manual is.
The auto just seems to be kept in the shade and that page in the sales brochure does nothing to detract from that view as no mention is made of the credentials of the car that the girl is sitting in despite the page’s title (“It’s all about the car”).
I don’t think Mazda are doing themselves any favours by not promoting what is a great gearbox which makes the car a very responsive and exhiliarating drive.

I suspect there’s something about perception. The traditional image of a sportscar is of a nippy little car with a manual gearbox as you negotiate those twisty country roads etc etc. I’m not saying anything is wrong with an automatic and plenty of sportscars and supercars have auto or semi-auto boxes these days. Doesn’t the MX5 auto version have flappy paddles? That seems to be the norm these days…

Yes Pete, the RF does have the conventional paddles. I’ve driven (and owned) several other Autos with paddles and it’s a feature which I enjoy, and I think that the RF 'box compares well with the other ‘torque converter’ types which I’ve known; however, I’d say that the VW Group DSG type offers the quickest changes, but not by a wide margin.