One of this year’s New York Auto Show highlights was the MX-5 RF, a targa version of the world’s best-selling roadster.
While the NC MX-5 had a fully retractable top, the ND offers a much more complicated mechanism that stores the center panel vertically behind the seats.
By adopting this solution and adding two buttresses, Mazda managed to visually differentiate the Roadster from the RF even with the roof opened, and the weight penalty is just 50 kg. Apart from that, and a retuned suspension, the rest are the same as the open-top, and this includes the naturally aspirated engines that are a bit soft of power compared to the opposition.
Speaking to Top Gear, a company spokesperson said the car on display was a nearly-finished production prototype and hinted at a possible MPS variation in the future.
“The line-up is the 1.5-litre engine and 2.0-litre engine for now. There’s no immediate plan for an MPS version, but perhaps later on there will be.”
This contradicts the official line that a turbocharged power unit is out of the question for the MX-5 in order to keep the vehicle’s pure, driver-oriented appeal instead. Plus, maybe, to differentiate it from the 124 Spider that uses a forced induction four-cylinder.
“It’s a bit of a different target group”, the spokesperson continued. “The soft top is the purer driver’s car, but this is a bit more luxurious and, as you can see, it’s a completely different car.”
The MX-5 RF is expected to make it into production in the first quarter of 2017, as its design is in the final stages of development. To top it off, it should have the Roadster 50:50 weight distribution and the same price, as the “insider” concluded. We won’t hold our breath, it depends though on what the customers want.