New Mazda MX-5 RF Aka The Retractable Fastback You’ve All Been Waiting For

Mazda is raising the bar, or rather the top, in the compact sports car segment with the unveiling of the new MX-5 RF, which stands for ‘Retractable Fastback’, on the eve of the New York Auto Show.

For the second generation of their retractable hardtop model, Mazda chose  a very different solution, as whereas the previous PRHT (Power Retractable Hard Top) turned into a fully open roadster, the RF gets an intricate targa top mechanism with a removable middle section and a retractable rear window.

It’s very similar to the system Porsche is using on their latest 911 Targa, as at the touch of a button and in 12 seconds at speeds of up to 6mph or 10km/h, the rear section lifts up and swallows the middle part of the roof, stowing it right behind the rear seats, which is also were the retractable back window slides down. As a result, the MX-5 RF offers the same (limited) luggage space of 130 liters as the soft top roadster model.

With the top in place, the new MX-5 RF looks like a proper coupe model, which is exactly what Mazda designers were aiming for with this generation.

Mazda offers the central roof panel in a contrasting piano black finish or in the same color as the body, while the RF also gets a model-exclusive Machine Grey exterior paint, which it says, is the firm’s first “premium color” that “looks as if it were hand-painted by a master craftsman” using “a three-coat paint structure consisting of color, reflective and clear coats”.

The RF comes with a re-tuned suspension and steering system, and will be offered in Europe with the same 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter powertrains as the soft top MX-5, with North America getting only the larger displacement four-pot paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

Prices for the new MX-5 RF will be announced closer to launch later this year.

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  • Tumbi Mtika

    It’s official. I’m buying a Miata.

    • Matt

      But will you actually?

      • Tumbi Mtika

        Yes.

      • SadTearsNoLies

        MX-5 is not expensive at all.

  • Six_Tymes

    i’m going to start saving my money now for this. i just wish they would change the rear lights.

    • ME

      Not a big fan of those awkward lights myself.

      • emjayay

        They’re very mini-me Jag F-type.

    • Say thank you to US federal regulations…

    • Ronald Beach

      So… get a 124

  • Ilbirs

    Mazda did a CRX/Del Sol spiritual successor better than what could come from Honda.

  • emjayay

    Way, way too convoluted. Way, way too much stuff going on in a car of that size. The fake blacked out side window to make it look like a little Porcshe Cayman sucks. Makes me want to live a different life and end up as chief of Mazda design. But also an awesome solution to having an open car without a fabric roof, and if I were in a situation that facilitated ownership of such a vehicle, oh yeah. Tons of fun.

    • Blarg

      I gotta agree. It’s just not doing it for me in the same way as the regular Miata does. Just a little too awkward, I’ll wait and see what the Fiat version ends up looking like.

  • jasondavid08

    Woah.

  • stelvio

    Wow

  • Honda NSX-R

  • RunningLogan

    Not very pretty, is it?

  • Jerry Hightower

    Not bad at all! I’d sure rather have this than any Corvette or super duper car!

  • Bo Hanan

    Just needs more power to be perfect, (read: 200HP).

    • Ronald Beach

      Get a turbo kit, problem solved.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Plenty of power for the size…

  • Kash

    It’s the poor man’s 911 targa.
    I think they should’ve done more of an F-type/911 targa roof at the back instead that way they could get a little more storage space and i think it’d just look better.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Looks good but misses the light and simple MX-5 ethos. I prefer the speedster from SEMA.

  • SgtBeavis

    THAT IS SICK!!! Well done Mazda!

  • kachuks

    It was always such a kick to the nads that Japan got a hard top Miata and US did not. I’m totally digging this. But everyone should get choice of the roadster, targa and dedicated hardtop.

  • MarkoS

    WOW! This looks better than the soft top! Now find some more HP! It also needs the exhausts on each side.

  • thunder bolt

    Why not a manual removable hard top, it will save some weight for sure. This just proves that drivers are lazier than ever before.

  • Vassilis

    Nice!

  • I just fell in love… again.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    It would be my car of Choice in Taiwan should i find a manual one when the moment comes. This or a WRX. But given that in Taiwan you can’t speed anywhere due to awful roads and intense traffic and people everywhere, an MX5 would be a perfect vehicle to enjoy coastal and mountain roads top down while putting top on when rain comes.

  • fabri99

    Finally Mazda. All these years asking for this exact model…I mean, was it really this hard?

  • dubfun

    Did they add fifty horsepower to compensate for the additional weight?

  • Javokhir_Sam

    If I ever happen to buy that car, I would not even drive a mile without replacing those wheels and tail lights. Looks stupid

    • emjayay

      Some modern aluminum Minilites? That would be my choice. Tail lights? What’s available, the usual clear lenses that shout Japanese aftermarket?

      • Javokhir_Sam

        I am not about graphics of the tail lights but the whole shape. I would change the shape to Chiron-esque light saber lights and that would look great. Or something like Ferrari-esque rounded lights.

      • Javokhir_Sam

        Wheels? well, i always preferred a slightly dished back, maybe M4/M3-esque 5-spoke wheels. That would look great in this car

  • Incog Nito

    Evidence of Japanese makers can design if they want to.

  • Ted Sturgeon

    I’m in love!