Retractable Fastback: nowhere near as sexy as Targa or Spyder (Spider?), yet just the same philosophy for a fraction of the money.
It’s the folding hard-top version of the new MX-5 and, despite the daft name, one of the stars of this year’s New York Auto Show.
The implementation is practically identical to that chosen by the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren in the 911, 488 GTB and 650S, only Mazda did it the other way round, starting with a roadster and turning it into a coupe that can also cater for open air motoring.
The same as its predecessor, say you? Ah, but the MX-5 Retractable Fastback is different. While the NC MX-5 had a fully retractable top, the ND employs a much more complicated mechanism that stores the center panel vertically behind the seats and a retractable rear window. This results in the roof not intruding on luggage space, which is nice because the 130 lt are abysmal to start with, and necessitates two buttresses.
Thus, Mazda manages to differentiate the Roadster from the RF visually even with the roof open, whereas in the previous MX-5 the two looked the same, and makes it hard for the uninitiated to distinguish it from a true coupe when it’s closed.
Apart from that and a retuned suspension, the RF is all fourth-gene MX-5, which translates into a 1.5- or 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four (the former not available in the US) powering the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or auto gearbox.
And one last thing: does anyone remember a certain Honda from 1992? If not, after viewing the live images from NYC check this out and you might find that kindred spirits think very much alike. It’s just a matter of timing…