Mazda is growing the fourth-generation MX-5 family with the world premiere of the all-new MX-5 RF. The already sharp, aggressive gen-four MX-5 is extra slick in RF spec, adding a smooth, dropping roofline to its sporty body. The push-button retractable hard-top and rear window give MX-5 drivers a new path for letting in the rush of fresh air.
Unlike past MX-5 retractable hard-tops, which relied on powered folding hard tops that tucked away neatly into the flat rear, the MX-5 RF features a new system designed around a sporty, coupe-like roofline. At the push of a button the rollbar-style rear roof lifts up to accommodate the retracting roof panel. It's similar to the system on Porsche's 911 Targa models, albeit with a hard panel instead of a soft top.
The new system doesn't affect trunk space, letting you drop the same amount of cargo in back as in the soft-top. It can be operated at speeds up to 6 mph (10 km/h), and the rear window can also be lowered to enhance the open-air experience inside.
With its sharp eyes, dropping hood, flowing curves and creased rear-end, the new MX-5 already looks extra sporty and aggressive compared to models of Mazda Miata past, and we'd say the RF design brings it up to a new level. The sharply dropping roof melds cleanly into the muscular rear haunches, giving the latest MX-5 a renewed sense of power and speed that exists with the top up or down.
When the roof is up, the MX-5 RF turns into a super-compact coupe that looks ready to bolt forward and overtake anything in its path, though its modest Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine (North American market) will prevent it from actually doing so. The RF will also be offered with a Skyactiv-G 1.5 in other markets.
The MX-5 RF also introduces a new color to the Mazda palette. It debuts in "Machine Grey," a new premium color specially formulated to increase the contrast between light and shadow and highlight the dynamic surfaces of Mazda's "KODO – Soul of Motion" design language. We think it's quite effective in giving the RF body a look of being "sculpted from a solid block of steel." Beyond the MX-5, the new color will be offered on a range of models, including the new CX-9.
Mazda revealed the MX-5 RF ahead of the New York Auto Show, which opens to the press on Wednesday. We look forward to getting more information about the new model and video of that retracting roof when the show gets underway. We'll update when we do.