It was pretty much a given this car was on the way, based on how popular the PRHT model was on the outgoing NC-generation Miata. Mazda used the New York auto show to introduce the MX-5 Miata RF, for Retractable Fastback, a power-folding hardtop version of the AUTOMOBILE All-Star-winning Miata roadster.
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF builds on the standard soft-top model with a hardtop and dramatic flying buttress-like arches that extend from the roofline to the trunk. The trunklid (and buttresses) raise to allow the roof to fold away beneath them; the buttresses are still present when the roof is stowed, almost recalling the look of, say, a Ferrari 488 Spider or McLaren 650S when the top is down.
The car will be offered in a new Machine Gray Premium paint scheme designed specifically to complement the car’s KODO design language. That color will also be available for the CX-9 crossover.
Mazda says the roof can be raised or lowered at up to 6 mph, and that trunk space is the same in the Miata RF as the standard model. U.S.-market cars will get the same 2.0-liter inline-four engine as soft-top Miatas, while overseas Mazda will also offer a 1.5-liter engine.
We don’t yet know how much weight this folding apparatus adds, or how pricing will compare between the regular and RF versions of the Miata. It’s expected that the RF will be available in the same Sport, Club, and Grand Touring trims as the standard roadster, with both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Julien Mountousse, director of design for Mazda North America, says that the company made concerted efforts to develop the car’s look. They spent three months alone, he says, debating how to blend the pillars into the trunklid and how to integrate the door shutline.
“Making this fast silhouette collapsible in such a small volume of space is a very hard three-dimensional puzzle,” he said of the folding hardtop mechanism at the car’s reveal. “From a hundred yards away, this distinctive fastback silhouette ignites the heart of the pure driving enthusiast.”
“We’ve made MX-5 Miata better in each generation, but we’ve never lost sight of what matters,” added Mazda North America president and CEO Masahiro Moro.
Pre-orders for the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF begin early summer 2016, with deliveries scheduled before the end of this year. Stay tuned for more specifics, including weight and pricing, over the next few months.
2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF on stage front view