The soft top version of the Mazda MX-5 owes its unusually agile and linear handling characteristics to a strict gram strategy applied during the development of the third-generation version. One of the main goals in developing the new Roadster Coupe version was to keep the unavoidable gain in weight as low as possible. Only by delivering this, could MX-5's famous Jinba Ittai driving dynamics be assured for the hard top version as well.

The Roadster Coupe version is just 37 kg heavier than the soft top model. Of this weight, 30.2 kg come from the roof itself, the rear deck cover and other small related parts, 3 kg for the steel (rather than aluminium) trunk lid, 1.6 kg for the complex wiring harness switches, 0.3 kg for additional material at the aero board and trim configuration modification and 1.4 kg for the additional body reinforcements and sound insulation features.

Because the Roadster Coupe's body opening for stowing the hard top is 45 mm wider and 82 mm longer than that of the soft top model's, local reinforcements had to be employed to compensate for a slight loss in body stiffness. These include:

  • A 1.8 mm thick reinforcing bracket at both corners of the rear deck opening,
  • Increasing the thickness of the front surface of the rear deck from 0.7 mm of the soft top model to 1.8 mm for the Roadster Coupe model,
  • Strengthening the sides of the rear deck opening by inclusion of a closed-section structure that extends through the front surface of the rear deck.

These local reinforcements make body shell stiffness of the MX-5 Roadster Coupe virtually the same as the soft top model. Here as well, developers kept the weight gain as low as possible, limiting it to just 820 grams.

Larger Front Stabilizers and Stiffer Rear Springs and Dampers Settings

Because there is slightly more weight at the back of the Roadster Coupe when the hard top is stowed behind the seats, engineers optimally tuned the rear springs and dampers. At the same time, a larger front stabilizer is introduced (increased in diameter from 21 to 22.2 mm) along with new settings for the front dampers.
These features give the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe handling characteristics that provide further refinements compared to the agile and nimble handling characteristics of the soft top.

Driving the rear wheels all MX-5s employ double wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.

It features large disc brakes front and rear and a stiff, light and linear power assisted rack and pinion steering system with 2.7 turns lock-to-lock.