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Age of Enlightenment With a Mazda MX-5 RF on The Transfagarasan
If there were a competition for cars that are best paired with the motto of a different car company, then the Mazda MX-5 and BMW's “The ultimate driving machine” would definitely be in the top three, at least.

Age of Enlightenment With a Mazda MX-5 RF on The Transfagarasan

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We had already experienced a 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF a few weeks ago, when a call from Mazda informed us of an invitation to drive its sports car once more, but this time on one of the best driving roads on the planet. For those that have been living under a rock that hadn't been supernaturally gifted with a WiFi connection, I'm talking about Romania's Tranfagarasan mountain road, made famous by a Top Gear episode from the Clarkson and Co. era.

The reply to Mazda's invitation was obviously similar to that of a 5-year old that's allowed to bring his favorite toy at kindergarten. Because, as most of you know already, that's what the Mazda MX-5 is, a four-wheeled toy for grownups to bring at work.

Sure, most kindergartens have toys of their own, but none of them beats the one you bring from home. Just like plenty of other cars can be used to cross the Tranfagarasan in anger, but few of them are more fun than the MX-5.

Did I say anger? That's strange, because there wasn't even a hint of that sentiment during the mountain drive, not from the passenger and not even from bystanders, who all seemed rather happy to be passed by a swarm of MX-5s driven like they were stolen.

The Tranfagarasan is pretty much filled to the brim with foreign tourists this time of year, most of them driving their beloved bringers of joy on two and four wheels in equal measure. In fact, we got more thumbs up from bikers who were simply getting out of the way and waving at us instead of being annoyed by the sudden appearance of a horde of fast roadsters.

I'm not sure if the same thing would have happened if these roadsters would have been wearing different badges, though. Sure, the little MX-5 that could has never been known to attract douchebag drivers, unlike other sports cars, but all that waving was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

I should get back to the hero of the day, which wasn't the Transfagarasan road or the MX-5, but my guardian angel, who kept me from going all Thelma and Louise and launch the car from the mountain. Bear in mind that I don't really believe in angels, fairies or other magical creatures that purportedly exist to keep you safe, but if I did, I would be very grateful to them after this drive.

Everyone knows that a perfectly tuned chassis only becomes alive when the electronic stability control is off, a system that also separates a good suspension setup from a bad one. With that in mind, we did the first run over the Transfagarassan with the ESP on, and then we went no-holds barred with the system off.

To weirdly explain what we encountered by doing this, you should probably imagine the four-wheeled version of a pizza that's actually tastier when it's cold.

The great-sounding 2.0-liter four-cylinder, so deeply pushed behind the front axle to give a 50:50 weight distribution, the extremely low weight for a modern car that isn't a Lotus and the perfectly designed gear lever and closely spaced pedals can actually make you think like you're a driving god, even if you're far from it.

Let's just say that if you can drive stick, you can hoon the hell out of an MX-5 without missing a beat, or in this case, a gear. Surprisingly for a naturally aspirated engine that was more worked than a mule in the Pilgrim era, the fuel economy for the entire run showed us 9.4 liters per 100 km (25 mpg). Who needs diesel or hybrids anyway? All you need is a perfectly tuned chassis and low weight, which can give you both driving fun and fuel economy. Mazda seems to be the only mainstream carmaker that lives by this creed nowadays.

Most of the 90 km (56 miles) drive up the Carpathian Mountains were done shifting from second to third and then back to second again during hairpin turns, of which there were plenty. Apart from a couple of instances, when we also got into fourth for a bit, the Skyactiv 2.0-liter never saw below 4,000 rpm, and the accompanying soundtrack with the roof down was like a perfect symphony of steel, gasoline, and oil. The MX-5, in either 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter guise, is a perfect brush for the Transfagarasan canvas, and the photos in the gallery don't do it justice, no matter how beautiful they are.

If you ever thought about test driving an MX-5 and see what the fuss is all about, do go for a Mazda dealership that's around some mountain passes, the car will create a paradigm shift in you, and I'm not even exaggerating. The I-Eloop start-stop system is all fine and dandy in city traffic, but that's not even close to were the car's playground actually is.

It's the twisties where it shines, and there aren't that many roads that outshine the Transfagarasan. Its surface could be improved quite a bit on some stretches, and you definitely don't want to drive it during the weekend, but other than that you can definitely call this MX-5 Transfagarasan Experience as the perfect test drive.

All I need to do now is pay off a mortgage about 20 years early and buy an MX-5 RF as soon as possible. It's the type of car that utterly destroys boring lives.

 
 
 
 
 

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