RF does not stand for Really Fast. But it could stand for Really Fun!
In reality, it is the new badge for the MX-5 hardtop. This power retractable
targa panel slides behind the new B-pillar uprights in back and atop the trunk.
Scratch that: the entire roof actually folds under the rising uprights behind each seat. These buttresses lift up and let the hardtop fold away. This keeps a wind deflector in back with the top down, but does not appear to let the rear glass or roof move individually: only as a unit. It is not exactly as clean as the previous-gen PRHT’s design in maintaining a fairly flat tonneau cover behind the cockpit. But it does one better: it creates the MX-5 hardtop coupe that many have dreamed of for decades.
It is a complex upgrade of the MX-5’s softtop style, but seems effective at offering a foul-weather and city-safe roof alternative.
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
MAZDA DEBUTS NEW MX-5 WITH RETRACTABLE HARDTOP
- Mazda MX-5 RF on display in a world premiere at the New York International Auto Show
- To be available in Machine Grey, a new premium colour designed for KODO exteriors
New York, 22 March 2016. Mazda revealed the Mazda MX-5 RF (“retractable fastback”) today on the eve of the New York International Auto Show. The latest version of the legendary sports car offers a new dimension of open-top driving fun while at the same time staying true to the purpose of Mazda’s previous retractable hardtop MX-5: Making the roadster experience accessible to a broader range of drivers.
In doing so, Mazda has broken with conventional thinking to create something entirely new. Featuring fastback styling with a smooth roofline that slopes down to the rear, the MX-5 RF’s unique rear roof and retractable back window deliver a distinctive new convertible feeling.
The power roof opens and closes with the press of a button while moving at speeds of up to 10km/h. The roof itself stows away compactly and efficiently: Despite the sleek design, the MX-5 RF offers the same boot space as the soft-top model. Also like the soft-top, the new version will be available in Europe with a choice of two revvy petrol engines – the SKYACTIV-G 1.5 and SKYACTIV-G 2.0 – mated either to a delightfully crisp shifting six-speed SKYACTIV-MT gearbox or – exclusively for the MX-5 RF – a six-speed automatic.
Another highlight of the MX-5 RF is the selection of body colours. They include Machine Grey, a new premium colour specially designed to accentuate the subtle yet dynamic surfaces of Mazda’s KODO – Soul of Motion exteriors. Developed in the belief that colour is one of the elements of form, Machine Grey expresses the beauty of a machine’s strength and precision. By intensifying the contrast between light and shadow with a sleek, high-density finish, it gives the impression that the vehicle’s body was sculpted from a solid block of steel.
Paint application is crucial here. Mazda progressed its Takuminuri painting technology originally created for Soul Red, Mazda’s first premium colour, to achieve a precise, high-quality finish that looks as if it were hand-painted by a master craftsman. The system uses a three-coat paint structure consisting of colour, reflective and clear coats. The reflective layer, which contains extremely thin, high-brightness aluminium flakes, shrinks during the drying process to about one-quarter the thickness of most reflective layers. This causes the flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake for a high-density finish that gives the entire surface a sheen when illuminated and a genuine metallic look. Jet black pigment, meanwhile, is used in both the reflective and colour layers. It is visible through the spaces between the aluminium flakes, giving them a black hue and thus heightening the contrast. Machine Grey will be available on a range of Mazda models, including the all-new Mazda CX-9 slated to go on sale in North America this spring.
The MX-5 RF is on display at the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public from 25 March to 3 April. Mazda is holding a press conference from 11:20-11:45am on 24 March, the second of two press days.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
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