Have you met the Roadster Coupe, Mazda’s Japan-only hardtop NB Miata? | Rate It

By Colin Wood
Jul 21, 2021 | Mazda, Miata, NB, Roadster Coupe

Photography Courtesy Mazda

Before the retractable hardtop variations of the NC (PRHT) and ND (RF) Miatas, Mazda actually built a limited run of fixed hardtop NB Miatas called the Roadster Coupe.

If you have never seen one before, we won’t blame you, as only 179 are said to have been built, and they were all sold exclusively in Japan.

The result of Mazda’s Engineering and Technology team, each Roadster Coupe was mechanically similar to the more common convertible Miatas, though were available in four separate trims: Roadster Coupe, Type S, Type A and Type E.

Looking at the spec sheet, both the base Roadster Coupe and Type S used the same front end as the regular NB Miata, with the Type A–the one with the decklid spoiler and fender flares–using an "authentic design reminiscent of traditional racing cars," and the Type E wearing a "refined and elegant design." (Whose name and styling may or may not have been inspired by the Jaguar E-Type.)

From top to bottom: Roadster Coupe/Type S, Type A and Type E

Base Roadster models make do with the 1.6-liter engine backed by a five-speed manual, with the rest of the lineup powered by the 1.8-liter engine mated to a six-speed manual–save for the Type E, which used a four-speed automatic instead.

Which one of the bunch would you pick if given the option, or do you think a hardtop version of the Miata kind of defeats the purpose?

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View comments on the GRM forums
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
7/20/21 10:27 a.m.

If anyone is interested, I can share the full spec sheet from Mazda.

As for my pick, I'd go with the Type S, with the Type A running a close second.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/20/21 10:40 a.m.

Years ago, I sat in one at Tokyo Auto Salon. It felt like a little Aston Martin. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/20/21 10:49 a.m.

If I were a billionaire, I'd take a type S over grazing space. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/20/21 11:02 a.m.

Also, did the coupe exist in an early Gran Turismo? I want to say that I drove the car there. Or maybe I dreamed it? 

calteg Dork
7/20/21 11:03 a.m.

I didn't realize they built that many. I saw one at an auto show years and years ago, I thought it was a prototype or one-off

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/20/21 11:16 a.m.

There was a prototype one-off in 1996 called the M Coupe. It was yellow and based on an NA (of course). I've tried to get Mazda to hand it over for safekeeping in the spotlight instead of storage in the basement, but no luck so far. I think it was a better looking car than the NB coupes personally, but it was hand-built.

 Apparently you can only get replacement body parts if you provide a VIN, so don't get any ideas about building a replica :(

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/20/21 11:24 a.m.

I'd go for the Type S, be happy with the Type A. I prefer coupes over roadsters. Lost my interest due to the auto only in the Type E. 

I wonder how the weight compares to the roadsters. I also wonder about the difference in handling due to the increased torsional rigidity.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
7/20/21 11:34 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

According to the spec sheet, the Roadster Coupe only weighs about 10 kg (roughly 22 lbs.) more than the convertible.

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/20/21 12:06 p.m.

Love it!

mblommel Dork
7/20/21 12:09 p.m.

Too bad we can't buy the sheet metal roof stampings from Mazda to build more stateside...

dxman92 Dork
7/20/21 2:20 p.m.

Last one in red with 1.8/6 Speed please. I'll take my number from the deli counter and wait in line.

Honsch Reader
7/20/21 2:29 p.m.

I love the Miata idea but will never own a convertible.

If they sold these in North America I'd probably own one.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/20/21 2:36 p.m.

In reply to dxman92 :

Waiting there right with you--one of those and half a pound of Swiss cheese, please. 

noddaz GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/20/21 4:11 p.m.


I am not a convertible guy either but the hardtop would have could have been interesting.

I remember swooning over these when they were new in Japan. Instead I had to wait another decade for an FR-S, which hasn't been a bad thing. 
I'd still love one of these, though. Make my Roadster Coupe a Type A, please.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/20/21 4:44 p.m.

What's not to love? Although I'd still take the never-made V6 RX-8 over one. 

gearheadmb SuperDork
7/20/21 7:31 p.m.

The NB is definitely the best looking miata in my eyes, and I've never been very interested in convertibles. This car, I would do bad things for this car.

GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/20/21 8:11 p.m.

I hate it, because it did not make production 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/20/21 8:38 p.m.
GTwannaB said:

I hate it, because it did not make production 

It did. You just weren't living in the right country. 

BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/21/21 8:36 a.m.

The Type A add-ons look kinda goofy in the bottom picture (the yellow one) but they look great in the lead picture.

mistanfo UltraDork
7/21/21 9:40 a.m.

I'll take the chef's special. As in, surprise me! Since I tent to leave the hard top on my NB anyways (and did the same with my NAs). Heck, if I had a hard top for my ND, it would likely stay on the car, though I love how nicely that top goes up and down...

if forced to choose, I'll take the yellow one, because yellow, and against my dislike for the way that the front flare doesn't connect nicely at the bottom.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/21/21 10:42 a.m.

Strong FD RX-7 vibes- just beautiful lines on that car.  I'll take a number at the deli counter too.

jharry3 GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/21/21 11:11 a.m.

This would be great with a Hatchback like the old Honda CRX's had.  

Lots of usable space for travel in the back - At least if you don't have kids since its a two seater...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/21/21 2:10 p.m.

In reply to jharry3 :

As the owner of an old CRX - it wouldn't be a terribly big space because someone put a double wishbone suspension and a fuel tank behind the seats :)

I personally prefer the '96 show car to the NB production car, but some of that is due to the unfortunate styling trends of the mid-00s. 


MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
7/21/21 2:53 p.m.

Those are some ugly headlight trim bits. At least Miatas never got the toothmarks-in-the-bumper headlights that showed up on the Acura RSX or Ram trucks.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/21/21 8:19 p.m.

I like the '96 show car the best. For the NB I'll take a base or S type. The A and E look terrible .

If these had made it to the states, good chance I'd own one.

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