According to me, retractable hardtops are an unnecessary burden to roadsters due to their heavier weight compared to soft rooftops. The previous Mazda MX-5 Miata offered a similar roof as an option and though the roof top brought about a different appeal to the Miata, I thought it was the last time I would be see the feature, I was wrong.
For the 2017 model year, Mazda is in fact offering a full-fledged vehicle with a retractable roof. The automaker seems to have struck a good formula for the roof that gives the new vehicle dubbed the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF an attractive look, unlike many convertibles which don’t look attractive with their tops up. The RF suffix on the name tag refers to its retractable Fastback roof. Read along to find out more:
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Exterior
The exterior profile of the standard Miata and the MX-5-RF are almost identical except for its new fastback configurations. When the rooftop is up, the new model resembles a coupe. This is different from most hard-top models which look like their soft-top versions when their roofs are up. What’s more captivating about this model is the fact that its flying buttresses have stretched the cabin towards the rear which gives the targa a sporty look and highlights its muscular rear haunches.
Its roof transformation mechanism is awesome. In fact, many people will not believe it’s a convertible if they see it with its roof top up as it looks like a fully-fledged coupe. The roof-op system operates by first allowing the flying buttresses to lift up, the roof panel and the rear window then slide behind the rear seats. The system is operated via the touch of a button and the retraction and deployment process takes only 12 seconds. However, it’s rather disappointing to learn that the roof can only be operated at speeds not exceeding 6.2 mph.
Other exterior features are similar to those of the standard Miata roadster. In fact, the MX-5-RF and the standard Miata roadster feature similar body panels. The targa though adds a new exclusive exterior color dubbed Machine Gray.
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Interior
Inside, the cabin is as stylish as that of the standard Miata roadster. Actually, both are identical except for the adjustments made to accommodate the metal top. The cabin layout is centered on the driver. The cabin can be termed as simple but sporty. It features an upgraded dash with an uncluttered center stack. The seats which feature enhanced supports are mounted much lower on the floor.
The cabin also features a color touch-screen which displays important information on the vehicle. The screen is mounted on top of the center stack. The targa roof does not compromise on its trunk space. The vehicle’s unique flying buttresses remain tucked behind the rear seats which together with the metal top give the cabin a different feel compared to the roadster. Bluetooth connectivity, Smartphone integration and a host of driving aids are also offered as standard.
The vehicle also features an automatic climate control system which keeps things cool in the cabin when it is not conducive to lower the metal rooftop.
Engine Specs and Performance
Under the hood, the 2017 Miata MX-5 RF sports the same drive-trains as the standard Miata. We understand that the US models will be offered with a single engine choice. The unit is a 2.0 L 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine which pumps out 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmission system. The automaker has not released details on its performance. However, due to the addition of the hard roof-top, expect the vehicle to be a little slower than its standard roadster sister. The roadster runs from standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The RF will probably need 2-3 more seconds to complete the same run.
In other markets, buyers will have an option for a 1.5 L SkyActiv-G engine. This 4-cylinder engine produces 129 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the 2.0 L engine, this engine is only combined with a 6-speed manual transmission system. Models with this engine will be slower and will take around 8.5 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph.
Price and release date
Unfortunately, the automaker didn’t announce the MX-RF’s prices during its public debut at the New York Auto Show. However, the vehicle will most certainly cost much more than the standard Miata roadster which starts at $ 24,915. I believe a starting price of around $ 29,000 is likely. Mazda will start taking order for the vehicle in the summer with deliveries following later this year.
When the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF hits the streets, it will face rivalry from other excellent models with targa configurations.
They will include the Lotus Elise Sport and the queen of targa configurations herself, the Porsche 911 Targa which is almost as twice powerful than the Miata and around four times more expensive. The Fiat 124 Spider though it misses a targa roof is a considerable alternative as the roadster features the same underpinnings as the Miata RF.