Close your eyes and believe two shiny-seater convertibles arriving on your driveway, each screaming to be performed with. Such was my success lately, while a 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF and a 2019 Audi TT Roadster were delivered to my door.
Why those toys? Because at a time whilst the white noise of car choices has never been louder — EVs, hybrids, semi-self reliant structures, hypercars — I wanted to step returned into the world of purity, simplicity and amusing, and pay homage to multiple four-cylinder heroes. Among such a lot of new-automobile contenders, few gains this trifecta: moderately priced (Miatas begin at $25,730 and TTs at $44,900), bulletproof to own, and thrilling to pressure.
Both cars have received sufficient adulation from owners and media to influence their figure groups to maintain to produce them: The Miata is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this yr, and the TT Roadster its twentieth (the TT Coupe launched in 1998). Mazda has sold more than 1 million Miatas global, and Audi more than six hundred,000 TTs. They are evidence factors of constant engineering and layout refinement; the Miata by myself has gained 281 awards. (The Porsche 911 is perhaps the gold widespread of sports activities vehicle toughness and evolutionary development — and far much less possible at a $100,000 minimum price of access.)
I recall the awful lot-anticipated “start” of every car. In 1999, I was invited through Audi to release the TT Roadster in Umbria, Italy (I included the car enterprise for Fortune at the time). I raced around, top-down, devouring the location’s curvaceous roads and velocity-blurring through fields of sunflowers. However, the entire time, I couldn’t help recognize the car’s apparently countless clever info, from the baseball-glove-colored leather-based seats to its easy, successful overall performance. I changed into hooked: a fantastically engineered piece of German Bauhaus-inspired design that isn’t so powerful or expensive as to scare you, enthrall you — each time you climb inner. (A facet observe on Umbria: There is an inn in the city of Piedicolle called Maitland. The owners are avid Miata collectors, and visitors are invited to power some of the forty-plus motors housed inside the belongings’ transformed seventeenth-century homes.)
As for the Mazda, on July 1, 1989, my brother Dave took transport of one of the first Miatas in the usa, in Massachusetts. He bought it sight unseen based on early media insurance, filled his 6-foot-2-inch body into the little crimson beast, and drove it home to Washington, D.C. The subsequent day, he parked it in front of the White House, which you may still do at that factor. Women vied for rides, and Japanese tourists, among others, swarmed the car (Mazda had now not yet released it in Japan). And so a celeb vehicle became born.
Back to the existing. The nimbus gray metal TT Roadster in front of my residence beckoned, so I jumped in. (Both automobiles have been lent to me for a weekend. Take a look at pressure by using their respective manufacturers.) The present-day TT is awash in shrewd information from the easy virtual tool panel and the flat-bottomed sports activities guidance wheel to vents with the temperature and air controls constructed into the center knobs. I pushed the start button and smiled as all 228 horses below the hood growled to existence. I opted for the manual mode to fast-flick the paddle shifters and tested the TT’s overall performance mettle.
Audi’s quick reflexes made pushing the automobile feel as easy as playing an online game through several of Malibu’s better canyons and along Mulholland. Everything labored precisely proper: energy while my proper foot asked for it, progressive and clean guidance, all-wheel pressure to preserve my exuberance in taking a look at. After a few hours of lively frolicking, I all of the sudden idea to study the time and stuck myself grinning like a kid.
Next up: The Miata.
Mine becomes an RF — the beautiful retractable-roof version. I slid into the fairly bare-bones cockpit, and immediately all senses fired: This is ready using and simplest using. Dropping the user-friendly manual gearbox into first (an automated model is to be had too), I took off, at once feeling the car’s innate jin ba Ittai, a Japanese term that at first intended a herbal extension of horse and rider that Mazda has taken to car stages. To that factor, the Miata fit me like a glove, and as I revved and downshifted, the car and I became one in a partnership of throttle, brakes, and balance. Despite its 181-horsepower (add a 0 for the output a few hypercars declare these days), each stoplight felt like the beginning line of a race, and each curve an opportunity to explore the automobile’s nimble managing. Apparently, “Miata” is derived from the Old German word “minute,” which means “reward”—and the adrenaline-infused pleasure it inspired in me is evidence of a name properly selected.
All too soon, it became pumpkin time: The actual proprietors of “my” cars desired them again. I stood in the street as the Miata and TT disappeared from view. The amusing became lamentably over.