The Copen is an achingly beautiful dedicated driver's car that you have to WANT to own. If you're unsure whether to get a Copen or a pre 2015 MX-5 with a soft top - go buy the MX-5.Read more is impeccable & if serviced properly these cars will do at least 160k+ km with no problems. Plus, it basically makes everyone who sees it - very happy.
You'll be getting "wow, what a beautiful car, what is it?!" regularly and from all ages & sexes, from 18yo girls to 80 year old men & absolutely everyone in between. People just can't help looking at it. Leaving poker tonight I had two young blokes admiring it & asking me everything about it.
Out of the factory, the little inline intercooled 659cc twin scroll turbo four has to be a maximum of 50kW under Japanese laws, but these babies were engineered to go much further. Which is good, because stock they are pretty slow but that can be fixed. The engine redline is 8,000RPM but there's no point going over 6,000 - the close ratio box & the small turbo means the engine is always on boost anyway. The seats & driving position are excellent if you're under 6'2".
Here's the basic upgrade: replace the deliberately bad air intake with a direct cone filter, put in a straight through 2" exhaust, fit a manual boost controller to get to 15psi boost, remove & cap the 'vent to turbo' pipe to get a fantastic blow-off noise & fit a real time engine temp display since the stock unit is useless & the amount of coolant is very small.
I live in Canberra where temps range from -6 to 46deg. Curiously, running the a/c brings the engine temp down 15deg with no noticeable loss of power. Insurance is cheap.
Now why you might prefer an MX-5. Copens are exotic outside Japan so you'll be sourcing every part from overseas. You'll have to find a mechanic who either knows Copens or wants to learn. She needs fresh, good quality oil every 6 months and proper logbook servicing.
Forget luggage, there is almost no boot when the roof is down so you'll be carrying the shopping home on the passenger seat & in the footwell. In-cabin storage is very limited - better than a current retractable roof MX-5 but that's a very, very low bar to jump. You'll have to learn where controls & buttons are but that's pretty easy. When the roof is up you realise just how small it is. A Copen is not a touring car, it pulls 4k in 5th gear at 100kmh & you'll feel every stone on the road. Fuel economy is about 8.5L/100 km.
So, that's what owning a Copen is like. You'll either fall in love or hate all the compromises - it just depends on what you want in a car. If you're a driver, it'll be hard to wipe the smile off your face.
On the other hand, if you buy a Copen you are basically buying a baby racing car with a retractable roof that will be the most fun you've ever had driving! Every drive is a pleasure, changing gears all the time with the close ratio box and it handles like a cat on carpet. See off Porsche Cayennes through roundabouts! Being a Japanese made Daihatsu, build quality...
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